The Mosque of Cordoba guide is meant to aid you in planning your visit to one of the most beautiful places in the city, Andalusia, and even the world.
Declared a World Heritage Site in 1984, the tour of this fascinating monument will allow you to travel through part of the history and art of the Umayyad style in Spain through the walls of a Christian basilica dedicated to St. Vincent that later, in 784, became a Mosque under Abd al-Rahman I.
Guide To Visit The Mosque Of Cordoba: A Complete Guide
Known by Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, Santa Maria Madre de Dios, or Great Mosque of Cordoba, and currently, as the Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady, this fascinating monument is undoubtedly one of the best places to see in Andalusia for any traveler.
It has dimensions of 23400 m2 and at the time was the second-largest mosque in the world, only surpassed by Mecca and the Blue Mosque later and as a curiosity, the qibla wall was not oriented towards Mecca, as usual, but to the south, as they used to do the mosques of al-Andalus.
To understand the importance and historical value of the Mosque of Cordoba, we must go back to the middle of the 6th century and move to the subsoil of the monument, where the archaeological remains of the Visigothic Basilica of San Vicente are found.
Felix Hernandez, the architect hired for the conservation project, found a number of walls, pavements, and mosaics, which showed the existence of a basilica and a rectangular room, and a water tank that is believed to have been a baptismal pool.
In addition to this, on one of the walls was found the inscription “EX OFF [ICINA] LEONTI” and a Chrismon, an anagram in Greek of the name of Christ, which confirmed the finding.
Once you visit the Mosque of Cordoba, you can see part of the pieces found in the exhibition area.
During the Emirate of Cordoba and the Caliphate of Cordoba 786-788, a new place of worship was needed. In this space, a Muslim oratory is first built, which follows the basilica scheme, and then for various reasons.
Various extensions, such as the first ordered by Abderramán II, added 8 naves to the mosque.
During the reign of Ahmed Bardaman III, a new 47-meter minaret was constructed, of which some remains are still visible in the current Tower.
With the second extension by order of Alhakén II, the prayer hall is enlarged, the quibla and the maqsura are built, and the third extension by Almanzor, which extends the oratory, the courtyard, and the ablutions pavilion.
After practically two centuries of expansion, and already in the 12th century and after the Christian Reconquista of the city, the monument was consecrated as the cathedral of the diocese, and in 1523, a Renaissance version was erected.
Today, after extensions and changes, the Mosque of Cordoba is undoubtedly the most well-known and most important monument of the city, along with the Alhambra in Granada, the most significant exhibition of Hispano-Muslim Umayyad art.
Something important to keep in mind is that the Mosque of Cordoba is one of the most visited places to see in Spain.
To ensure you get into the Mosque of Cordoba on the day you want to visit, we recommend you purchase tickets in advance on the official website.
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What to see in the Mosque of Cordoba
The Mosque of Cordoba has many amazing places to see. Therefore, we recommend that you have at least two full days as it is a thorough visit. After seeing these unique wonders, you won’t regret the time you spent.
The exterior of the monument
We encourage everyone to walk around the exterior of the Mosque of Cordoba before visiting its interior, taking note of its 4 facades and a number of elements like the Virgin of the Lanterns on the north facade and the balconies on the south facade.
North façade: It runs along Cardenal Herrero street; you can see the Arco del Agua, two doors, the Caño Gordo Fountain, and the altar of the Virgen de los Faroles.
South façade: This façade is on Corregidor Luis de la Cerda street and corresponds to the quibla of the old Mosque. It contains the Balcón de San Clemente and two rows of balconies built to improve the illumination of the rooms located between them.
East façade: On Magistrado González Francés street we find this façade where 9 doors and the 18th century Fountain of Santa Catalina can be seen.
West façade: This façade is on Torrijos street, with six doors and palace shutters.
Patio of the Orange Trees
Located in the northern part of the Mosque of Cordoba, this 130 by 50-meter area was the ablutions courtyard at the time of Abderraman I, after which it underwent various renovations and extensions.
It owes its name to the 98 orange trees that have been planted here since the 18th century, and it communicates with the exterior through 6 doors.
The section of the south wall used to have 17 arches, creating a prayer hall that was truly sincere, as opposed to the current one, which communicates only through one arched window, because the others were walled up in order to build the chapels added to the monument.
Other elements that can be seen in the Patio de los Naranjos of the Mosque of Cordoba are the fountain of Santa Maria, built in the second half of the seventeenth century, and the Cinamomo fountain of 1752 that owes its name to a tree that was planted right next to it.
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The Hypostyle Hall
This is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular places to see in the Mosque of Cordoba and one of the most representative images of the monument.
Originally made up of 11 naves perpendicular to the quibla wall, articulated through overlapping arches, part of this space has now disappeared after being used to build the chapels later annexed to the walls due to the changes and extensions that the old mosque underwent.
Maqsura and mihrab
Built by Alhaken II during one of the extensions of the Mosque, the maqsura is an area reserved for the caliph. The access door to the Treasury Hall was located in the west area.
On the wall of the quibla, we find the mihrab room, with a beautiful oval-shaped dome.
As we have mentioned on several occasions, the Mosque of Cordoba underwent various reforms and extensions, including the construction of chapels.
Some of the most important of these are the chapels of Villaviciosa and San Pablo, the Royal Chapel, which cannot be visited. San Pablo is located in the rear area of the Royal Chapel.
In addition to these, there are 9 chapels attached to the west wall in the Mosque of Cordoba, 6 chapels on the south wall, 12 chapels and the Sacristy on the east wall, and 10 on the west wall.
Visiting the Museums
Another of the things to do in the Mosque of Cordoba is to visit its museums or exhibitions.
Museum of San Vicente: Here, you can see some of the remains found after the excavations and studies made in the Basilica of San Vicente.
Museum of San Clemente: A place where different objects related to the Mosque of Cordoba are exhibited.
Treasury of the Cathedral: Located in the Chapel of Santa Teresa, keeps some of the main objects of the Cathedral as the Custody of Arfe.
How to get to the Mosque of Cordoba
The Mosque of Cordoba is located in Cardenal Herrero Street, 1, in the city’s heart and can be reached on foot or by bus lines 3 and 12, getting off at the stop “Puerta del Puente.”
Remember that the entrance is through the Puerta de Deanes, on the west façade, on Torrijos street.
Prices and Schedules of the Mosque of Cordoba
The opening hours of the Mosque of Cordoba are:
From March to October: Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 19 pm / Sundays and holidays from 8:30 am to 11:30 am and from 15 pm to 19 pm.
From November to February, the same schedule but closes at 6 pm.
The price of the Mosque of Cordoba is:
General Admission: 11 euros
Reduced admission: 9 euros (People over 65 years old, students from 15 to 26 years old and holders of the Youth Card)
Reduced admission: 6 euros (Children from 10 to 14 years old, disabled up to 64% and members of large families)
Reduced admission: 4 euros (Large family members (children from 10 to 14 years old))
Free: Born or residents in the diocese of Cordoba, children under 10 years, holders of the card “Andalucía Junta 65” and disabled over 64% with an accompanying person.
How to buy tickets for the Mosque of Cordoba
As mentioned above, tickets to the Mosque of Cordoba can be purchased on the official website.
Whatever option you choose, it is important to book as far in advance as possible, as the Mosque of Cordoba is one of the most visited monuments in the country, so sometimes tickets are sold out.
Free entrance to the Mosque of Cordoba
There is the possibility to enter the Mosque of Cordoba for free if you enter from Monday to Saturday from 8:30 am to 9:30 am (check out at 9:20 am).
As you can see, the schedule is very short, and depending on the time of year, there is practically no light, so this option is recommended only if you’ve been there before or if you’d like to revisit.
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Tips for visiting the Mosque of Cordoba
As well as the information we have provided, we have included some tips we feel are important for visiting the Mosque of Cordoba.
- As we have mentioned several times, the Mosque of Cordoba is one of the most popular attractions in Andalusia, so it is important to book tickets as soon as possible.
- Whenever you can, we recommend you get your tickets early in the day, as you will probably find fewer people and fewer organized groups.
- Make sure you give yourself at least two hours. The monument is worth visiting, however, due to the amount of history it contains.
- Remember that the history of the place is fascinating, so make sure you take a guided tour of the Mosque of Cordoba not to miss anything.
- The entrance is through the Puerta de Deanes, on the west facade, on Torrijos street.
- During the mass, tripods are not allowed or photographs are not permitted. It is also forbidden to enter the monument with suitcases or backpacks.
- Pets are not allowed in the monument except for guide dogs.
Is the Mosque of Cordoba accessible to everyone?
Part of the Mosque of Cordoba is accessible, although certain limitations must be taken into account:
To enter through the Arch of Blessings, you have to overcome 2 steps about 15 centimeters high, although an alternative ramp can be accessed with a wheelchair.
Once inside, practically the whole visit is made through rooms without steps, although there are slight changes in height with ramps, except for the access to the Choir, where there is a 12-centimeter step without an alternative ramp.
Where to stay near the Mosque of Cordoba
The Mosque of Cordoba is located in the heart of the city. Therefore, staying in Cordoba is the best option to visit. However, as we mentioned in the previous section of tickets, you can make the visit from other cities for free or with organized tours.
Here are a few selections of places to stay in the city, with excellent value for money.
Our recommended accommodation for visiting Cordoba is the Hospederia Banos Arabes De Cordoba, located in the Jewish quarter and five minutes’ walk from the mosque.
In addition to its excellent location, all guests have free access to the hotel’s Arab baths, including 4 swimming pools and a traditional hammam.
If you have a higher budget, you can opt for the NH Collection Amistad Cordoba, located in a renovated mansion of the eighteenth century, 200 meters from the mosque.
If your hotel does not have Arab baths, we recommend booking this bath that includes massage in a traditional hammam.