Cordoba was great Moorish city between the 8th and 11th centuries with a Great Mosque built on the site of a demolished Visigoth church, itself converted from a Roman temple. When the city was retaken in the 13th century the mosque was converted to a church and in the 16th century a cathedral was essentially inserted in the middle of it. It is this building that is the core of this world heritage site.
Inside, you are initially in a dim forest of columns supporting two tiers of horseshoe arches. Around the edges of the huge space are endless little chapels to saints famous and obscure, each in its own arch behind an iron grille. Then in the middle, comparatively brightly lit from above by a clerestory, is the white and gold, baroque cathedral with decoratively ribbed vaulting, an ornately carved wooden choir and the standard huge gilt altar.
The leaflet is a great example of history written by the victors – currently the Christians on this site. The leaflet has a dig about how the Muslims knocked down the Visigoth church whilst piously pointing out that it is thanks to the Catholic Church that this great mosque has not become “a heap of ruins”.
Outside, the remodelled mosque courtyard is dominated by a tall belfy which was built over the minaret. As with the rest of the building, I liked the contrast of styles with horseshoe arches supported by corinthian columns all overlooked by the ornate renaissance tower.
And here in Lego: