During the Dark Ages, Cordoba was a centre for religious tolerance, learning and art. At its heart stands the Mezquita, an incredibly preserved mosque that dates back to 784AD. During the Muslim rule, the Mezquita was the centre of Spain. But when the Christians took over Cordoba in 1523 they turned it into a cathedral, building a church right in the middle of it. The Mezquita is a unique mix of Muslim and Christian architecture, most notable for its giant arches. It also features 856 columns made from jasper, onyx, marble and granite.
The masons who worked on the Mezquita were a mixture of Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Some of them even carved their names into the walls and pillars in an early example of graffiti. The pillars that support the beautiful red and white striped arches represent palm trees, and it's these small touches that really strike you once inside.