Cristo de la Luz Restoration
Toledo, Spain
Toledo is one of the most important cities in Spain, from an historical, artistic and architectural point of view. Toledo was the capital of the Spanish Visigothic kingdom from 554 AD until the Moorish conquest in 711 AD. The Old City still shelters behind the ramparts which were built, on Roman ruins, by King Wamba the Goth and then strengthened and enlarged by Arabs and Christians alike. For three centuries Toledo was incorporated into the Emirate of Cordova only regaining its independence in 1012 AD. In cultural terms, Toledos most brilliant period was in the Middle Ages, when the civilisations of East and West - Moorish, Jewish, and Christian -coexisted there, to produce the distinctive Mudejar style of art and architecture, in which the dominant influence remains Islamic. The Ermita del Cristo de la Luz, or Bab al-Mardum Mosque, lies just inside the line of the Visigothic Walls. The site is bounded by two gateways: the Puerta del Sol, a Mudejar fortification of the 14th Century with twin towers, and the smaller Arco del Cristo, dating probably from the Visigothic era. Between these two gates an esplanade dominates the lower town and gives admirable views of the countryside beyond.

The Bab al-Mardum Mosque dates from the year 1000 AD, according to the foundation inscription on the facade. It was converted into a Church after the Christian conquest, and a brick apse was added later in the Mudejar style. The original rectangular, almost square, mosque survives intact, except for the qibla wall, now replaced by a doorway. It is constructed in baked brick, stone and plaster. There were probably three entrances in each of the other walls, although those flanking the mihrab are now sealed. The surviving Ummayyad entrances have horseshoe or lobed arches, and the west façade carries blind intersecting horseshoe arches and blind arcading in two registers - all details which form part of the decorative repertoire of Ummayyad Cordova. Nine small domes rest inside on borrowed Visigothic columns.

The restoration project consisted principally in opening up access to the esplanade, grading and planting the immediate surroundings of the mosque and establishing a garden on the terrace between the two. New retaining walls and railings were created along the street and new access steps to the esplanade beside the Arco del Cristo.

Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture
Toledo, Spain
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Associated Names
Associated Collections
c. 1000, restored 1974
Style Periods
2,966.40 m²
Variant Names
Bab-al-Mardum Mosque
Mosque of Bab Mardum
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