Cordoba’s magnificent Mosque-Cathedral showcases Spain’s Muslim heritage

Retention and change

Civil war weakened Umayyad control of Al Andalus in the early 11th century, which later allowed Ferdinand III and his forces to take the city in 1236. The Castilians may have radically changed the spiritual function of the Grand Mosque, but they certainly weren’t going to Destroy it. They recognized the magnificence of the architecture and many Christian writers praised it. Don Juan Manuel, grandson of Ferdinand III, mentions the Great Mosque in his collection of stories The Tales of Count Lucanor (1335), with a character describing it as “one of the most beautiful mosques the Moors had in Spain, glory to God! it is now a church, called ‘Saint Mary of Cordoba’. It was dedicated by the “good King Ferdinand” to Saint Mary after he took Cordoba from the Moors. In the middle of the 15th century, the Cordovan writer Jerónimo Sánchez also expressed his great admiration: “a temple worthy of all praise, whose extremely pleasant beauty revives the spirit of those who contemplate it”, even a “wonder of the world”. .

During the first two centuries of Christian rule, existing spaces were adapted for Christian worship, but structural alterations were few. Much of it was made in the Mudejar style, which combined Christian artistic currents with Muslim architectural and decorative traditions. The so-called royal chapel was one of the oldest. Built in the 1370s, it combines a tiled base, plasterwork, a beautiful ribbed vault and stalactites. muqarnas (ornamented vault). After the building was consecrated as a Christian church, the minaret was transformed into a bell tower.

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