Remembering The Masjids of Spain

Giralda

For several centuries, Spain was under Muslim rule, and this left a significant mark on Spanish culture, art and architecture which can be seen even to this day. In fact, Spanish way of life and cultural thought attained maturity only under the guidance of Islam.

However, after the Christians occupied Spain, there embarked an era of social, political and cultural genocide. Spanish Muslims were expelled from their homeland, or forcibly converted, or killed. Several buildings, especially masjids, were either demolished or converted into churches and cathedrals.

In this post, I take a look at five such masjids — ironically, these masjids survived only because they were converted or transformed into churches. Once again, this roundup is just a small testimony of all that we, as Muslims, have lost. 

1. The Great Masjid of Cordoba

The Great Masjid of Cordoba
The Great Masjid of Cordoba
Photo: Emilio Garcia

The Great Masjid of Cordoba was built between 784 and 987 CE. After the Fall of Cordoba in 1236, it was converted into a Catholic church.

2. Almonaster Masjid

Almonaster Masjid
Almonaster Masjid
Photo: PhillipC

One of the last surviving examples of Spanish rural architecture, Almonaster Masjid was built during the 10th century. During Christian rule, most of its structure was changed to reflect the needs of Christianity rather than Islam.

3. Alcazar of Jerez de la Frontera

Alcazar of Jerez de la Frontera
Alcazar of Jerez de la Frontera
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Alcazar of Jerez de la Frontera was a masjid within a Moorish fortress built in the 11th century by the Almohad rulers of southern Spain. In 1255, it was converted into a church and its minaret was turned into a bell tower.

4. Giralda

Giralda
Giralda
Photo: Ingo Mehling

Giralda is not a complete masjid; it is a 341.5 feet (104.1 meters) minaret of a former masjid. The masjid, like many others, was transformed into a church in 1248, and the Giralda became a bell tower. In 1365, the entire masjid was demolished and a new cathedral was built in its place. The Giralda, however, survived and exists even today.

5. Masjid of Cristo de la Luz

Masjid of Cristo de la Luz
Masjid of Cristo de la Luz
Photo: Jl FillpoC

Formerly known as Masjid Bab al-Mardum, the Masjid of Cristo de la Luz was built in the year 999 CE. It was transformed into a chapel in 1186.

The above list shows how Spanish Muslims were driven out of their own homeland, and all their landmarks and contributions were destroyed or forcibly captured. Unfortunately, outside Spain too, several masjids around the world have suffered the same fate at the hands of terrorists: check out this list of 5 masjids that were destroyed by terror outfits.