Madrid, Spain ~ March 21, 22, 2009 ~
Hosts - Silvia & Robert Munck

Photos by Lee Carroll

Trip to Cordoba to see the Mequita

What is the "Mezquita"? It's a Cathedral inside a Mosque!

The Mezquita dates back to the 10th century when Cordoba reached its zenith under a new emir, Abd ar-Rahman 111 who was one of the great rulers of Islamic history. At this time Cordoba was the largest, most prosperous cities of Europe, outshining Byzantium and Baghdad in science, culture and the arts. The development of the Great Mosque paralleled these new heights of splendour.

Today the Mezquita as it is known can be visited throughout the year. The approach is via the Patio de los Naranjos, a classic Islamic ablutions courtyard which preserves both its orange trees and fountains. When the mosque was used for Moslem prayer, all nineteen naves were open to this courtyard allowing the rows of interior columns to appear like an extension of the tree with brilliant shafts of sunlight filtering through.

In the centre of the mosque squats a Renaissance cathedral which dates back to the early sixteenth century while, to the left is the Capilla de Villaviciosa built by Moorish craftsmen in 1371. The Mosque was consecrated as a Christian Cathedral in the same year that Cordoba was re-conquered (1236). Alfonso X built the Villaviciosa Chapel with stunning multi lobed arches. The Capilla Real (Royal Chapel) was also built as a pantheon for Christian Kings.

Below... the trip to Cordoba
Memorial to the 2004 Madrid train station bombing