Photo of Mezquita of Cordoba

Visit Mezquita of Cordoba

The Mezquita is considered to be one of the worlds greatest examples of Islamic architecture and it has been voted the number one of twelve 'Treasures of Spain' in a national tv and radio vote. It is certainly the number one site in Cordoba and not to be missed if you are in the south of Spain.

Explore the Mezquita (Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba)

The current Mezquita has evolved over 12 centuries. The original mosque was built by Abd al Rahman I between 785 and 787. Rahman II completed and enlarged the building with the goal of this providing an alternative to Mecca. The mosque contained an original script of the Koran as well as a bone from the arm of Muhammad.

In the 10th century Hakam II added various features including the beautiful mihrab, one of the finest pieces of Moorish religious art. This prayer niche is beautifully decorated and is where the pilgrims came to pray. Under the rule of Hakram II the mosque was almost doubled in size and adding many more columns.

The Mezquita in Cordoba

Originally the design of the mosque led to the mihrab but in 1523 a Renaissance cathedral was built in the middle of the mosque. For three centuries following the Reconquest of Spain the Spanish avoided building in the mosque but finally the cathedral chapter persuaded Carlos V to sanction the building of a cathedral on the site.

Carlos did realize his mistake and when he saw the finished work told the chapter that " You have built what you or others might have built anywhere, but you have destroyed something that was unique in the world".

Because the cathedral is part of the site it is known as the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba.


The belfry on the edge of the Patio de los Naranjos was built at the same time as the cathedral and has steep steps which can be climbed for views over the city of Cordoba.

The iconic arches and pillars of the Mezquita are made of granite, jasper and marble and there are 856 columns in the main hall. Many of the columns were taken from Roman and Visigoth buildings. The double arches were built in order to give height to the room and are comprised of a lower horseshoe shaped arch topped by an upper semi-circle shaped arch.

The Mezquita in Cordoba

The alternating red brick and white stone of the arches give the interior of the mosque a dramatic elegance which is quite breathtaking to see.

At one time as well as the lamps hanging from the ceiling there were also the bells of the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. These were carried from Santiago by Christian captives and then hung upside down in the mosque. When Fernando el Santo captured Cordoba in 1236 he made Arab prisoners carry them back again!

Mezquita visitor information

The Mezquita can be visited from Monday to Saturday from 08.30 to 09.30 and 10.00 to 14.00 and 16.00 to 19.00.

Tickets cost 13 euros (though it is free from 08.30 to 09.30) and 7 euros for 10-14 year olds.

A walk up the bell tower costs an extra 3 euros.

It is also possible to do a night visit to the Mezquita when lighting and music add a dramatic dimension to the visit.

Places to visit nearby

The medieval city of Cordoba is beautiful and merits a visit of a day or two at least.

Nearby Almodovar del Rio has become well known for its castle which features in Game of Thrones.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Cordoba guide and the Andalucia guide.

See also: 

Photos of Mezquita of Cordoba

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Map of Mezquita of Cordoba and places to visit


Mezquita of Cordoba places to visit



Cordoba is home to the Mezquita, the most beautiful of all the Mosques constructed by the Moors in Spain

Cordoba guide
Almodovar del Rio

Almodovar del Rio

Almodovar del Rio is most visited for its castle, the Castillo de Almodovar which featured in the 7th Game of Thrones series.

Almodovar del Rio guide


Zuheros is one of the pretty 'white villages' of Andalucia. The ruins of the Castle of Zuheros are in the village.

Zuheros guide

...or see all our recommended places to visit in Andalucia