Door of the Deans
The other entrance through which we can access the inside of the Orange tree courtyard on its western side is, apart from the Side door of the Milk, the Door of the Deans. The origins of this old portico can be traced back to the Primitive Aljama Mosque of Córdoba, built by Abd al-Rahman I at the end of the 8th century.
The truth is that there is little preserved of what it once was, mainly due to the numerous remodelling works carried out. However, we can see that its design is very typical of Muslim constructions, where the lintelled alcove at the entrance is crowned by a blind horseshoe arch, framed by an alfiz, and the whole ensemble is in turn crowned by a stone roof supported by modillions. However, the most interesting thing is that the interior part of the door has been preserved, the one which opens to the Orange tree courtyard. Here the layout is very different to the outside, and, as Pedro Marfil said, it has: "…a vaulted lintel with a blind arch on top, which is not semicircular, but whose curve is extended with a carving on the lintel to pretend a horseshoe. Its voussoirs alternate stone and brick. As an archaic feature of this door, the horseshoe is not very widely open…”.
Since Christian times, it has been known as Door of the Deans. The Dean is the person holding the dignity of the Church, and his main function is to chair the Cathedral Chapter when the Bishop is absent. Initially, the figure of Dean in our city was a relevant one, due, in other aspects, to the fact that his interventions were very frequent, since bishops needed to be constantly away. They used to travel to the Court quite often and they used to attend all kinds of events organised by the Crown.
In ancient times, when a Dean took on this responsibility, he gained access to the Cathedral through this door, and before it, he waited for the members of the Cathedral Chapter, who, in a solemn procession, came to meet him and make him part of the procession, thus leading him until the Main Altar and the Choir, where he was ultimately invested as new Dean of the Mosque-Cathedral. This is the reason why this ancient access is known as Door of the Deans.
If you are not sure what to do in Córdoba, we recommend you visit the Mosque-Cathedral hiring one of our guided tour. We will explain there a special chapter dedicated to the Door of the Deans. Choose to do high quality sightseeing with qualified staff. Do not hesitate, ArtenCórdoba is the best option.