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One eye on Mecca – Almonastar la Real mezquita
• The oddly-shaped building was built using the materials from a Visigoth church
IT is one of the few surviving Spanish mosques to have stood the test of time.
Dating from the 10th century, the mezquita in Almonaster la Real sits among the ruins of a castle overlooking the whole area.
The oddly-shaped building was built using the materials from a Visigoth church on the same site that dates from the 5th century.
And the Mihrab – the prayer niche facing Mecca – is the oldest example of its kind in Spain.
After the Christian reconquest the mosque was turned back into a church with the addition of a central axis, a function it has maintained to the present day.
And although it has since been altered and added to the original building is still clearly seen.
Inside, the well-restored interior boasts five naves and numerous classic Moorish arches supporting the ceiling.
Interestingly, its five naves are perpendicular to the qibla wall, a trait that can be found in other contemporary Spanish mosques such as the Great Mosque of Cordoba.
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