In Which Obooki Becomes an Iconoclast

One of the places Obooki found himself in his festive wanderings was the Mesquita in Cordoba. Here are some pictures of it (culled unselectively from Google) – but can you tell me what’s missing from them all?

Mesquita - Cordoba

Mesquita - Cordoba


Yes, that’s right: every single one of these pictures – just like pretty much every single picture taken of the Mesquita at Cordoba on the internet – has carefully angled itself so as to include as little of the Christian desecration of this marvellous building as possible.

What is missing from these photographs are all the dull paintings of religious scenes and all that gaudy Christian bling that Spanish cathedrals are always full of. If only they could have just left the architecture alone, so that all we had was these vistas of colonnades, rather than stick a great Christian altar in the middle and destroy the wondrous sight-line there must once have been. Yet, although no one seems remotely interested in the Christian parts (people liked the Islamic and the Visigothic elements – or even the early non-representational Romano-Hispanic Christian stuff), these seemed the only parts where there was any restoration work going on.


3 thoughts on “In Which Obooki Becomes an Iconoclast

  1. We visited Cordoba many years ago – in the BC years (Before Children years). There is an apocryphal story that even Emperor Charles V commented on the cathedral that something irreplaceable had been torn down to make room for something ordinary.

    I also remember a square close to the mesquita that had a plaque saying (in Spanish, naturally) that this square had been mentioned in the world’s greatest novel. They did not feel it worth mentioning which novel they were referring to.

    I don’t know why it is that Spanish Christian architecture is so unremarkable (as far as I have seen, at any rate). Christian architecture north of the Pyrenees is quite remarkable!

  2. Good, I’m glad Charles V agrees with me. – There’s always the Sagrada Familia, I suppose – and my Dad keeps recommending Toledo.

    The other notable thing about the mesquita in Cordoba is that it hosts the tomb of Luis de Gongora, who, on the basis of the size of his coffin, must have been very small.

  3. The Sagrada is an extremely odd construction. Like three different architectual ideas joined together with plastiscene.

    I like Gaudi’s work but draw the line with that one.

    I work in Portugal at least once a year and pass Salamanca en route from Santander. The Cathedral there looks very impressive from the road.

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