December 29th we went to the Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba in the morning. We got our tickets on site, and there was a student/youth discount. It only ended up costing a few euros. If it had been busier, we would’ve gotten tickets ahead of time. When we arrived at opening, there was less than a dozen other people around. It started to get a little busier as time went on, but it was still a manageable amount and easy to socially distance.
Up until the year 711 AD, this building was a Visigothic church. After, when the Moors arrived, the building was divided and shared among Christians and Muslims. Under Arab rule, the Visigothic portion was destroyed and the Great Mosque was expanded in the year 785 AD. After Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III during the Reconquista, the building was converted into a Catholic cathedral in the year 1236 AD.
It’s a very large building – over 20,000 square meters – but it’s all one level. It’s somewhat difficult to keep track of where you are and what you’ve seen, but we mostly walked up and down in rows. During normal times, you can go up into the Bell Tower, but that was closed due to COVID.
The main eras of expansion and use as described on the website are: Visigoth Basilica of San Vicente, Original Mosque of Abd al-Rahman I, Expansion of Abd al-Rahman II, Intervention of Abd al-Rahman III, Expansion of Al-Hakam II, Mihrab, Expansion of Almanzor, Royal Chapel, Villaviciosa Chapel, Parroquia del Sagrario, Main Chapel, Transept and Choir, Bell Tower, and the Patio de los Naranjos. What I found astonishing was how distinctly different the architecture and artwork was from the different eras. It truly told a story.
I have so many photos but will just post some of the highlights here and a compilation of some short videos. The building is also quite difficult to describe and paint an accurate picture of, but the website has some helpful graphics and interactive displays that show the growth and expansions of it.
After a few hours at the Mezquita, we walked around downtown and met up with one of Gabrielle’s local friends, Rafa. We spent a few hours having drinks and tapas, and then went to a coffee shop.
From here, he walked us to our next stop of the day: Museo Arqueológico de Córdoba. Entry to the museum was free, and there was some intriguing exhibits that spanned back to BC. It’s a multi-level building with eight rooms and three courtyards, as well as the site of the city’s Roman Theatre in the lowest level. Museum entry was free, and we followed the recommended path (second floor, ground floor, basement).