I explained two days ago the magic of walking into a centuries old mosque that through time got expanded more than once and finally ended up as a cathedral. The mystery lies in the knowing you walk in what originally is a Mosque, but at the heart of that huge building lies a cathedral including a monstrous organ.
I will never be truly capable of explaining the experience of walking in the lovely 'Mezquita' in Cordoba, and I must say I even can't show it all through pictures. But I decided to share some architectural and decorative details of the 'Mosque' and 'Cathedral', just to show you some of the differences between the two.
With every picture, realize: this is a Mosque-Cathedral. It's still used daily for holding Mass. Where in the world can you find a special place like this?
The post shows:
- Architectural details of the Mosque
- Architectural details of the Cathedral
- A side-by-side where I could find them in the building
The architecture and graphical details of the Mosque were my favourite. I'm just a sucker for 'clean' design and geometry. I love the minimalism and 'modesty' in the Mosque parts of the Mezquita. There is clearly a lot of attention put into the architecture without overdoing it.
[You might think I'm a bad photographer that can't center her pictures, but literally no wall in the Mezquite is perfectly aligned with the others :-)]
[Gorgeous ceilings with elaborate geometric figures]
[Well decorated gate to a little chamber]
[The red and white and gold combinations repeats itself many times in the Mosque part of the Mezquita]
I've seen many more Cathedrals in my life than I have Mosques, so that might skew my impressions a bit. But the Cathedral is impressive in it's own right: very overwhelming in size, portrayal of gold and the huge organ. The decorations are not compliant with my own taste, but they must be admired as well: the work that has been put into this!
[For those who have seen Cathedrals before: this round roof top is certainly a recurring shape in most of them]
[Gold paint, curly decorations, pristine white in the background]
WHERE IS THE TRANSITION FROM MOSQUE TO CATHEDRAL MOST VISIBLE?
It was hard to pinpoint the exact transitions from Mosque to Cathedral. Most of the time the scale of the architecture is so that I need to use special equipment to capture it the right way. And since I was here in my 'tourist' photographer form, I wasn't that prepared. But right when you find the center of the Cathedral and look up you'll see the ceiling on the right is phenomenally different from that on the left, showing a 'transition' that's both well matched in colours, but also undeniably different.
[Left: Mosque. Right: Cathedral. Same for the pictures below.]
A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRANSFORMATION
The tourists in the 'Mezquita' were both Muslim and non-Muslim. It's less obvious to 'spot the Catholics' but I'm sure they were there. Both Catholics and Muslims share this building through it's history and shared stories. However: it's currently appointed as a 'Cathedral', and daily Masses are held. While wandering through this history filled building and spotting the many Muslim tourists I couldn't help but wish for this place to have daily religious events for Muslims as well. Where in the world would we have a place where both religions share a building? Even more: a building that was built people from both religions?
I'm sure some more adaptations should be made to be able to tend to the needs of both. But still: that would be a lovely symbolic transformation for this amazing building in the South of Spain.