Mezquita History: when Islamic Art
and Architecture synthesized into
Hispano-Moorish Art and Architecture
: A mosque - a place of prostration.
During the early stages of Islam, the Prophet Mohammed gathered his family and believers for prayer in his home, in Medina: (interesting facts about the prophet muhammad).
Later this would become the Mosque of Medina. A mosque, then, was more a symbolic communal space or an open area. Sometimes only a ditch, delineated the area - designated for prayer.
Exterior Mezquita façade from the Orange Tree Courtyard
A mosque is where Muslims pray and prostrate themselves in an act of submission and respect towards Allah.
Mosques, originally, served its community for prayer.
However, mosques fulfilled other purposes: it was a place where citizens paid homage to their rulers, it served as a place of learning, an excellent venue for tax collection. Mosques were THE place to broadcast any forthcoming political or social events. Frequently, a Mosque was where the community treasure was kept.
Functions of a Mosque
Since the dawn of Mezquita History, Mosques needed to be big enough to be able to assemble the entire local population surrounding each particular Mosque, for Friday prayers: masjid al-jami
Muslims pray in the direction of the Kaaba (Saudia Arabia).
The Qibla was a wall in the direction of the Mecca, The Qibla area was sheltered.
Islam Progressed: Further Architecture Mosque Details Emerged
- The Mihrab was a niche built into the Qibla wall - in the direction of the Mecca
Cupola of the Mihrab Cordova Mezquita
- A minbar was the raised pulpit for the preacher (imam)
- The Maqsura was an openwork, (often intricate woodwork) enclosed area within the Mihrab. This prayer-space was reserved the ruling Emir or Caliph. The need for the Maqsura arose as 'protection from assassins,' who were sometimes hidden, within the Mosque's assembled community
- Minarets were a way of calling the people to prayers
- Ablution fountains
The First al-Andalus Monument was: La Mezquita
al-Andaus Mezquita History Art and Architecture commenced under the rule of Emir Abd ar-Rahman 1. Thirty years after his arrival, the Emir, work began on the The Great Mosque of Cordoba
The previous Christian Basilica (San Vicente) was razed and building commenced on what which became the Great Mosque of Cordoba in 784 AD. The idea of doing so replicated Mezquita History. It was what happened to the Basilica of St. John the Baptist, which also was leveled, creating the space for the Great Mosque of Damascus.
Each Umayyad Emir or Caliph bequeathed special gifts to the Aljama Mosque, in honour of its founder. Three hundred years later it was completed.
Cordoba Mosque was a Umayyad-based statement, symbolizing, Islamic al-Andalus; celebrating the steady progress of The Independent Emirate 756 - 929 AD.
Syrian-expertise of Islamic Art and Architecture
was thus introduced to the Iberian Peninsula. Local artisans were contracted to help build the Mezquita. The Art and Architecture of these different cultures synthesized into: Hispano-Moorish Art and Architecture
Mezquita History of Umayyad Mosques
Umayyad Mosques were usually vast Hypostyle Halls whose structure was supported by harmoniously interspersed columns: The architecture accent was to create the impression of never-ending space in a play of ever-moving light and shadow, heightening spiritual awareness.
View of Play of Light from a Christian Arch
Orientation without a central axis accentuated the sense of infinity.
The relationship of God and man celebrated in a mystical space
The columns used in most Umayyad Mosques were carefully gleaned from Ancient Shrines, surrounding, that particular area.
Interior courtyards (sahn) were of a prime importance. The courtyards backed-up as garrisons and were known as a Kufa-type of Mosque. Kufa models were fashioned after the blueprint of Mohammed's own home mosque, the Medina Mosque. Courtyards were planted with trees, providing necessary shade for the congregation.
Architectural Symbolism of the Orange Tree Courtyard
The Patio's harmony is achieved by the equal symmetry between original al-Andalus irrigation chanels and trees planted there.
Model of the Cordova Mezquita from Torre de la Calahorra
Originally, the trees aligned with the openings of the Cordova Mezquita.They were blocked-up by the Christians. The Patio de los Naranjos Courtyard Architecture was part of the Mezquita itself.
The Twelve exterior doors would have been open.
For this very reason, the idea of the Maqsura Enclosure, protecting the Emir or Caliph, from a murderer within the amassed devout, was essential. Quite a few Emirs or Caliphs - and some Imams were lethally stabbed.
Three Holy Islamic Shrines
The Mecca, the Medina Mosque and the Dome of the Rock (in Jerusalem). All were visited by Islamic pilgrims and circumambulated in reverence.
Abd ar-Rahman 1 (756 to 788 AD) and Cordoba
Mezquita History Architectural expression was inaugurated under the rule of Emir Abd ar-Rahman 1.
- The ancient (Roman) walled city of Historic Cordoba, Corduba: Cordoba, had been the capital of Roman Baetica
- The city was equally important during Visigoth rule
- In 717 AD it became the new capital of al-Andalus - a province of the Islamic Empire
Abd ar-Rahman 1, as ruler of The Independent Emirate, equally chose to rule al-Andalusia - preserving Cordoba as its capital.
Cordobes architecture, previously, had been mainly Roman or Byzantinium in style. During the reign of the Emir, many ancient Cordobes city-structures were gradually reformed adding a more Oriental character to the city: medinas, baños caliphales, Zoco, los arrabales etc.
Houses and palaces were centered around interior patios, secluded from exterior view. They are what defines Cordoba city: Cordoba Spain's festival of the best "Patios de Cordoba" is celebrated in May. Many of the old constructions remain:La Juderia, La Alcazaba and the Mezquita's History.
al-Andalus Agricultural Water Secrets
Madinat az-Zahra purpose