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Patio de Los Naranjos – a courtyard with a fountain and filled with orange trees where you can sit before entering the Mezquita.

I had always wanted to go to see the Mezquita in Còrdoba ever since I saw the documentary on When the Moors Ruled in Europe.  During the days of the rule of Abd ar-Rahman, this place became one of the most prosperous cities in all of Europe.  The Arabs had brought with them the knowledge of irrigation, trade, mathematics, poetry, arts and culture.  Their knowledge of architecture and design had a great influence even on the way Christian Kings built their palaces as is evident in the construction of the palace of Pedro I of Spain in the Alcazar in Seville which highly resembles the palaces of the Alhambra.  More about the Andalusian history can we found in this documentary:

12 March 2011

Since we had a few days to spend in Sevilla and seeing that getting lost in this old city was a nearly impossible thing to do because as we soon found out, we always eventually ended up at the main square, we decided to take a day trip over to Còrdoba to see the Mezquita.  We took the 9am bus and in just under 2 hours we had arrived in Còrdoba.  If we had thought the old town of Sevilla was small, Còrdoba was even smaller.  After walking across the bridge over the Guadalquivir river and around the old town, we decided it was time for lunch before we went in to explore the Mezquita.

Some facts on the city and the mosque:

During the 10th century it was one of the largest and most prosperous cities in Europe in terms of culture, science and arts, outshining Baghdad and Byzantium.  The courtyard serves as part of the entrance to the mosque and was used as an ablution area.  There are more than 850 pillars and the arches are made with alternating brick and stone, giving it the distinctive red and white striped pattern, inspired by that found in the Dome of the Rock.

The arches inside the mosque.

The mihrab:

The domed ceiling of the mihrab not only served as a practical purpose of amplifying the sound for the imam but also aesthetically.  It is constructed from a single piece of marble and is adorned with inscriptions of gold with verses from the Qu’ran.

The dome above the Mihrab.

Quranic inscriptions.

The Cathedral part of the mosque.  The center of the mosque built by Abd ar-Rahman was gouged out and turned into a cathedral after the reconquest of Còrdoba by King Ferdinand III in 1236.

Horse-shoe shaped entrance into the Patio de Los Naranjos which leads onwards into the mosque.

One of the doorways.

The streets of Còrdoba’s old town.

And of course, the experience made better with my good friends!