Built upon the ANDALUCIA VILLAS ruins of a Pagan temple and later a Visigoth Christian church of St. Vincent and using most of the material from that same building, the Mosque of Cordoba was initially converted into a mosque by the Umayyad Moors. A new mosque was built on the site before the church then divided between the Muslims and the Christians. When the exiled prince Abd ar-Rahman took over the city from the then governor, the Christians were allowed to rebuild their churches in the city. Over the years the church was reworked over a two century period into a mosque. The work started in 784 and continued through the work of the Prince’s descendants.

There were many changes to the church over the years. An additional minaret was erected in 961; the building enlarged and the mihra enriched.

The last reforms happened in 987 when it was connected to the Caliph’s palace by a raised walkway and the outer naves were completed at the same time along with the new courtyard. Once described as one of the most accomplished monuments in Islamic architecture, when the Spanish Reconquista reached Cordoba in 1236 Ferdinand III, King of Castile, had the mosque consecrated. The building again became a Roman Catholic church. With no changes over the following 300 years, the locals both Christian and Muslim used the mosque for prayer.

When, in the early part of the 16th century, the bishops and canons of the cathedral proposed that a new cathedral be built on the site. With the destruction of the beautiful mosque, the rows of over 850 columns and double arches would have gone forever along with the stunning alternating red white voussoirs.

All that was remained were the rows of trees in the courtyard that seemed to compliment the rows of columns inside. With the locals almost ready to revolt, the Bishops did an about turn; the unprecedented decision which was endorsed by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V was to build a Gothic chapel inside the great mosque.

The cathedral was later built inside the centre of the huge Moorish building, resulting in an unorthodox mixture of the Muslim architecture sprawling under the tall towers of the Gothic cathedral surrounded by rows of red white column on a marble floor. The legacy of the Byzantine mosaics and the ancient architecture of the Ummayid Caliphate remain for those wishing to visit this magnificent cathedra near to your ANDALUCIA VILLAS.

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