Built in
785 - 1523
Remodeled in
Land Area
23.400 m2
Cordoba, Spain
Some parts of this article have been translated using Google’s translation engine. We understand the quality of this translation is not excellent and we are working to replace these with high quality human translations.


Mosque Córdoba is the most important example of Islamic architecture in the West. Combines both the Umayyad style Spain as Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles of the Christian tradition because of its long history and evolution over time.

The complex is located in the historic city center, near the Guadalquivir River and next to the Roman bridge. At around the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos and the Archaeological Museum it is also located.

Mosque Córdoba is part of the Route of the Caliphate, which connects the cities of Granada and Córdoba across the province of Jaen, linking land that witnessed during years of conflict between Christians and Muslims.

Route of the Caliphate

The site of the mosque has been used throughout history as a place of worship. Visigothic narrowing the Basilica of San Vicente. Later Muslims bought part of the land and it built the first mosque. The space was then shared by Christians and Muslims, until Rahman I bought the whole site, destroying the existing building and building the first Mezquita Alhama, or main mosque in the city. As proof of these events are still today some remains of the Visigoth basilica built in the first part of the construction of Abderramán I.

The successor of Abderramán I, his son Hisham I, added his first mosque minaret quadrangular. Hixem I also ordered the construction of galleries for prayer women in the courtyard and the first stack of ablutions. With these additions was set the main mosque in Córdoba.

Over the years, the increase of the faithful and will monumentalizar all, the mosque was expanded significantly to reach its current configuration.

Cathedral Córdoba, of the XVI century, was already designed from origin to respect the expansion of the mosque carried out by Al-Hakam II. Carlos V and Bishop Manrique agreed on the need to preserve the mosque for its great architectural value. Thus, in 1523, it began the construction of the cathedral, conducted by architect Hernán Ruiz in extensions and Mansur Rahman I Mosque. After the death of Hernán Ruiz, succeeded him in the work his son, his grandson, and later, Juan de Ochoa. The construction of the cathedral, therefore, runs nearly 200 years of history and architectural development, hosting both Gothic features such as Renaissance and protobarrocos.

In 1930, following excavations led by architect Felix Hernandez, the remains of the episcopal complex centuries IV to VI in the basement of the mosque-cathedral were found. In this way the Visigoth site and the exact location of the Basilica of San Vicente Martyr was demonstrated.

The mosque in 1920

  • VI century Visigoth basilica of San Vicente.
  • 784-786: Sultan Abderramán I.
  • 790: Hisham I.
  • 833-852: Expansion of Abbderramán II.
  • 951-952: Expansion of Abderramán III.
  • 961-966: Expansion of Al-Hakam II.
  • 987: Extension of Almanzor.
  • 1236: Recapture of Córdoba by Fernando III of Castile.
  • 1238: Consecration of the temple and cathedral.
  • 1523: Start of construction of Renaissance Plateresque Basilica.


The mosque is located at No.1 Street Cardenal Herrero, located in the historic center of the city of Cordoba, Spain. The set is limited by the street Torrijos, Cardenal Herrero Street, Street Meson del Sol and Calle Corregidor Luis de la Cerda. Bus lines with stops near the monument are the 4, 5, 6 and 7.



The mosque in Córdoba is the best example of Muslim architecture, next to Alhambra of Granada, in the Western world. In this complex you can see the extensive life and history of architecture. Moreover, it is a magnificent example of architecture combining two religions, Muslim and Christian. Despite the reconquista, Christian leaders were able to appreciate the artistic and architectural value of the temple, making him a place for his faith by inserting a cathedral in the center and respecting the rest of the set. In this way we can see today the combination and contrast of these two architectural styles and the different characteristics of the places of worship of all religions.

One of the main features of the mosques is the placement of the mihrab, the sanctuary qibla pointing in the direction of Mecca. In the case of the Mosque of Córdoba, it faces south. This could be due to the terrain along the river Guadalquivir, to the influence of the Great Mosque of Damascus, Syria; or the location of the Roman Cardo of Córdoba.



The mosque in Córdoba, to 23,400 m2, was the second largest in the world after that of Mecca, until in 1588 the Blue Mosque in Istanbul exceeded. The mosque is divided into two distinct parts. The first part, patio or portico sahn houses the minaret beneath the Renaissance tower, which is the only intervention that Abd al-Rahman III was in the mosque. This part also is the prayer room or haram. The second part of the mosque is the interior of it. It is characterized by the set of columns and arches that define bicolor. These make a very distinctive color and formal whole. The inner area is divided into five parts, each corresponding to the successive enlargements that the mosque has had throughout its history.

The Orange Courtyard

The courtyard has changed and expanded with the various reforms and extensions of the mosque. Today has measures 130 meters long and 50 meters wide. The most important development to the north, there was at the time of Abd al-Rahman III, taking down the minaret of Hisham I, and lateral extension of Mansur. This area worked in Islamic times as a place for public events such as teaching and administration of justice. In the early days of the Oratory arches they were open, creating a patio. Later came the construction of galleries Abderramán I and the minaret and ablutions hall of Hisham I. The cloisters are today due to a remodeling of the sixteenth century carried out by Bishop Martin Fernandez de Angulo, led by architect Hernán Ruiz I. Under the patio of orange trees a large cistern that provides and ensures the necessary water for the purification of Muslims before entering the mosque is located. There is the evidence of the existence of orange trees in the courtyard from the fifteenth century, but already in the XIII I still had palm trees on it. In the eighteenth century olive and cypress trees they were added. The courtyard also has two sources, Santa María (XVII century) and Cinnamon (1752).

The Minaret

North Elevation

The minaret was built in times of Abderramán III and today is kept in the interior of the bell tower. Damaged after a storm, it was arranged by the Cathedral Chapter in 1593. Hernán Ruiz II carried out the project, demolishing part of the old minaret and built the bell tower. In the seventeenth century work they continued under the command of Juan Baquero Matilla, who built the body clock. Faced with the danger of collapse are all better cemented by the end of the century. In 1664 Gaspar de la Peña made campanile. Finally, the figure of San Rafael there on the tower is the work of sculptors Bernabe Gomez del Rio and Pedro de la Paz.

Rahman Mosque I (785)

The original mosque of Abderrahman I was eleven longitudinal aisles defined north-south direction. In its construction shafts and Roman and Visigoth capitals for the formation of the columns they were reused. These pieces were placed at different heights as reference was made constructive rather roofline of the terrain. The orientation of the mosque is particularly oriented to the south rather than towards Mecca, as occurs in the mosque of Damascus. The cause of this is probably the configuration of the sandy banks of the River Guadalquivir. Due to this unorthodox counseling, prayer niche becomes a highlight of the interior of the mosque. Another feature of the building is the use of horseshoe arches, typical of Visigoth art, and that Islam would be introduced in his art gradually until it unique and characteristic of its architecture. The arches that link the buildings are composed of two parts: horseshoe arches at the bottom and arches at the top. Another feature of the mosque and would create trend in Islamic art is the combination of stone and brick arches, detail that gives a unique chromatic architecture. The dual structure of overlapping arches brings up the interior space and allows better illumination of it. The origin of this type of action seems to be in the Roman aqueduct of Los Milagros, Merida.

First Enlargement (821-852)

The prayer hall was expanded into eight sections commanded by Rahman II (822). They added 24 meters to the length of the mosque. This extension has a clear influence Abbasid decoration, due to the political bands which were established at that time with the Eastern Caliphate and the arrival of characters coming from the east to the territories of the peninsula. The architectural features of this extension have the same characteristics as those of the first phase of the mosque: combination of stone and brick and alternating segments and arcs. The origin of the Puerta de San Esteban is unknown, although it could be between aesthetically Visigoth art and the Caliphate of Córdoba. What it is known is that it took its final shape under the leadership of Mohamed I. Al-Mundhir up the treasury, from which its final location is unknown. Abd-Allah built a secret passage, or sabbath, which connects the mihrab in Alcázar de Córdoba. The foundations of the mihrab of this phase is found in the basement of Villaviciosa. This finding brought to light the monumental character of the mihrab, which was set up under a large arch supported by four columns and protruding from the outside of the wall of the qibla. At this time also they closed with saqqifas the sides of the patio.

Second Expansion (S. X)


In 929 Córdoba capital became more important in the Islamic world from the West to come to power the caliph Abd al-Rahman III. At this time a new minaret was built and the courtyard of the mosque was expanded. With these works the first minaret of the West, which would serve as a model for Almohad Moorish minarets and steeples was created. Currently the minaret is inside the Christian bell tower, and although no longer can see their appearance, the drawings and by the testimony left by the relief of the spandrels of the Puerta de Santa Catalina is known. Because the thrust of the ships, the arches that communicate the courtyard of ablutions with covered oratory deformed, so Abderramán III sent to reinforce them. He also ordered the construction of a large horseshoe arch over existing at the front door of the mosque coming from the patio, and including a barrel vault.

Later in the century, under the Caliphate of Al-Hakam II, culture and the aesthetic and literary arts was encouraged. Besides cultural and political contacts with Byzantium, the great capital of the eastern caliphate multiplied. This splendor also led to the richest phase in the evolution of the mosque.

Under the command of two sections Alhakem II to the mosque, bringing it closer to the river Guadalquivir added. This expansion marked the final depth of the mosque, leaving as we see today. This time specially commissioned materials were used for the work, instead of reusing materials from other buildings. The shafts of pink and blue marble are alternated. The capitals are of pads, a name given to the outlining of the capitals of classical orders and that would lead to the capitals of nest of Medinat Al-Zahra present at Medina Azahara. In the end wall construction, or qibla, niche, or mihrab it is located, to which the faithful direct their prayers. Because of the pressures facing this wall was built from the beginning doubly to ensure its robustness. In front of the mihrab is the monumental whole maqsura. To overcome the lack of lighting in this area, a number of vaults with skylights that let in light for illuminating the most important point of the mosque were placed. One of these skylights is located on the Chapel of Villaviciosa. The other three are in front of the qibla wall, front and sides of the mihrab.

The vaults are formed by thick ribs that leave space between them. This solution would subsequently called Caliphate vault ribs, and would be used later in the Mudejar style. Maqsura decoration consists of carved marble baseboards where there ornamentation of Syrian origin. There is also beveled tiles. All this gives the whole similar to the Byzantine, where the variety of colors is characteristic style. The mihrab is octagonal and is closed by a dome-shaped shell.

Third Extension (987)

At the end of the century X Almanzor conducted the last major extension of the building of the mosque of Córdoba. The poverty of the materials of this extension denotes the next fall of the caliphate. Due to the location and nearby mosque river, Almanzor decided to expand eastward, adding eight more ships in that direction. To carry out these works Almanzor had to expropriate the houses they occupied this area. The reform of the mosque also caused the mihrab quedase offset. Qibla no longer built double. Finally, the color range of the arches, it is no longer in this area due to the combination of stone and brick. The arches are made entirely of limestone, painted red where appropriate to continue with the appearance of the previous phases of the temple.



The cathedral has a Latin cross, and protobarrocas Gothic vaults and a Renaissance dome. The altarpiece, finished in the seventeenth century, is marble. Pulpits, on both sides of the main arch, are the eighteenth century and are made of marble and mahogany, by the sculptor Miguel Verdiguer. The choir stalls, also of the eighteenth century, is the work of the Sevillian master Pedro Duque Cornejo. Carved and sculpted in mahogany, representing various subjects. Another important artistic value is the Treasury. After the Capilla del Cardenal Salazar is the cathedral collection, formed by pieces of ivory and silver made between the fifteenth and twentieth centuries. Among them is the part of the custody of Corpus Christi, designed by Enrique de Arfe held in the sixteenth century.

West front

  • Postigo de la Leche
  • Puerta de los Deanes
  • Puerta de San Esteban
  • Puerta de San Miguel
  • Gate of the Holy Spirit
  • Postigo del Palacio
  • Puerta de San Ildefonso
  • Sabat door

East facade

  • Round door Grada
  • Fuente de Santa Catalina
  • Puerta de Santa Catalina
  • Puerta de San Juan
  • Gate of the Baptistery
  • Puerta de San Nicolas
  • Gate of Ancient Conception
  • Puerta de San José
  • Puerta del Sagrario
  • Gate Jerusalem

North side

  • Water Arca
  • Door of Forgiveness
  • Puerta del Caño Gordo
  • Fuente del Caño Gordo
  • Virgin of Lanterns

South facade

  • Balcones
  • Balcon de San Clemente


  • Chapel of Villaviciosa
  • Capilla Real

Chapels on the west wall (north to south)

  • Chapel of San Ambrosio
  • Capilla de San Agustin and Santa Eulalia de Mérida
  • Chapel of Our Lady of the Snows and San Vicente Martyr, also known as Chapel of the Transfiguration
  • Chapel of Saints Simon and Jude
  • Chapel of Our Lady of Conception and the Blessed Sacrament
  • Chapel of San Antonio Abad
  • Trinity Chapel
  • Chapel of San Acacio
  • Chapel of San Pedro and San Lorenzo

Chapels on the south wall (west to east)

  • Chapel of St. Bartholomew
  • Capilla de San Felipe y Santiago
  • Capilla de Santa Teresa, also known as a chapel or chapel of Cardinal Salazar Treasury.
  • Capilla de Santa Inés
  • Chapel of San Clemente, which houses the Museum of San Clemente
  • Capilla del Sagrario

Chapels on the east wall (north to south)

  • Capilla de San Antonio de Padua
  • Capilla de San Marcos, Santa Ana and San Juan Bautista
  • Chapel of San Mateo and Immaculate Conception of Our Lady
  • Chapel of San Juan Bautista
  • Chapel of Santa Marina, San Matias and the Baptistery
  • Chapel of St. Nicholas of Bari
  • Expectation Chapel, also called Chapel of Our Lady of O
  • Chapel of the Holy Spirit, also called Simancas chapel or chapel of Bishops.
  • Antigua Conception Chapel, also called Capilla del Rosario.
  • Capilla de San José
  • Chapel of the Nativity of Our Lady
  • Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene
  • Sacristy

Chapels on the east wall (west to east)

  • Chapel of San Eulogio, also called Chapel of San Miguel
  • Capilla de San Esteban
  • Chapel of Our Lady of Suffering, also called Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene
  • Chapel of Our Lady of Antigua
  • Capilla de San Andrés
  • Chapel of the Epiphany, also called Chapel of the Magi
  • Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary
  • Chapel of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, also called chapel of Inca Garcilaso
  • Chapel of the Holy Men, also called Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre
  • Chapel of St. Frances of Rome and St. Ursula

Structure and Materials

The structure of the mosque is made with columns and arches of different styles on the cover supports. Inside the mosque are both Moorish arches and semicircular and lobed. The most characteristic feature of his image is the combination of two materials, stone and brick. 1,300 columns also acquire different shades due to the variety of types of stone were used in the different phases of construction of the mosque: marble, jasper and granite. The roof, wood is carefully preserved and renovated because that has been repeatedly threatened by termites. Also noteworthy are the ornamental plaster work, especially in the mihrab. It consists of a base of marble, stucco and richly colored on a background of gold, bronze, silver and copper Byzantine mosaics. In the cathedral worth admiring the work and details of the ceilings and carved choir stalls made of mahogany.




Did you find this article useful?

Really sorry to hear that...

Help us improve. How can we make this article better?