The Original Mosque of Abd al-Rahman I holds a unique place in history. Originally constructed as a small prayer space, it underwent multiple expansions over the centuries.
Visitors to the Original Mosque of Abd al-Rahman I are treated to a truly immersive experience. The vast prayer hall, supported by an impressive forest of columns, evokes a sense of serenity and awe. The iconic red and white double arches create a mesmerizing interplay of light and shadow, enhancing the spiritual ambiance.
The original Aljama adopted a basilica model for its floor plan, inspired by the mosques of Damascus and al-Aqsa in Jerusalem. The space, divided into eleven naves perpendicular to the qibla wall, is arranged into a system of superimposed arches. This construction system, in which the rich influences of Hellenistic, Roman and Visigoth art can be perceived, not only established the constructive development of this building but also exerted an enormous influence on the history of universal architecture.
The highly creative solution adopted also involved the reuse of the Roman and Visigoth materials belonging to other previous constructions, as in the case of the Basilica of San Vicente.
Moreover, whereas the walls are built from limestone ashlars, laid using the stretcher and header bond system, the original floor was formed of a thick layer of mortar over tamped earth. With regard to the roof, whilst the exterior has a gabled design, the interior was structured out of wooden beams with carved decoration.
The Original Mosque of Abd al-Rahman I stands as a remarkable testament to the intermingling of Islamic and Christian cultures, as it was converted into a Christian cathedral after the castillian conquest in 1236.
The site’s historical and architectural significance has earned it a UNESCO World Heritage status. It attracts millions of tourists each year, eager to explore its intricate architectural details and soak in the centuries-old atmosphere.