The Great Mosque of Cordoba was considered a wonder of the medieval world by both Muslims and Christians. During that time, many people considered it as the Eight wonder of the world. The Great Mosque was built on a Visigothic site, which was probably the site of an earlier Roman temple. The Great mosque began being built in 785 in the Ummayyad dynasty, during the reign of Abd al-Rahman I, a survivor of the Ummayyad dynasty who escaped from Syria to the Iberian Peninsula after his family was massacred by the Abbasids. The function of the Great Mosque was to provide a place for worship and prayer for those who practice the Islamic faith. The structure
In 1236, Ferdinand III conquered Cordoba and made the Great Mosque a Christian cathedral. The mosque"tms hypostyle plan, consisting of a rectangular prayer hall and an enclosed courtyard, followed a tradition established in the Umayyad and Abbasid mosques of Syria and Iraq. of the mosque was a blend of Umayyad, Abbasdi, and pre-Islamic influences. The arrangement of the maqsura space may reflect the tri-apsidal arrangement found in church architecture. Al-Hakam II, who ruled from 961-976, commissioned expensive and luxurious renovations that displeased many of his subjects. His most lavish renovation was concentrated in the maqsura, the prayer space reserved for the ruler. The maqsura is visually separated from the rest of the prayer hall by scenes made from intersecting polylobed arcades. The two-tiered system of arches is similar the Roman aqueducts. These screens emphasize the importance of the space. The upper arches are semi-circular and the lower arches have a horseshoe shape and are know as horseshoe arches. The horseshoe arch had been used by the Visigoths in Spain, but its use was greatly expanded by the Muslims. First, it indicated the direction of Mecca so people who know what direction they should pray in. It"tms lavishly decorated with carved marble, stucco, and elaborate mosaics.