Córdoba, capital of its province of the same name, is certainly one of Andalucía’s more mysterious provincial capitals. Not served by an international airport and away from the touristy coastline means that it has retained its strong identity. Admittedly Spain’s high speed AVE train network now provides swift, luxurious services from Madrid and Malaga, yet the city still seems uncompromisingly Andalusian, not over run with visitors or English language signs.
It’s a fascinating place and very photogenic. Take forexample the image above; it’s one of the many poetic and cryptic graffit that have been appearing on delapidated walls throughout the old town over the last few years. No one knows who places them, but the locals refer to the culprit as the Street Pirate of Córdoba (callejero pirata de Córdoba). There’s a great blog enty on this on Liz’s blog here.
There’s of course the stunning mosque (photos of which you an see on previous posts of mine about Cordoba), the newly renovated Roman bridge, and the labyrinthine old town.
It’s also a great city for eating. Córdoba recently has built a fine reputation for cuisine, both traditional and contemporary, offered by a myriad of independent eateries that also deliver great service. The secret is to stay away from the tourist traps found within a stone’s throw of the great mosque, and instead head deeper into old town.
Some bar restaurants, like the trendy, modern Galician kitchen of the ‘Blanco Enea’ seek inspiration from outside Andalucía, and bring a fresh twist to classic dishes.
Others, like the famous ‘Bodegas Campos’ are Cordobés through-and-through. The long menu offers everything from the summertime favourite of ‘Salmorejo’, the local thick, cold tomato soup; to cured hams; and the Córdoba tapa, the ‘Flamenquín’, a pork and ham fritter.
There is a lso the fascinating Restaurant ‘Casa Mazal’, (Hebrew for House of Fortune), described as a ‘Sephardic Jewish & Andalusi Kitchen’, the ‘Casa Mazal’ Restaurant promised a menu inspired by Córdoba’s multi-cultural history that combines Arab and Jewish cuisine with Andalusian, Mediterranean styles. Food is probably one of the great ways to understand Córdoba, and its complex mix of Roman, Arab, Jewish and Christian elements. This World Heritage Site was once a Roman capital, and later an Arab capital, as well as becoming a hub for Christian and Jewish culture.