The Cathedral of Cordoba

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The main object of our tour was the great mosque/cathedral which is called the Mezquita (Spanish for Mosque). This is its depiction in the Seville and Andalusia guidebook.

Cordoba returned to Christian rule in 1236 during the Reconquista, and the building was converted to a Roman Catholic church, culminating in the insertion of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the 16th century.

The building of the cathedral was started in 1523 and involved the replacement of part of the central area of the original mosque.

We are seated in the worshippers' seats as our guide tells us about the Cathedral. She had been there for Mass and for organ concerts. She waxed eloquent about the wonderful sound of the organ in this enclosure. We heard that the Cathedral had accommodated over twenty thousand persons at one time for mass. On the left, note some of the arches of the Mosque construction.

The photo above is the dome above the main worship center. It's intricacy and complexity were hard to believe! And it was part of a double dome structure. The second dome is shown below. Actually, I found the second dome to be more beautiful, perhaps because of its more subdued elegance. It's hard to fathom these being created in the mid 1500s - you are looking at a lifetime's work for many craftsmen, suspended at great height!

A closer view of the worship center at the front of the Cathedral. I believe our guide said that they had Mass there every day, so they presumably do that early to coordinate with the hundreds of daily visitors to the Mezquita.

It was interesting that they would hang such a heavy chandelier all the way from the dome on a heavy chain. The ornate pulpit is apparently made of bronze - I'm guessing that since I can't see how they would have carved it. But their ornate wood carvings, probably of mahogany, were about the same color and appearance. So it was hard to tell. There was another similar suspended pulpit on the other side of the worship center.

The role of the little dome structure back in the center of the front of the Cathedral is a complete mystery to me. It seems to be centered around what appears to be a large gold trophy sitting in the center of the structure.

The stained glass picture of Christ was high up by the dome. All around it is remarkably intricate work in the structure of the building.

It certainly must be dramatic to hear this large pipe organ in this large reflective enclosure. Seeing the size of the organ helps you appreciate the enormity of this structure when you see it within the setting of these high domes.

There were very few plane or plain surfaces in the Cathedral. Even the posts were sculpted.

The sculpture above left extended across most of the back of one seating area. Again I assume that this one is bronze. It was interesting to think that the sculpture of the knight in the post may have actually been sculpted in the time of the knights!

The confessional was certainly the plainest structure we saw. Everything else was sculpted.

This part of the Cathedral tour had the feel of a museum tour. The common denominator in all the rooms was gold. Other than the human form sculptures, almost everything was gold.

With our orange radios connected to a very fine guide and narrator, we had learned a lot about this remarkable Cathedral.

The Jewish Quarter of Cordoba

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