The Great Mosque of Córdoba, Essay Example

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In “The Great Mosque of Cordoba,” Jerrilynn D. Dodds suggests that the architectural design of this ancient and storied mosque reflects both the cultural and spiritual development of the Islamic faith in Spain.  Many design elements of the mosque also reflect the influence of the Christian faith in the region, attesting to the complicated, and sometimes conflicting, relationship between Christianity and Islam.  Dodds writes that the belief that architectural components are intrinsically logical creates “subverted expectations” (Dodds 13) when viewers encounter the mosque’s interior space, an area which uses elements such as color and the “constant echo of arches” (14) to create visual tension.

The meaning of its design represents a marriage of form and function:  on one level, the mosque seeks to provide physical space for Muslims to worship; at the same time, the mosque provides a historical narrative of various Muslim rulers and their intentions.  Because the Great Mosque is built, in part, on the ruins of ancient structures, the architects have incorporated elements such as Roman aqueducts for both practical and creative reasons.  As Dodds, writes, the aqueduct of Merida “offered Abd al-Rahman I a way to link his formidable act of patronage with his heritage and his aspirations (15).  Architectural features such as the aqueduct provide the Mosque with elements that suggest height and grandeur while attesting to the rich history of the mosque’s construction.  This historical connection is visible, also, in elements such as the mosaic decorations which seek to emulate and evoke other mosques, such as the Great Mosque of Damascus.  This creates a linkage between architectural designs while also alluding to the patrons whose financial support allowed for the Mosque’s construction.

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