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re; for, between Bagdad and the Pillars of Hercules, nothing to be compared to it is to be found.
Abderrahman I. began its construction in 786, and his two successors enriched and finished it. It is one of the largest churches in the world, five hundred and thirty-four feet long and three hundred and eighty-seven feet six inches wide, built of a fine stone, and forming nineteen naves, supported by eight hundred and fifty columns.
The coup d'oeil, on entering, is magnificent.
Nothing but St. Peter's equals it; not even the vast Gothic churches of the North, or the Cathedral of Milan; besides that it has the charm of entire novelty in its form, style, and tone.
In all these it is still essentially and purely Arabic.
The beauty of its marbles, the curious mixture of the Eastern, the Western, and the Northern styles in its architecture,—which has confounded the inquiries of the learned as to the origin of the style called Gothic,—and the minute delicacy and graceful lightness of its