Aljama Mosque, Cordoba, Spain

Yesterday, I took the fast train from Madrid to Cordoba in Spain’s Andalusian south. About 1400 years ago, Muslims arrived here from the Middle East. They made beautiful Cordoba the capital of their western empire and built the Aljama Mosque as a tribute to their religious beliefs and their political power. By 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella (think Christopher Columbus) began the violent expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Muslims, as well as members of the well-established Jewish community, which had been in Spain before the birth of Jesus.

The Catholics turned the Mezquita, as it’s called here, into a church, with a nave, a pipe organ, and hundreds of “graven images” that would be prohibited by Islam. The magnificent structure is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and recognized as one of Spain’s most important historical sites. The photo shows the morning light casting a rainbow of colors from one of the church’s stained glass windows on to columns of the original mosque.

6 comments

  1. Spectacular picture of what is one of the most remarkable spiritual edifices in the world. I would treasure the opportunity to have the remarkable experience of being able to sit and meditate amid such surroundings. I have long heard of the beauties of Cordoba and hope to visit it one day. Recently I learned a bit more about the Muslim expansion into Europe in the 8th century (ME) and their eventual expulsion in the 15th in Spain and elsewhere. Both their expansion and expulsion were accomplished through the use of military force and religious compulsion which at times was particularly brutal. This is often the case in conflicts involving competing religions and continues right up to present times.

    1. Indeed. I went on a walking tour with a historian who said, somewhat tongue in cheek, that the book burnings of Jewish texts in Cordoba during the 16th century were a collaboration between the Catholics and the “voluntarily” converted Jews.

  2. So glad you got to Córdoba, Kim. I visited that gorgeous place about five years ago with my friend Pilar and her friend, I think Felipe is his name, a cordobés architect now dedicated to architectural history, spent four or five hours with him, and only scratched the surface. You picked a key place to visit. Congratulations!!

  3. I loved the Mezquita when I went there. I haven’t been there in over 20 years now. I need to prioritize a trip back there soon. Saludos.

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