I admit it, we love a bargain or even better something for free so when we heard that you could enter Córdoba’s famous Mezquita-Catedral for free between 8:30 and 9:30 Monday to Saturday, we decided to take up the opportunity. We made sure we woke in plenty of time as it was about a ten minute walk. It was quietly eerie as we made our way to the Mezquita-Catedral in the pre-sunrise light, although as we came closer we saw a few more walkers.
On arrival at the entry door we were pleased to only find 4-5 others in front of us. We were even more pleased to be admitted a couple of minutes before 8:30, when, according to our mobile phone clock it was 8:28. It was a massive mosque. Archways lead in all directions. Due to the early hour the lighting gave it a wonderful intimacy though.
The best part was that you could take photos and have almost no one in them.Many of the chapels were gated offas was the cathedral section, although we could still see over the gates to the dome,
stain glass windows and ceilings.
This chapel had beautiful iron gates. (Clearly someone had started work early.)
There was small museum gallery on one side. It was interesting to see the detail of some of the workmanship, although the ability to read Spanish would have helped.
As we moved around quietly we couldn’t help but be awestruck with the detail and skill of those who had built and decorated the original Mosque of And al-Rahman 1 before it was changed to a place of Christian worship in 1236. In the 1520s Bishop Alonso de Manrique decided to build a Christian Cathedral in the immensity of the forest of columns. The project was begun in 1523 by architect Hernán Ruiz I. However in retrospect it has been acknowledged that architecturally the conversion to a cathedral was probably not a good move. Here’s a few more photos showing the magnificent detail.
Our time in the Mezquita-Catedral flew by and we noticed more and more people moving around so the quiet reverent atmosphere we had enjoyed in the beginning was lost. On our exit we checked out the belltower. Originally there had been a minaret in this location. However in 1589, following an earthquake the minaret was enveloped by the current belltower.
As we left the complex I took one last photo from the exterior.We made our way back to our hotel via the Roman Temple archaeological complex.
The excavation is a work in progress. Back at the hotel we ate and packed up before walking through the Victoria Gardens to the train station. Sevilla awaited us.