Moorish Mosques of Spain

Present on the Iberian Peninsula from 711 to 1492, the Moors, who came from North Africa, left their mark on their passage through culture and architecture. Witness of this period are the mosques, who are rare survivors that were spared because they were converted into churches.

Piqsels

Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

The Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba was founded in 786, at the time, the second-largest mosque behind the mosque of Mecca. In 1238, after the Christian reconquest of the city, the building was consecrated as a cathedral. Today, the building is one of the most important monuments of Cordoba. It is one of the 12 treasures of Spain and a UNESCO world heritage site.

Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba
Wikimedia Commons/Emiliano García-Page Sánchez

Mosque of las Tornerias

This former mosque had an unusual square plan, the function of which changed drastically over the course of history, and now it houses the "Foundation Center for the Promotion of Crafts" that hosts temporary exhibitions. The original function of the monument remained unclear until in 1905, an archive search found out that it was a mosque dating back to 11th or 12th century. Over the course of time, it was converted to an inn, a guild headquarters, and even a local domicile. The Islamic architectural elements, such as the mihrab and the pulpit, were removed, which made it hard for the experts to conclude whether it was a Moorish synagogue or a mosque.

Mosque of las Tornerias
Wikimedia Commons/Berthold Werner

Madrasah of Granada

Founded by the Sultan of Granada himself in the 14th century, the Madrasa de Granada is located in the heart of Granada's old town. During the Reconquista, the building was converted into the City Hall, but the educational function made a comeback in the recent history of the 20th century when it became part of the University of Granada. The only part of the madrasa that remains is the prayer hall, the walls of which are covered with carved polychrome plaster.

Madrasah of Granada
Wikimedia Commons/José Luis Filpo Cabana

Mosque-Church of El Salvador

The church of El Salvador occupies the building of a previous mosque, probably dating from the 11th century. The mosque itself was built on the remains of a sacred Visigothic building. The conversion to Christian worship in 1159 brought about various modifications, including the construction of the Gothic chapel of St Catherine at the end of the 15th century. A brick bell tower was then added to the minaret, inlaid with friezes, which were transformed into a bell tower.

Mosque-Church of El Salvador
Wikimedia Commons/Rufus46

Mudejar Minaret

The Mudejar minaret of Árchez is the bell tower of the church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación. It is the former minaret of the 14th century Almohad mosque, of which only the tower, built in red brick and with a square structure, has been preserved. It is considered one of the best examples of Almohad architecture that has been preserved.

Mudejar Minaret
Flickr/Juanedc

Giralda

Giralda is the name given to the bell tower of the Cathedral of Santa María de la Sede in the city of Seville. The lower two-thirds of the bell tower corresponds to the minaret of the city's old mosque, dating from the late twelfth century to the Almohad period (1121-1269), while the upper third is a construction superimposed on the Christian period to house the bells. In 1987, the bell tower was added to the World Heritage List along with the cathedral.

Giralda
Wikimedia Commons/Richard Mortel

Mosque-Church of Cristo de la Luz

The Church of Cristo de la Luz, formerly the Bab al-Mardum Mosque, was one of the ten mosques that the city once had, and is the best-preserved. Founded in 999, various elements, mainly an apse, were added to it in the 12th century, after the Christian conquest of the city, making it one of the oldest known examples of Mudéjar art.

Mosque-Church of Cristo de la Luz