In the middle ages, Córdoba was the capital of the Muslim empire of the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa, so it is little wonder that today upon visiting the city one is confronted by some impressive architecture.
At the heart of the city is the ‘The Great Mosque of Córdoba’, which remains one of the largest mosque buildings outside the Arab world. Started in the eighth century, the Mosque was to continue to be of international significance for well over three hundred years.
To view a photo album of Cordoba Capital, click here.
When the city was finally recaptured by the Spanish Christian Monarchs, the Mosque was changed into a cathedral, today called the ‘Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption’.
Visiting this World Heritage Site is an unforgettable experience. One walks under hundreds of arches made from jaspar, onyx, granite and marble and then, suddenly, almost seamlessly, the huge structure morphs into a classic, renaissance Christian cathedral nave, which was constructed in the very heart of this Muslim mosque. The detailing of both the cathedral and mosque are breathtaking and one should really allow plenty of time to experience this unique site.
The list of notable historic buildings in Córdoba is almost endless, with convents, churches and romantic towers, but it is fair to say that any visit should include the ‘Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos’. It is a thirteenth century Palace built on the site of a Moorish fortress and includes beautiful Moorish gardens. In addition, travel some five kilometres from the city to the remains of a Arab capital, ‘Medina Azahara’ which is a magical place to explore in the warm light of a September afternoon.
Like so many cities in Andalucía, the Romans left their mark before the Moors. One of the most iconic views of Córdoba is from the banks of the Guadalquivir River, looking along the monumental Roman bridge towards the Mediaeval and renaissance city architecture. Since the third century, the Romans too made Cordoba a provincial capital, leaving a legacy across the city, including a Roman Mausoleum, and the impressive Corinthian Columns in the city centre, which are what remains of a major Roman Temple.
Getting around Córdoba is remarkably easy, as not only is there a good bus service, but there are innovative modes of transport available for visitors, including electric cars with GPS navigation; rental bicycles; and even Segways.
Córdoba offers an authentic flavour of Andalucía. Not only with its quintessential narrow cobbled streets and geranium filled patios and squares, but also with its food reflecting a rich and diverse culture. Amongst the tapas, one finds ‘Salmorejo’, regional twist on the classic Andalusian gazpacho, but more robust and thickened with plenty of bread and served with hardboiled egg and serrano ham on top. The locals are also mad for flamenquínes, which are long fried snacks of rolled ham and pork, often with cheese.
For more sophisticated dishes, head for the restaurants on Córdoba’s main square of Plaza de la Corredera, or in the Jewish quarter, where one can also find one of Spain’s few remaining Synagogues, dating back to the fourteenth century.
The centre truly comes alive during the different festivals held throughout the year. Like all Spanish towns, Córdoba has an annual ‘feria’, and here it is towards the end of May. This is a week of serious partying and a time to be immersed in the warm welcome of this ancient city.
For additional information and my blog entries on Cordoba Province click on the category in the list in the blog’s sidebar or click here
Below I list a few of my favourite hotels in the province. I update this list from time to time. Also, you can read my reviews of some properties on this blog and also on TripAdvisor, where I am a Senior Contributor – (AndyInAndalucia).
Hotel Palacio de Bailio – Cordoba