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the Mesquita

September 13, 2004

This is the Mezquita de Cordoba, a mosque built on a site of a Roman fortress and Visigoth church using materials from both, which was expanded several times using materials from the Madinat al-Zahra (which we visited later) and which was converted to a cathedral after it was conquered by the Catholics. You'd never guess from the outside (orange tree patio next to a minaret-turned-bell-tower), but it's a crazy building on the inside. Imagine highly-decorated Moorish facades complete with Koranic verses right next to ornate marble chapels dedicated to Catholic saints. And then there's the giant high altar and choir, turned 90 degrees from the focal direction of the mosque, right in the middle of all these Moorish arches and marble pillars.