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The Great Mosque of Cordoba Professor Jorge Silvetti ID Information: I. Title of work: The Great Mosque of Cordoba II.

Name of patron: Abd ar-Rahman I III. Date: first construction began 784 IV. Location: Cordoba, Spain Key Points from Readings (large portions of the readings discussed the Islamic faith; I decided to narrow down the information and focus on the architectural points instead): I. Rafael Moneo, The Mosque and the Cathedral a. The Life of Buildings: b. Architecture persists and reacts to the passage of time i. Architects gain youth in their buildings through open design, which allows a building to adapt to changing realitites/time ii. Crdoba mosque achieves this as its history spans 8 centuries c. Crdoba mosque used Christian architectural elements to reflect an Islamic ideals (such as the omnipotence of God) i. The processional through the mosque was altered from Christian churches 1. The focus of the alter in the Christian space was replaced with the mosques focus on the quibla (prayer wall) 2. This first mosque was under Abd-al-Ruhman I and was a wide space in which any Christian processional had been forgotten. d. Architectural elements of Crdoba mosque i. Height was achieved through a superimposed second arch ii. One important feature is the colored voussoirs of the arches e. The new mosque was modeled after the first and second versions of the mosques which were headed by Abd-al-Rahman the I and II. i. The most significant change in the new mosque were the skylights that were built as domes which affected not only the architectural plan, but also the atmosphere of the interior space 1. The skylights emphasized the route to the mihrab 2. There were now new heights and lighting in the mosque 3. Mosque was once a dark space Martin Frishman, Islam and the Form of the Mosque a. The Mosque: Typology and Development i. Although Islam has always advocated that material things should not be considered sacred, leaders of monotheistic religions believed they could attract potential converts with an impressive building; the more splendid they could make their sacred shrine, the greater would be its magnetism ii. The direct relationship between architectural form and function found in Christian history does not apply in the case of the mosque 1. Communion plays a more direct role in the Islam religion


than it does in Judaic and Christian practice a. In Islam it plays a more direct role, since there is no intermediary (such as a priest) b. The component parts of the mosque i. A demarcated space: partly roofed and partly open to the sky to provide a space for the congregation at prayer ii. The qibla wall and the mihrab 1. They prayer-hall must have one wall (known as the qibla) facing Mecca 2. At the mid-point of the qibla is placed the mihrab (the most decorated feature of the mosque, has a semicircular plan and a semicircular arched top) iii. The minbar (pulpit), always positioned to the right of the mihrab 1. Consists of stairs that lead to a greater platform iv. The kursi: the lectern on which the Quran is placed v. The minaret: tower-like feature, with original purpose to ensure that the voice of the muezzin making the adhan could be heard at a maximum distance vi. The portal: concealment of the interior of a building from outside view Notes from lecture: I. A mosque doesnt need a building; it is a location that is marked towards Mecca and points its visitor towards Mecca a. The wall (qibla) orients the faithful who enter the mosque i. The faithful are not oriented to a single point, but rather to a distant, spiritual point that is symbolized by an architectural point seen in the mosque II. The site of the mosque is a type of acropolis III. The capitals of the columns are reused from old landmarks and are made of precious materials a. There are hundreds of different types of capitals IV. This kind of mosque can be expanded V. This mosque is open all the time and has many entrances a. Easily accessible to the public b. Lies in the center of the city c. The mosque is always seen in the plan of an Islamic city