There used to be a mosque at Toledo!

SO again so much written on one of my favorite cities , Toledo in Castilla La Mancha, kingdom of Spain! Ok this is not new , it is really old and as Toledo a masterpiece. I have written plenty of posts on Toledo but just touch briefly on this marvel and its about time I tell you about it.

Let me tell you a bit more on the mosque of Toledo or the Church Cristo de la Luz or a museum today!

The Bab al-Mardum Mosque is an old mosque in the city of Toledo, transformed into the Cristo de la Luz Church, now desacralized and converted into a museum, the Mezquita Cristo de la Luz mosque.  Located near one of the city gates of Puerta de Valmardón , the mosque is one of the most remarkable monuments of Caliphal and Mudejar art in Spain. It first received the name Bab al-Mardum, from the name of the neighboring door, until the reconquest of Toledo by the Christians in 1085 under the command of King Alfonso VI.

Toledo

A century later, it became the property of the knights of the Order of Saint John, who transformed it in 1187 into a chapel dedicated to the Holy Cross but commonly known as the Cristo de la Luz Church. According to legend, the horse of Cid Campeador is at the origin. When King Alfonso VI made his triumphal entry into Toledo after his reconquest, the Cid horse would have knelt before the mosque, refusing to go further, in an act of devotion to a Christ lit by a lamp (Christo de la Luz means Christ of light in Spanish) but hidden behind a partition for the duration of Arab domination. A small white stone inserted in the pavement marks the location of the prodigy!

An inscription dates the construction to 999. At that time, the district was occupied by notable Moslems living in sumptuous palaces. The mosque was particularly remarkable for the refinement of its architecture and its independent and prominent location. It is linked to a large family of ulemas or scholars, but it is not known if it belonged to them or if they donated it to the city. The mosque may also have served as a school or mausoleum.

The nine spaces in which its interior is divided remain the testimonies of the carving of a Christ called de la Luz, currently in the Museum of Santa Cruz and of a missing image of the Virgin de la Luz (of Light). Its Visigothic capitals supporting horseshoe arches and the 12C Romanesque-Mudejar head are a perfect example of how different cultures have influenced each other in the city.

The Cristo de la Luz monument is a masterpiece of the architectural style that flourished during the Caliphate of Cordoba. During its transformation into a Christian chapel in 1187, an apse was added while respecting the original style. The plan of the mosque is quite original: a square 8 meters long, surmounted by nine small cupolas supported by horseshoe arches resting on four central pillars. The central dome is high and pierced with bays, allowing light to enter the building. The opening onto the street is done by three overhanging arches, and you can notice the presence of a decoration of geometric patterns and Kufic inscriptions made by playing on the arrangement of the bricks. A masterpiece of architecture and loving history.

Toledo

There are several webpages that tells you more and worth reading and visiting of course , these are

Culture webpage of Castilla La Mancha region on the mosque church museum

Tourism webpage on pre roman art in Toledo on the mosque church museum

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on the mezquita Cristo de la Luz

Tourist office of Toledo on the museum mosque church

And you have it all for a wonderful visit to this unique spot in Toledo, the city of cultures and gorgeous architectures of all cultures. A must to visit while in Toledo me think. Hope you enjoy the tour of the Mezquita Church Museum Cristo de la Luz

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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