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The Mezquita Mosque - Research Paper Example

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It is the third largest mosque in the world and also one of the oddest, because it contains a Christian cathedral that was built inside it after the Moors got expelled in 1236. The graceful Moorish architecture combined with the triumphant Baroque cathedral memorializes in stone the conflict between Christianity and Islam that wracked Spain for 700 years. The Mezquita mosque was built in 785 and enlarged four times during the following 200 years; the cathedral was added in the 16th century. (Brockman, 2011, pg. 330) The Mezquita Mosque was founded by Abd ar-Rahman I in 785. Rahman I was the sole survivor of a tribe known as the Umayyards who fled Syria. Before Rahman I, the first Muslims who arrived to Cordoba shared la Mezquita with Christians. Rahman I bought the Christians out and started what would become a seven century dynasty of Muslim rule over Spain. After Rahman I died, he was followed by Abd ar-Rahmann II (822-52), who vastly extended the Mosque in the ninth century and under Abd ar-Rahman III (912-61), Cordoba rose to become the largest and most prosperous city in Europe. Improvements on the Mosque continued under his son Al-Hakim II (961-76) who doubled its size and hired Greek contractors to build the new Mihrab (huge doorway used as the entrance to the Mezquita), which stands to this day. The final improvement in size, on the mosque, came under Al-Mansour (977-1002). (Ward, pg. 151) The Mezquita Mosque is a patchwork combination of all civilizations that occupied Cordoba. None, however, could bring themselves to destroy the Mosque, so each culture added their own personal touches. (Ward, pg. 151) Cordoba was probably a sophisticated center of the arts from the time of ‘Abd al-Rahman I. Chronicles suggest his keen interest in Syrian culture, which is apparently confirmed by aspects of the Mezquita. (Bloom, J.M., and Blair, S., 2009, pg. 506) The mosque began as the Christian Visigothic church of St. Vincent around 600, which was in turn built on the ruins of a Roman temple. In 784, the local emir bought it and began replacing it with the mosque. It got enlarged and embellished over the next two hundred years. (Brockman, 2011, pg. 331) The architectural uniqueness of the Mezquita lies in the fact that it was a revolutionary building for its time, structurally speaking. It defied precedents. Both Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock and the Great Mosque in Damascus had vertical, navelike designs, but the aim of the Mezquita mosque was to create an infinitely spacious, democratically horizontal and classic space, where the spirit could roam freely and communicate easily with God. The original space of Islamic prayer (normally the open yard of a desert home) was transformed into a 14,400 square meter metaphor for the desert itself. Men prayed side by side on the argamasa, a floor made of compact, reddish slaked lime and sand. A flat roof, decorated with gold and multicolored motifs, shaded them from the sun. The orange patio, where the ablution fountains gurgled with water, was the oasis. The terracotta and white striped arches indicated a hallucinogenic forest of date palms, and upheld the roof with over one thousand columns, 1293 to be precise, (856 of which remain). (Ham, 2010, pg 204) Construction of the Mezquita It is almost certain that the building that ...Show more


The Mezquita Mosque By Name: Class: Professor: University: City: State: Due Date: Abstract This is a research on the Mezquita Mosque in Cordoba, which is the third largest mosque ever built and one of the most beautiful. The mosque is unique as it has a Christian cathedral within its walls and its unique and monumental pillars are a source of amazement, especially, considering that it got built in the 7th century…
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The Mezquita Mosque
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