The Cathedral of Córdoba stands in the very centre of the city surrounded by narrow winding streets of this beautiful city. This is a truly unique and fascinating cathedral with a rich history of ownership by Christian and Muslim faiths which transpires into a complex and highly unusual design.
The entire complex is surrounded by an imposing stone wall and consists of a front square lined with trees and a fountain and the large cathedral towards the back. The first thing you will notice is that it looks neither much like a cathedral or a mosque and it is difficult to see the building's structure from the outside.
Interestingly enough, it gets no easier once you're inside. The large hypostyle hall that makes up a large part of the structure is supported by some 856 columns made of granite, jasper, marble and onyx. History oozes out of every crack and the contrast between different parts is staggering.
The centre of the Cathedral is occupied by a large traditional nave with delicate wood carvings complemented by gold and marble. It is easy to get lost on your way around as the structure is so unlike any typical cathedral you will have ever visited, but you will definitely always remember this magnificent place.
The cathedral opens its doors for night visits throughout the year. During these visits, you will be given a guided tour with numerous visual aids alongside a detailed description of the Mezquita's design and history.
Make sure you turn up on time if you want to attend and we would highly recommend purchasing your tickets online in advance as places are limited to a maximum of 100 visitors per day. To do so, visitthe Córdoba Cathedral's official website
The first religious building to be constructed on the site now occupied by the Mezquita was a Christian Visigothic church consecrated in the name of St. Vincent around 600AD. As Muslims invaded during the 8th century, the church became a dual-purpose structure serving the needs of both faiths simultaneously.
The church was soon purchased in its entirety by Abd ar-Rahman I who had fled Damascus to set up the Emirate of Cordoba and work was started to convert it into a large Mosque. It would take over 200 years to complete the initial phase from the purchase in 784. The structure was seen as highly contraversial in Muslim circles as its complex structural history meant a number of stringent construction traditions were not adhered to starting with the most important - the Mosque faced south instead of east towards Mecca.
Subsquent rulers of Spain's Moorish south continued enlarging the complex over a number of centuries. Abd ar-Rahman III constructed a large minaret and as the Mosque expanded, it became a virtual annex to the adjacent Caliph's Palace.
In 1236 Córdoba was recaptured by the Spanish and a grand plan was drawn up to reconstruct the existing Mosque into a Christian cathedral. Due to the outstanding beauty of the building and the acceptance of local tradition, a large part of the original Mosque was allowed to remain making the Mezquita a truly unique building unlike any other in the world.
Two chapels were added to the structure and a number of minor design changes were made to make it feel more Christian. In addition, a large nave was build by Charles V right in the middle of the building in a distinct Renaissance style which contrasts very sharply with the surrounding Moorish columns. The Minaret was transformed into the Cathedral's Bell Tower and the transformation was largely complete early in the 16th century.
March 1st to October 31st
January 1st to February 28th
November 1st to December 31st
Entry to Mezquita