The modern obsession with open floor plans should not cause us to forget the power of the hypostyle hall. Since ancient times, the rhythms and patterns intrinsic to these column-filled spaces have been equated with the divine. Adding to the effect, columns in the Mosque-Cathredral of Cordoba’s prayer hall are topped with tiers of arches that have alternating red and white voussoirs. A domed prayer niche, decorated with gold and glass, is the culmination of the prayer hall.
Other elements common to mosque architecture include a courtyard with fountain, covered walkway and minaret (which is now enclosed in a bell tower). The bell tower is one of many Christian architectural elements; in the 1200s, conquering Christian forces converted the mosque into a cathedral. In the 1500’s an architecturally contrasting Renaissance cathedral nave was constructed in the center of the expansive structure.