The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Cordoba or La Mezquita, formally known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, is a Catholic cathedral found in the Andalusian city of Cordoba.
Step inside the Cathedral and you’ll soon realize it pays great homage to the Muslim rule that occurred in southern Spain during the 8th century.
Not only is this a fantastic example of Moorish architecture, but also a fantastic display of acceptance as the mosque-cathedral played a large part in encouraging Muslims, Christians, and Jews to co-exist throughout history side-by-side.
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Tickets can be booked online in advance here, or on arrival at the ticket kiosk which is found in the outdoor patio area of the Great Mosque of Cordoba. Entrance to the patio is free as it’s here that you’ll have the choice to pay and enter the actual mosque-cathedral.
- From March 1st to October 31st:
- Monday to Saturday: 10 am – 7 pm
- Sundays and Religious holidays: 8.30 am – 11.30 am and 3 pm – 7 pm
- From November 1st to February 28th/29th:
- Monday to Saturday: 10 am – 6 pm
- Sundays and Religious holidays: 8.30 am – 11.30 am and 3 pm – 6 pm
History & more information
The Great Mosque of Córdoba, also known as “La Mezquita” first appeared on the site in the 8th century when Emir Abd ar-Rahman I ordered its construction and later expanded considerably by other Muslim rulers.
It wasn’t until 1236 when Cordoba returned to Christian rule that the mosque was converted into a Roman Catholic church, giving rise to its formal name of today – Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption.
Instead of destroying all traces of Islam, it was decided that a Renaissance cathedral nave would be built at the heart of the mosque to honor all religions and to preserve the beauty of the already existing features.
While preserving the features (including the prayer hall and the mihrab) seems like the right and honorable thing to do, Muslims are not actually allowed to pray inside the cathedral.
Over the years, numerous Muslim activists have lobbied for the right to pray in the cathedral and all have been denied by the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican. The reason is because it is still an active place of worship for Christians.
Today when visiting the Great Mosque of Cordoba you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time to period where architectural triumphs were things of awe-inspiring beauty.
Some of the highlights are the ornate decor, detailed carvings, and the impressive usage of multi-colored marble columns. It’s truly spectacular and well deserving of its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Points of Interest
Rows of columns topped with horseshoe arches.
The Door of St. Stephan
There’s plenty of ornately decorated doors throughout the mosque-cathedral but the exterior door of St. Stephen is particularly impressive.
The Bell Tower
Climb to the top of the bell tower for panoramic views over the city. Don’t forget to admire it from afar too! The entrance to the bell tower takes place every 30-minutes.
Patio de las Naranjas
Orange trees, palm trees, and Cypress trees are dotted around the outdoor courtyard.
The Prayer Hall
The prayer hall is home to over 800 columns that were originally built to create prayer isles. The columns are made out of a variety of materials including granite, marble, and jasper.
The cathedral is found in the heart of the building and boasts gothic, renaissance, and baroque decor.
The mihrab is an ornately decorated prayer niche that, instead of facing Mecca, faces south (similar to the Damascus Mosque).
How to get to The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba
From Central Cordoba
From the central parts of the city, head towards the Guadalquivir river on foot. You’ll find the mosque just a short walk from the Roman Bridge of Cordoba.
The drive from Seville to Cordoba takes just under an hour while the train journey comes in closer to 2-hours. Alternatively, the bus between the two city’s takes around 1 hour 15 and departs at multiple times throughout the day from the Plaza de Armas Bus Station.
The drive from Malaga to Cordoba takes just under two hours and the bus journey comes in at a similar time. Buses depart regularly throughout the day from the Malaga Bus Station.
While the Mosque of Cordoba is arguably Cordoba’s biggest and best attraction, you should make the most of your time in the city by visiting the below nearby points of interest:
- Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs
- Roman Bridge of Cordoba
- Medina Azahara
- Torre De Calahorra
- Cordoba Synagogue
- Plaza de la Corredera
- Palacio de Viana
- Calleja de las Flores
Best time to visit
To avoid the day trip coach tours that arrive in Cordoba around 11am from Madrid, Malaga, and Seville, consider arriving early morning or late afternoon (an hour or two before closing should suffice).
If you wish to attend service note that mass takes place in the central mosque-cathedral at 9:30am Monday to Saturday and at midday and 1:30pm on Sundays.
Facts about the Great Mosque of Cordoba
- The brick-and-stone striped arches are supported by 856 granite and marble pillars, coming from Romans and Visigothic ruins.
- The bell tower stands at 54 meters high and can be easily spotted on the Cordoban skyline.
- While the structure is referred to as a ‘mosque-cathedral’ it is actually a Catholic church and Islamic practices such as azaan, wudhu, and salaah are not allowed.
- The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba is part of the largest urban center declared World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.
- Like every other Cathedral in the South of Spain, the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba also has an Orange Trees Courtyard. The fountain located under the trees used to provide water for the Muslim’s purifications.
- The Mosque’s focal point is a shell-shaped prayer niche, built in the 10th century. The mihrab traditionally faces Mecca. However, the Mosque of Cordoba’s mihrab faces south.
- In 1236, the Mosque was reconverted into a Christian church, when Ferdinand III of Castile conquered Cordoba. The Christian rulers decided to preserve the Mosque, and instead of destroying it, they enhance its beauty by adding new spaces and monuments.
- Known locally as Mezquita-Catedral, the Great Mosque of Cordoba is one of the oldest structures still standing from the 8th century.
- The building has been slowly expanded over the past 200 years.
- The expansive prayer hall was built using recycled ancient Roman columns.
FAQ’s (Things to know before you go)
How many people visit “La Mezquita” each year?
Over 1.5 million people are visiting the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba each year.
Does the Mosque of Cordoba have a dress code?
The mosque-cathedral should be respected as a place of worship and visitors should dress appropriately (consider covering your shoulders and wearing knee-length trousers/skirts).
Can I take photos inside the mosque-cathedral of Cordoba?
Photos without flash can be taken inside, but please refrain from photographing mass or any form of services.
Can I bring my luggage with me?
Large items of luggage are not permitted inside the mosque-cathedral however small handbags/ day bags are okay. Consider leaving your luggage at your hotel or make use of a local luggage storage service.
How long does it take to see the Mezquita in Cordoba?
Two hours is the recommended amount of time to explore all that the mosque-cathedral has to offer, though you may want to stay longer if you’re particularly interested in history, culture, and religion.
What is the Great Mosque at Cordoba famous for?
It held an important place within the Islamic community and Muslim rule in Al-Andalus for three centuries before being converted into a Roman Catholic Cathedral. The former Mosque of Cordoba is also renowned for its spectacular architecture and mixed Moorish/Christian heritage.
What is the Great Mosque of Cordoba used for today?
While it’s a popular tourist attraction, the Great Mosque of Cordoba is still an active place of worship.
Do you have more questions before visiting the Mosque of Cordoba? Leave a comment below!