Cordoba, the Mosque-Cathedral, Andalusia • Spain

Step into a realm of timeless wonder with this six-minute video. Journey through the extraordinary city of Cordoba, Spain, and encounter the UNESCO World Heritage-listed monument, a grand chapel exhibiting Renaissance style, where history and culture unite in a stunning architectural tableau. Every detail is spotlighted alongside an explanation of the cultural context, making for an enlightening and enriching experience. Wait no longer, Cordoba beckons you.

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip Spain: Semana Santa in Andalusia

vimeo chapterA click on this icon above displays the list of chapters of this film about Andalusia in Spain. A click on a dot goes directly to a chapter.

Reading the text below will help you better understand the historical context of the sites shown in this video.

Cordoba, a bit of history


Before the arrival of the Muslims


Inhabited since prehistoric times, the Cordoba region was conquered by Rome, to the detriment of the Carthaginians who had succeeded the Phoenicians there. Rome led wars against Carthage between -218 and -19 to conquer the Iberian Peninsula. 

After the Roman conquest, Cordoba became the capital of the province of Later Hispania. Cordoba is the birthplace of Seneca. 

Cordoba subsequently became the seat of a bishopric, around the 3rd or 4th century AD. The collapse of Rome, at least of the Western Roman Empire, will give way to the Gothic invasions and the Visogoths conquered the city in 572. The Visigoths were to be driven out of Cordoba under the advance of Arab troops who seized Cordoba in 711.


Muslim era


The lands conquered by the Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula form the kingdom of al-Andalus, of which Cordoba will be the first capital. Then will be founded the emirate of Cordoba in 756 and finally, at the beginning of the 10th century, Cordoba becomes the capital of the independent caliphate of Cordoba. This period marks the heyday of Cordoba, which rivaled Baghdad in both population size and wealth. The city was to have nearly 500,000 inhabitants.


The Spanish period


The city came under the control of the Spanish crown with the capture of Cordoba in 1236 by Ferdinand III of Castile. It had already lost much of its former luster by this time and it would continue to decline, overtaken by Seville


The Mosque-Cathedral


Cordoba's most famous monument is undoubtedly the Cathedral Mosque. This monument has evolved with the ups and downs of the region's history.


the site of the Mosque-Cathedral throughout history.


The Romans erected a temple dedicated to Janus on the spot where the mosque-cathedral now stands.

The early Christians had erected a church on the site of the Temple of Janus, the Church of St. Mary at this location and when the Visigoths took over, they replaced this church with the Basilica of St. Vincent in the 6th century.

The Muslims in turn took control of the city and built a large mosque towards the end of the 8th century. An agreement with the Visigoths provided that part of the Church of Saint-Vincent could continue to exist, while all the other churches in the city were to be razed. This agreement lasted for a few decades, but the whole building was to be transformed into a mosque in 787.

The destroyed churches would serve as a stone quarry for the construction of this mosque.

The Mosque of Cordoba was to become the largest mosque in the world after that of Mecca.

The founder of the emirate of Cardoue, Abd el-Rahmane 1st, member of the Ommeyades dynasty and grandson of the caliph Hisham of Damascus, decided to build an imposing mosque, inspired by that of Damascus or Al Aqsa in Jerusalem . The space was divided into 11 parallel naves, arranged in a system of superimposed arches. This method of construction was inspired by Greek, Roman and Visigoth architects and was to influence the history of universal architecture. Among other techniques borrowed from previous cultures, the Arabs of Spain used two-tone arches, made of successions of bricks and stones.

The successors of Abd el-Rahmane continued to enlarge and embellish the mosque of the caliphate of Cordoba until the conquest of the city by the Spaniards in 1236.

When Ferdinand III of Castile entered Cordoba in 1236, he had the monument consecrated as a Catholic church and as the cathedral of the diocese of Cordoba.

The mosque was not destroyed, but transformed. A space was prepared for the construction of a royal chapel by removing some columns.

Many other chapels were to be built inside the mosque which was entirely dedicated to Catholic worship.

This royal chapel, where Kings Alfonso XI and Ferdinand IV are buried, was to become the current Capilla Mayor (major chapel) in the 16th century.

the Capella Mayor, Cordoba, Andalusia • Spain

What's the weather like in Cordoba?

about the place, Cordoba:

Cordoba is one of the most populated cities in Andalusia in southern Spain, after Seville and Malaga. The richness of its architectural heritage testifies to its long history. An important city under the Roman Republic (between 300 and 200  BC), Cordoba came under Visigoth rule after the collapse of Rome's empire in the 5th century AD. The Arabs took possession of the entire peninsula around the beginning of the 8th century and Cordoba became the main political center of the kingdom of al-Andalus.

The Catholic kings of Spain took over the city in 1237, marking at the same time the decline of Cordoba in favor of Seville.

Córdoba now has just over 300,000 inhabitants.


Spoken comments in the film: 

The city of Cordoba in Andalusia, southern Spain, had its heyday in the 10th century, when it was the capital of the Emirate of Cordoba.

The city has a turbulent history, like almost all cities in southern Spain, passing in turn from Roman domination to that of the Visigoths, who gave way to Arabs, before it became part of Catholic Spain. .

A monument perfectly illustrates this history, the mosque-cathedral which rises in the heart of the old city.


The Great Mosque of Cordoba had more than 1000 pillars. A large part of the columns were taken from pre-existing monuments, and materials taken from the many churches destroyed during the Arab takeover.

In 1236, after the conquest of Cordoba by Ferdinand III of Castile, these pillars were kept, but the entire mosque was consecrated as a Catholic cathedral. Many chapels were built along the walls of the building.


All these chapels were built from the end of the 13th century.

The most richly decorated chapel is undoubtedly the "Capilla Mayor", a major chapel which was built later in the 16th century and which is so beautiful and large that many people think it is the cathedral. In reality, the whole of the converted mosque forms the cathedral.



 - YouTube video library - Butterflies in Love

 - YouTube video library - Clenched Teeth, (© Clenched Teeth - The Descent by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.



 - YouTube video library - Disappointment, (© Dissappointment by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.



Disclaimer: Despite its appropriateness, copyright issues prevent the use of spanish traditional music in "Cordoba, the Mosque-Cathedral, Andalusia • Spain", hence the use of royalty-free music. Despite our careful selection, some might regret this decision, which is necessary to avoid potential lawsuits. Although difficult, this decision is the only viable solution.

the Calahorra tower and the Roman bridge, Cordoba • Spain

the Calahorra tower and the Roman bridge

Facade of the mosque-cathedral (mezquita-catedral), Cordoba • Spain

Facade of the mosque-cathedral (mezquita-catedral)

the mosque with catholic chapels, Cordoba • Spain

the mosque with catholic chapels

the major chapel (Capilla Mayor) inside the mosque, Cordoba • Spain

the major chapel (Capilla Mayor) inside the mosque

Cordoba, Spain

© 2020 - 2024 • Jean-Marie Putz, PutzProductions