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Spain
Introduction   
 
 
The prime attraction of Cordoba in Andalucia, Spain is La Mesquita, also known as the Great Mosque. With architecture that has flavors of Egyptian, Syrian, Roman and Gothic styles, Cordoba's Mesquita attracts about 1.5 million visitors annually and claims to be the third largest worship place in the world. The mosque has not only borne several modifications to its original structure over the years, it has also been a witness to changes and fusion of both the Occident and Caliphate in Cordoba. The mosque is most famous for its white and red arches that rest on 856 columns. 
 
Around 785 A.D, Abd al-Rahman I decided to construct a mosque and it went for almost 200 years. Then somewhere between 833 A.D and 852 A.D, Abd al-Rahman II gave orders for enlargement of the mosque. Around 962 A.D, successor to the Caliphate, Abd al-Rahman III, led further reforms which included construction of a new minaret. However, a major expansion of the mosque – addition of a courtyard consisting of orange trees and outer naves - was initiated by Al-Mansur in 987 A.D. 
 
In the 13th century when King Ferdinand III captured Cordoba, Christian rule triumphed. Instead of destroying the mosque, the rulers decided to build a cathedral in the centre of the mosque's archways, thus providing the world with an imposing church-mosque structure. The cathedral including its domes and baroque vaults is a fine example of 16th and 17th century Renaissance architecture. In 1984, UNESCO declared Mesquita a World Heritage Site.

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