You say “Mosque,” I say “Cathedral”…Let´s call the whole thing off

The New York Times has published a very interesting article about a controversy of semantics in relation to Córdoba´s mezquita-catedral (cathedral-mosque). The structure was originally a Muslim temple, but during the Reconquest of Spain the building was modified and consecrated as a cathedral. It appears that a certain sector of the Church takes umbrage to the fact that this monument continues to share a cathedral-cum-mosque billing on local signage, claiming it might confuse people. Well, the fact of the matter is that it is a mosque — at least the majority of the building is — and to deny so would be disingenuous. Yes, the Christians added naves and filled the cavernous interior with their own iconography, but that´s obviously not the mosque-cathedral´s whole story, and it would be brash to snub the first several hundreds of years of its existence. When you put jelly in a doughnut you get a jelly doughnut, not just jelly that happens to be contained within a doughnut.

Furthermore, anyone who has ever lost themselves between the infinity of Arab arches and the impeccable geometry carved into the walls and painted on the floor tiles can tell you that ¨cathedral¨ is one of the last words that come to mind when your senses are being overwhelmed by the mesmerizing Islamic architecture. Claiming that it´s only a cathedral is a deception, although I am confident that any visitor who has made the effort to trek all the way to the south of Spain to see it with their own eyes has probably taken the five minutes necessary to learn a brief background on their destination. You can change the name, but you can´t change the history.


The article:


Some of my photos from La Mezquita and Córdoba:


~ by lincolnbrody on November 6, 2010.

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