Visigoths, Romans and Moors – Oh My! That was what I wanted to call this post, but for those unfamiliar with The Wizard of Oz, it might have fallen flat – and that would be terrible, for I am on a mission to convince everyone to visit Córdoba and its amazing Mezquita Catédral – just not all at once.
Córdoba is the only city in the world with four UNESCO World Heritage Sites and it is an easy day-trip from Seville by car or regularly scheduled trains.
Located alongside the Guadalquivir, Córdoba was most likely founded by the Carthaginians before being occupied by the Romans in 152 BCE. Although it is no longer the case, during Roman times, the Guadalquivir river was navigable from the sea to Córdoba.
Sometime in the 6th Century CE, the Visigoths invaded and built the Basilica of San Vicente. It is quite remarkable to gaze below the present Mosque’s floor and see the first-known religious structure on this site. Roughly two centuries later, Abd al-Rahman I purchased the basilica and razed it to begin construction of a mosque on the site. The Great Mosque continued to expand over the next 200 years, extensions were added to accommodate the growing population.
The mosque reached its current size in 987 with the addition of the courtyard and naves. To appreciate the architectural evolution, click here.
In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by Ferdinand III and became part of Christian Spain. In 1523, the Bishop received permission to construct a Cathedral of Cordoba inside the Mosque – the preserving its remarkable heritage. The cathedral continues to function as the seat of the Catholic Church and services are held daily.
This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. We had a fantastic guide who I cannot recommend highly enough: Maria Font. There is more to Córdoba than the Mosque-Cathedral, so plan to spend the day.