Amazing fact: In the 10th century the Spanish city of Cordoba was the largest city in the world with about one million residents (as a comparison, London’s population was probably around 25,000 at the time). Cordoba had an advanced civilisation with over 1,000 mosques, 600 public baths, a central water supply, paved streets, street lighting, schools, a library with 500,000 volumes, an extensive bureaucracy and was advanced in art, science and law. Under the rule of Abd al-Rahman III, Cordoba broke away from the Damascus-based Umayyad dynasty and established an independent Caliphate of Cordoba.
The greatest of these mosques was the Umayyad Mosque of the West, now known as the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba. It was started in 786 during the rule of Abd al-Rahman I. It was modelled on mosques in Damascus and Jerusalem and used some Roman-era materials in its construction. It was later enlarged by Abd al-Rahman II, Al Hakam II and finally Almanzor, more or less doubling in size with each expansion, making it the largest mosque in the world by the year 994.
Here are some photos from my visit in June.
I would like to have seen more of Cordoba but our time there was limited. Next stop Granada.