When first built in the 10th century, the Mezquita was (and still remains) one of the largest mosques in the world - at 24,000m2, it accommodated 10,000 worshippers, being second only to Mecca as a pilgrimage site. The building's existing 865 columns (originally 1293, before the cathedral arrived) were recycled from various sources, including the Visigothic basilica over which the mosque was built (look out for their carved capitals), as well as Roman temples. Hence the pillars' differing materials and heights - the taller ones were sunk into the floor, while the shorter ones had square columns added to create the distinctive red-and-white striped horseshoe-shaped arches. These sit below the second row of semicircular arches, to raise the height of the ceiling - an improvised, innovative and ingenious architectural style which produced one of Spain's oldest and most recognisable monuments.
- Fact 1 - None of the (pilfered) pillars used to build Mezquita were the same height, which presented a technical challenge to its architects.
- Fact 2 - Torture and leather- not a kinky movie, but a taste of a couple of less well-known Cordoba museums
- Fact 3 - Sentimental and chocolate-boxy or lyrical and sensuous? Cordoba's most famous artist still provokes debate
- Fact 4 - Poets, philosophers and men of great learning - Cordoba produced some of history's greatest scholars
- Fact 5 - A historic square with a new flamenco centre in a medieval inn