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History of The Mosque Cathedral of Cordoba

The Mosque Cathedral of Cordoba - Cardenal Herrero, number 1

In 1236 the Mosque was consecrated as the Cathedral of Cordoba, by “San Fernando”, who decided to continue adding chapels, decorative elements and other symbols of the Catholic cult. From that moment on, the bishops that succeeded, tried to do different transformations and reforms to the Moslem building, to adjust it to the needs of the Christian cult. In the 15th century, the Catholic Kings gave permission for the construction of a “Capilla Mayor”. In the 16th century, new ecclesiastic pressures managed to break the strong opposition of the Chapter of the Cathedral and of the local people, who in 1523, under the rule of Carlos I, had to agree to do the large reform, which had to accommodate in the middle of the original structure, between the expansions of Abd alRahman II and Almanzor, the catholic temple, which was finished in 1766.

The “capilla Mayor”, has a Latin cross floor plan, and its arches are Gothic. At the center of the crossing we can see the big silver lamp made by the Cordovan silversmith “Martín Sánchez de la Cruz”. The choir’s seat, that reflects the formidable expression of the baroque style, is made with mahogany wood by “Duque Cornejo” in the 17th century. The central lectern has great merit, crowned by a niche which has an image of the Virgin made of ivory by “Alonso Cano”.

The chapels added to the walls that close up the Mosque, more than fifty, have an extraordinary value for the fine arts, due to being representative of its evolution through the years in Cordoba. Gates, tiles, paintings and sculpture show us examples of its different moments of its history. The treasure, also shows excellent collections of ecclesiastic pax and shrines, chalices and gold and silver ciboriums, outstanding amongst these, a very important one attributed to “Benvenuto Cellini”. The treasure of the Cathedral of Cordoba has the “Custody of the Corpus Christi”, carved by “Enrique de Arfe” and used for the first time in 1518 at the Corpus Christi procession. At the outside of the Mosque we can see, the several gates or doors that the temple has, like for instance: “la Puerta del Perdón” (the Forgiveness Gate), “Postigo de la Leche”, “Puerta de los Deanes”', “Puerta de San Esteban” (San Esteban Gate), “Santa Catalina” ...; the altarpiece of the “Virgen de los Faroles” (Virgin of the Lanterns) and the “fuente del Caño Gordo” (the fountain of the big spout).

The tower, made by “Hernán Ruiz”, constructed on top of the old Arab “alminar” (minaret) built by Abd alRahman III, and crowned by “San Rafael” (Saint Rafael), made by the cordovan sculptor “Pedro de Paz”.

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