Mezquita-Catedral

Intervention of Abd al-Rahman III

Although the prayer hall was not expanded under the mandate of Abd al-Rahman III, his legacy is still present in the building. The first Caliph of Cordoba worked on the façade of the chapel overlooking the courtyard, as is recalled in an inscription located on what is known as the Blessing Arch. His intervention consisted of the superimposing on the original façade of a gallery of eleven horseshoe arches supported by columns with a rose-coloured shaft and Corinthian capitals. One highlight is the solution adopted for the pentice, where an interesting set of modillions can be seen. 

In any event, it was the construction of the new minaret that was his most significant contribution as this most marked the constructive development of the building. There is evidence of the existence of an original minaret built by Hisham I, meaning that we have the oldest in the territory of al-Andalus. However, the expansion of the courtyard led Abd al-Rahman III to demolish this and build a new superb minaret which went on to influence others erected in Seville, Marrakesh and Rabat, and even some towers from Romanesque architecture.

Sources are unanimous about its monument nature and beauty. With a square floor plan, it was divided into two sections of different heights, structured around a central buttress from which came two staircases. The first of these had four windows with double horseshoe arches on its northern and southern façades, whereas the eastern and western faces had openings with three peepholes. Moreover, the second body was open on all four sides and crowned with a gilded bronze dome on which the yamur was placed, the iron rod that finished off the structure. What remains of it  is currently integrated into the Bell Tower, and can be seen on the tourist visit. 

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