Another stop on a recent Portugal/Spain road trip was the city of Córdoba. This has definitely been one of my favourite Unesco sites so far, partly because of the fantastic architecture but also because of the fascinating history behind the Cathedral/Mosque which lies at the heart of the historic centre. While the city has a rich history which dates back to the Roman era, it is the periods that follow which I find the most interesting.
Abd-al-Rahman I began construction of the Great Mosque in 786, on the site of a Roman temple of Janus which had been converted into a church by the Visigoths.
“Córdoba became the centre of a great realm renowned for its artistic and intellectual predominance and its liberal toleration of other religions. At its height the city is said to have enclosed over 300 mosques and innumerable palaces and public buildings, rivalling the splendours of Constantinople, Damascus, and Baghdad. The Caliphate of Córdoba collapsed after the bitter civil war of 1009-31, and only the Great Mosque survived as a symbol of its achievements.” Unesco website
However, in 1236 Córdoba was captured by Ferdinand III and the city became under Christian control. The Great Mosque became was transformed into a cathedral. Inside the cathedral you can see the influence of both Islamic and Christian architecture and decoration.
You can find out more about the Historic centre of Cordoba on the UNESCO website here.