The Great Mosque
The Great Mosque of Cordoba is a significant mark of the Islamic architecture. The building has a great deal of secrecy behind the construction of the structures whose origin seems to be unexplainable. By the eighth century, the Mosque became the headquarters of the Caliphate. As such, Cordoba city began to shine when numerous public buildings, palaces, and the great mosques were built to compete with the rival Damascus Mosque. By the 13th century, the Great Mosque was converted into a cathedral where new protective structures were constructed (Alejandro 81). The outstanding structure achieved a distinctive artistic feature due to its scope, height, and boldness. The building is the most symbolic monument of the Islamic architecture.
The splendid building was constructed to compete with the Mosque of Damascus, which was famous in the region due to its design and size (Cunningham and Reich 178). Nonetheless, Christians and Muslims shared the Mosque, but due to the population growth of the Muslims, the Christian church was purchased by Abd al-Rahman I who demolished the church to give room for the expansion of the Mosque. Later in the 9th Century, Abd-al-Rahman II knew the population was growing, and there was a need to expand the building (Alejandro 82). To complete the construction of the magnificent structure, it took 200 years. After its completion, the building had become an iconic Islamic Mosque in the whole world. The goal of constructing the Mosque had been accomplished; it had taken over from the great Mosque of Damascus. The Mosque had become very influential on the Muslims from the Western (Honour and Fleming 11). In essence, the structure became a significant example of the Islamic architecture.
The Great Mosque made major political milestones. Firstly, in the mid-8th century, Abd-al-Rahman created the Caliphate of Cordoba that challenged the Damascus Caliphate in the Muslim religion. The establishment of the new Caliphate made the city of Cordoba significant, especially in the western world (Salma 170). However, by the 11th Century, the Caliphate of Cordoba ended, hence marking the closure of the existing political system leading to the formation of the Taifa Kingdoms. The Mosque of Cordoba made a positive impact on the economy of the city as it led to paved streets and organized commerce along the paths (Suarez 310). Business was booming due to the agricultural produce that found a ready market in the city. Secondly, the city became famous due to the skilled artisans and quality textile.
In addition, the Mosque of Cordoba had a religious goal of making the city a center for all Muslims by attracting them to the outstanding structure. On the other hand, the teachings at the Great Mosque ensured that the Muslims in the city of Cordoba interacted and associated with each other freely. During the Caliphate, the population of Cordoba had increased, a situation that led to the establishment of schools that promoted social and cultural interactions among the city residents (Ruggles 155). In essence, the developments were as a result of the splendid design of the Great Mosque, which had attracted a huge number of people to the City.
The Political context that led to the creation of the Mosque was to establish a Caliphate in the City of Cordoba; hence, creating a rivalry with the Mosque of Damascus that at the time was the largest. The Mosque stimulated the growth of the Cordoba economy, and as the population grew, there were ready consumers for the products. From a social perspective, most religious places are constructed and used in reconciling people and the Mosque of Cordoba was no different since one of the purposes of its establishment was to help in bringing people from different religious backgrounds together (Salma 172). By creating a magnificent building, it would attract people who would come to see and learn the importance of co-existing peacefully. Due to its size, the house of worship attracted many Muslims; hence, make it a religious center, especially for those people from the Western. In this case, individuals were no longer required to go to the Damascus Mosque for worship.
It is worth noting that the Cordoba Muslim Kingdom collapsed in the 11th Century. In the mid-13th century, the Christian forces from the north took over the Mosque, cleansed the place, made it a church, and held a mass inside the building. In addition, few minor modifications were made on the inner walls of the Mosque (Suarez 311). However, a major change was done in the 16th century when King Charles ordered the construction of a Gothic church in the middle of the Mosque.
As it has been evident from the analysis, the construction of the Great Mosque of Cordoba begun in the 8th Century and was commissioned by Abd al-Rahman. The Mosque was and still is one of the largest Mosques in the world. The expansion of the Mosque was as a result of the increased number of the Muslim community living in the City and also those who came to visit. It is said that before the construction, the Christians, and the Muslims shared the Church of St. Vincent that was later purchased by the Muslims to give room for the construction of the Mosque. Upon its completion, the Great Mosque helped the city of Cordoba to grow economically due to a large number of people who were living and visiting the city. The Mosque made a major improvement in the political, social, and religious life of the people in the City of Cordoba. Its size and outstanding look attracted people, especially Muslims from many parts of the world.