Mosques of Spain

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Translater: Rümeysa Şevval Ayvaz

In the series of Houses of Worship, this time, we will introduce you to some of the wonderful mosques of Spain.

1The Great Mosque of Córdoba

Cordoba Cami

The Great Mosque of Córdoba is the most well-known work of Andalusian religious architecture, and it was built in 786 by The Islamic State founder of Andalusia, Abdurrahman I. Although it took 10 years to build, the additional constructions and changes continued until 990. It was constructed very meticulously. Precious trees from Lebanon and high-quality marbles from the East were brought. The number of parallel naves of the mosque reached 19 and the number of columns reached 1293 with the additions made in the following periods. The measurements of the mosque became 178×125 meters from the outside.

Considering the size of the mosque, it is among the biggest mosques after the Great Mosque of Samarra and the Abu Dulaf Mosque. The columns of the temple, which has the most columns in the world, are supported by arches of bricks and white stones. One of the most astonishing parts of the mosque is the mihrab and minbar, placed under adorned domes. An exceptional artwork of Islam, the Great Mosque of Córdoba reveals the grandeur of the period it was built with its unique architecture and contrast.

The mosque was first converted into a Catholic church then a cathedral under the rule of the Kingdom of Castile in 1236. It was destroyed and a domed church in the form of a basilica in the middle was built in the 16th century. The original structure of the mosque was damaged, and a bell tower was built after a large part of its minarets was demolished. Known as the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba today, the building has been open only to Catholic worship for years. It stands out as a tourist attraction with its combination of various architectural styles, reflecting the Islamic art of the period it was built and with its magnificent view. One of the most visited monuments in Spain, the Great Mosque of Córdoba was had been accepted as a national monument and protected, and in 1984 it was listed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2The Great Mosque of Ishbiliya

Vista de la Catedral de Sevilla desde el Guadalquiv

The Great Mosque of Ishbiliya, also known as “Muvahiddin Mosque”, was built in 1171 by the order of Abu Ya’qub Yusuf on the site of today’s Seville Cathedral as a result of the inadequate functioning of the Ishbiliye Mosque. The mosque had a rectangular plan and had a porticoed courtyard on the north side. The largest courtyard door among the three entrance doors of the mosque, Puerta del Perdón is still preserved today. The earthquake in 1356 damaged almost the entire mosque. Its minaret, and courtyard called “Patio de los Naranjos” in Spanish, survived.

When the Ishbiliye city was invaded by King Fernando III of Castille in 1248, the Grand Mosque of Ishbiliye was converted into a cathedral. The building was used as a cathedral for nearly two centuries, and in 1434, the main building of the mosque of was completely demolished and replaced by Seville Cathedral. The minaret which belonged to the Ishiliye Mosque was transformed into a bell tower and added to the cathedral that was built in 1507. In 1568, with the addition of a rotating statue on top of the minaret, the structure has been referred to as the “Giralda/Wind Rose“.

3Bab al-Mardum Mosque/Cristo de la Luz Mosque

Mosque of Bab Mardum
Mosque of Bab Mardum

The Cristo de la Luz Mosque, located in Toledo, was built in 999 during the prime period of the Andalusian Umayyad State. Before it was converted into a church in 1085, the mosque was referred to as “the Bab al-Mardum Mosque” because of its relation to the city gate. One of the ten mosques built in Toledo during the Moorish Period, the structure stands out for its almost unchanged present day.

The inscriptions on the southwestern facade provide detailed information about the construction of the mosque “In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Ahmad ibn Hadidi had this mosque erected using his own money requesting a reward in paradise for it from Allah. It was completed with the aid of Allah under the direction of Musa ibn Ali and concluded in Muharram in 390 A.H.”

Bab al-Mardum Mosque was built of bricks and small stones in accordance with the local tradition of the period. The square-plan mosque, each side of which is 9 meters, is divided into 9 sections with four inner columns and 12 perimeter buttresses. Each of these sections has a unique dome with its own unique design. Even though the mosque has a smaller size compared to the Cordóba Mosque, it is an important work of art as it is one of the oldest examples of Islamic culture in Spain.

4Almonaster la Real Mosque

Almonaste

Almonaster Mosque is located inside a hilltop castle overlooking the village of Almonaster la Real in Huelva. It was built during the Andalusian Umayyad period, under the rule of Abd al-Rahman III in the 10th century, in place of an ancient Visigothic basilica which was built in the 5th century. It consists of three parts: house of prayer, the courtyard, and the minaret. The prayer area consists of five small naphthas and is covered with a middle self-hemisphere dome and brick arches. Although the altar is still standing, it has lost its paint over the years, and today only bricks and stones remain. Most of the minaret has been rebuilt with the additions made.

Almonaster Mosque was converted into a church after the domination of Christian. Despite the additional Christian elements and changes made over years, the structure retained its Moorish character until today and was declared a National Monument in 1931.

5Madrid Central Mosque

Mezquita

Also called Abu-Bakr Mosque, Madrid Central Mosque is located in the Tetuán district of Madrid. It was completed and opened for worship in 1988, after years of individual fund-raising campaigns. It has a significant position as it became the first mosque in the capital since the end of the Muslim rule in 1085. Designed by the architect Juan Mora, the mosque also functions as the center of The Union of Islamic Communities of Spain and Islamic Cultural Center of Madrid. The Quadruplex mosque building consists of various institutions such as classrooms, a library, and a nursery. Hence it can be said that Madrid Central Mosque not only functions as a house of prayer but also as a center where Muslims of the region carry out charity, educational, cultural and social activities, and maintain their unity and solidarity today.

This article was originally written in Turkish. Click to read it! İspanya’daki Camiler

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