I saw this program in a German television channel and it made me sit up, admiring and extolling its uniqueness. Cordoba city has four spring festivals during the month of May and this one is worth sharing with you. Yes, I now there are many of you who are aware of it and some may have even been there to witness the beautiful creations; however, I know there are many of us who were not aware of such intrinsic cultural sides of far-flung countries.Spain is probably famous for other things than just flowers, but the Patio Contests held in Cordoba since 1918 speaks volumes about the creative nature of the locals.
Stone columns adorned with fresh green leaves and the branches heavy with blossoms is so “pregnantly” spring, full of promises anew
The festival commences from the 2nd of May and continues till mid-May and is open to all and sundry. It is said that the beauty comes alive when the sun sets and the courtyards are lit up enticingly from secret corners.From the Roman times most of the traditional houses in Cordoba had central courtyards to beat the heat and keep the house cool in summer. Home owners planted flowering plants and other indoor plants in these courtyards so watering them helped cool the house interiors as well. People started getting more creative and did up their courtyards in unique and individual designs; soon this creativity, which lasted for ten days, became a city festival.Presently the Cordoba City Hall sponsors the Patio Contests in May and visitors get to choose the best of the numerous patios in the city. These patios or courtyards have planted flowers of different hues hanging from many different angles or arranged artistically on the ground. You might get a peek of a traditional window peeping out between white and pink jasmines or a sparkling mirror placed in an advantageous position to double the marvelous effects.
Cordoba city has four spring festivals during the month of May and this one is worth sharing with you
The patio decorations are not just flowers and plants; they also include cleverly placed artifacts of ceramics, stone mosaics and water features which add romance to the presentations. Stone columns adorned with fresh green leaves and the branches heavy with blossoms is so “pregnantly” spring, full of promises anew. And how can one forget the scents and aromas of the collection of plants in each patio, the very thought can bring the wafting aroma to you, wherever you are.I have seen flower shows and beautifully manicured gardens with layers of exotic flowers in unique designs. Bonsai gardens and ethereal Japanese gardens are also so unique to behold and wonder about the gardener’s creative skills.
Nevertheless, these personal home patios in Cordoba seem special because of the homeowners’ love for flowers, spring, their aesthetic skills and the willingness to freely share their artwork with everyone
Nevertheless, these personal home patios in Cordoba seem special because of the homeowners’ love for flowers, spring, their aesthetic skills and the willingness to freely share their artwork with everyone.
To see where Christianity and Islam collided and fused, go to Cordoba, Spain, an ancient city in Andalucia, Spain’s southernmost province, situated some 75 miles (121 km) northeast of Seville. For here, in Cordoba, Romans, Goths, Jews, Moors and Christians triumphed and succumbed in succession, molding the city in their own image, to offer up a surprising amalgam of cultures and religions, and a couple of architectural gems besides.And for first-time visitors to this colorful, sun-drenched Spanish city, here are its top attractions.1.
The museum is open daily, and there is an admission fee of 2
La MezquitaIf Cordoba is famous for one thing, it is its mosque-cum-cathedral, La Mezquita. This is among the largest mosques in the world, and singularly the most astonishing with its mad mix of Islamic, Mudejar, Renaissance and Baroque influences. Begun in 784 AD and built on the site of a Visigoth church, which in turn was built on the site of a Roman temple, the original mosque was embellished and added to over the centuries; until in the 13th century, when Christians conquered the city and consecrated the mosque to be a Christian cathedral, a chapel was added, followed in 1523 by a Christian cathedral built inside the original mosque. While the exterior of the mosque/cathedral may appear nondescript, the interior is deeply mesmerizing, with more than 800 columns with Roman capitals and horseshoe arches, patterned in yellow and red, one atop another, in a petrified forest that literally saturates a couple of dozen naves. La Mezquita is open to the public from April until June, daily except Sunday; admission fee is 6.50 euros.2.
For here, in Cordoba, Romans, Goths, Jews, Moors and Christians triumphed and succumbed in succession, molding the city in their own image, to offer up a surprising amalgam of cultures and religions, and a couple of architectural gems besides
La Alcazar de los Reyes ChristianosIn another example of the clash of Christianity and Islam, La Alcazar de los Reyes Christianos, a Gothic fortress cum royal residence, stands atop a Muslim castle, no less. The Alcazar was begun in 1327 under Alfonso XI, and was later on the residence of Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabel who, it is claimed, saw Christopher Columbus off on his trip to the New World from there. From the battlements of the fortress, which overlook the Guadalquivir, there are good views of Puente Romano, the Roman Bridge built by Emperor Augustus. The fortress, located at Campo Santo de los Martires, is open daily. Admission fee: 2 euros.3.
La MezquitaIf Cordoba is famous for one thing, it is its mosque-cum-cathedral, La Mezquita
Cordoba’s SynagogueCordoba’s Synagogue, representing a Mudejar work that dates from 1315, is the last of its kind in existence in southern Spain. Of particular interest here are the floral motifs and epigraphs on the interior walls that reference psalms and the Song of Songs. The synagogue is open daily.4. La Casa AndalusiLa Casa Andalusi, located at Judios 12, is a showcase of the elegant living quarters of Al-Andalus. Here you can visit an ivory-colored patio with a pebbled mosaic floor and also a basement with traces of the Visigothic era. There is a room dedicated entirely to the Moorish culture at the casa as well, displaying Arabic coins, clothing and artworks, and an early-day printing press that was used to print the Koran during that period. The museum is open daily, and there is an admission fee of 2.50 euros per person.5. Museo ArqueologicoIn eight fully-stocked rooms on two levels, the Museo Arqueologico exhibits prehistoric and Roman-era artifacts such as coins, sculptures and mosaics, as well as 4th- and 8th-century Visigothic and Muslim relics. The museum is located at Plaza Jeronimo Paez 7, and open daily, except Monday. Museum admission is 1.50 euro each.
Baljeet Sangwan is a globetrotter, travel editor and travel writer who has published 12 travel guidebooks. He is a co-publisher at iChiefTravel and a contributor to the Cordoba, Spain and Sevilla (Seville), Spain travel guides.
A city of Andalusia, Cordoba is filled with marvelous works of architecture. Many of the heritage buildings are found in Cordoba. Apart from historical buildings, the city has many parks and museums which attract large number of tourists all through the year. Now let us go around this city.
The Mosque is an outstanding example of Roman and Visigoth architecture
Brief history:The earliest human presence in this area according to experts can be traced to 32000 BC. The Romans, Moors and Christians left their indelible impression on the life of people here. Some of the religious practices followed by these ancient civilizations are practiced even to this day.How to reach?It is about one hour drive from Malaga Airport. The place is very well connected by road from Zaragosa, Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga. Fast train services are also available from these cities.Boarding and lodging:There are plenty of villas and apartments where the tourist can stay comfortably.
The mosque of Cordoba which was constructed during the period of Ummayad civilization and later converted into a Cathedral is one of the main attractions of this city
Accommodation is available to suit all categories of tourists. There are plenty of hotels, restaurants and bars which provide most delicious food.Places of interest:Tour operators are of the opinion that at least about three to four days are required to visit all the major tourist spots in Cordoba. The mosque of Cordoba which was constructed during the period of Ummayad civilization and later converted into a Cathedral is one of the main attractions of this city. The Mosque is an outstanding example of Roman and Visigoth architecture. The city has many churches of fame like the Church of San Agustin, Church of San Miguel, Church of San Pedro, San Andres church to name a few. Apart from this, there are many monasteries.
Tourists have a wide range of museums to visit in Cordoba
Tourists are advised to visit Walcha cave which is believed to have been built in 1489. Some of the outstanding works carried out during Roman Empire like Roman Bridge, Roman Mausoleum and Roman temple are other places of interest in Cordoba. Tourists have a wide range of museums to visit in Cordoba. Some of the popular museums are Dioceses Museum, Three culture museum, Bull fighting museum, Julio Romeo de museum and Archeological and Ethnological museumThere are plenty of parks like Park of Miraflores, Park Cruz Conde, Garden of Agriculture, Garden of the victory and Garden of the Conde de Vallellano.Festivals:May festival is one of the most popular festivals of Cordoba. Patios festival is celebrated during this period. Private people can compete by decorating the patios. Many people from far and wide take part in this festival.
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Due to its importance as the highest navigable point on the River Guadalquivir, Cordoba became a city of great importance. Founded by the Romans, the city boasts a rich historical and cultural heritage. It was the birthplace of three famous philosophers – the Roman Stoic Seneca, the Muslim Averroes, and the Jewish Maimonides – as well as the Roman poet Lucan and several modern flamenco artists including Paco Peña, Vicente Amigo and Joaquín Cortés.The Muslims started constructing the World famous Mezquita over 1200 years ago, it was converted into a cathedral in the 14th century and today it is an active church and a major tourist attraction.
Its great monuments, and of course the world-famous Mezquita, the Moorish mosque and museums are a delight to visit
To the west of the Mezquita’s towering walls, lies the old Jewish quarter, widely regarded as being the heart of Cordoba. A stroll around this area gives an impression of moving through history. With a little imagination, it wouldn’t be difficult to envisage yourself back in the 10th century, when Cordoba was one of the world’s greatest cities. Silversmiths still ply their trade in cobbled streets that are too narrow to allow access for cars. Once the capital of Spain, the city is now a World Heritage Site, as declared by UNESCO in 1984.The Alcazar, built in 1328 by the Christians, is another one of the city’s riches. The gardens here are particularly impressive, and though originating from the rule of the Christian Kings, the ponds and fountains belie their Moorish influences.
It was the birthplace of three famous philosophers – the Roman Stoic Seneca, the Muslim Averroes, and the Jewish Maimonides – as well as the Roman poet Lucan and several modern flamenco artists including Paco Peña, Vicente Amigo and Joaquín Cortés
The Episcopal Palace sits on a site once occupied by a Muslim Alacazar. The building was reformed during the Baroque period, and was recently adopted as the home of the Diocesan Museum. Close to the museum, lies the Exhibition Palace, which once housed the Church of San Jacinto and the Hospital of San Sebastian. The impressive construction features a portico that glitters amongst Cordoba’s Gothic jewels.The ruins of Medina-Azahara lie 8 kilometres from the city. Originally built by the caliph Abdul Rahman as a new residential town, this site was once the largest town in the region.
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It took 10,000 workers, 25 years to construct, using 4,300 columns from older buildings round the Mediterranean. The Alcazar Califal stood high above the administrative district, with parks and gardens. The town itself was positioned on flat land. History tells us of the extraordinary beauty of the Throne Hall and the Golden Salon, both rich with ebony, ivory, marble, gold and precious stones. In the centre was a bowl filled with mercury, designed to reflect the rays of the sun. Sadly, this monumental structure survived a mere 74 years, before it was conquered by the Berberes and stripped of its artwork, much of which reappeared in the palaces of Cordoba. The Medina-Azahara was almost forgotten, but in 1910, archaeologists began to excavate the site.Over 2,000 years of history are held with in this city. Different cultures and religions – Jews, Muslims and Christians lived peacefully together, with many important philosophers, scientists and artists living in the city over the years. Cordoba’s cultural background provides one of the most interesting destinations in Europe. Its great monuments, and of course the world-famous Mezquita, the Moorish mosque and museums are a delight to visit. In the 11th century Cordoba was the capital of the western world, it has been estimated that in the tenth century it had up to 500,000 inhabitants, making it the largest city in Europe and even in the world.The city has occasionally had the highest maximum temperatures in Europe, exceeding 40 °C in the summer months. Rain is generated by storms from the west that occur more often in December through February, typical of Mediterranean climates.Road links to the city are excellent, though parking can sometimes prove difficult as in any large city. The problem is exacerbated by the nature of the old city. The AVE high speed train connects the city to Madrid and Seville, making it a viable day trip destination. From Madrid the train ride is about one and one half hours (one way).Today, Cordoba is Spain’s 10th largest city, a very lively town in the best Andalusian tradition, a town of Flamenco and bullfighting, and certainly one of the most attractive destinations in Southern Spain. It has more than just churches, palaces, monuments and museums, spend a day or two wandering its tiny streets and relaxing in its beautiful little squares, cafe’s and restaurants, and you won’t be disappointed.
Alan Liptrot writes for http://www.yourholidayrentals.com providing worldwide holiday accommodation. The original article, along with other interesting articles can be found at http://www.yourholidayrentals.com/inspiration/
Once an important capital in the whole of Europe in the 11th century, Cordoba is still as surprising and impressive as it was years ago. This town has a mix of cultures: Christians, Muslims and Jews used to live peacefully here. It was home to different philosophers, artists, and scientists making it of great importance.The famous Moorish mosque Mesquita happens to be one of the most interesting aspects you will find during your visit.
There is also a Museum of Arts in this town which contains a sculpture and painting collection
This mosque has gained world fame and people come from all the corners of the world to see it. It also has a museum that is very interesting. Cordoba is also famous because of the bullfighting and Flamenco Andalusia traditions. This makes it a very hot tourist destination on Spain’s Southern side.What to see in CordobaWhen in this town, you cannot afford to miss taking a look at the great Mosque and Cathedral found here. This monument occupies a large portion of land and happened to be the world’s third biggest. This beautiful monument is Spain’s most beautiful original building.The Archiepiscopal Palais preserves the Gothic epoch and holds the great historical value of the Taifas. The Roman Bridge Puente Romano has a monument that completes its beauty.
The Roman Bridge Puente Romano has a monument that completes its beauty
This monument, San Rafael, is situated at the bridge’s centre.Cordoba has an Archaeological Museum inside a Renaissance palace that is a must to visit. It has treasures of Roman and Arabic origin that are really amazing. There is also a Museum of Arts in this town which contains a sculpture and painting collection.
Art lovers will be mesmerized by the works exhibited here
Art lovers will be mesmerized by the works exhibited here.Another museum worth visiting is the Museum of Julio Romero de Torres. This particular museum is a dedication to Julio the painter who did the famous picture, Woman from Cordoba. The Palace of Viana museum has porcelains, tapestries, ceramics, paintings and furniture that are quite extraordinary. This museum also has beautiful gardens completing its wondrous look.Plaza de las Tendillas and Plaza de la Corredera, which are famous for the guitar sounding clock and bullfights respectively, are worth checking out to add spice to your tour. Cordoba is also home to Roman ruins that are of great historical value. These include Torre de la Malmuerta Tower and a Roman Temple.The above are some of the things that attract tourists to this region and are worth visiting even by first timers. Apart from enjoying your time here, you will also learn a lot about Spain’s history.
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Welcome to the stunning southern Spanish region of Andalusia. It is one of the Iberian Peninsula’s most culturally rich and tourist-famous parts of the area. The city of Cordoba is one of largest cities within the Andalusian region, and therefore, it contains the largest airport serving the entire region.Cordoba City Centre hotels come in an awesome variety of prices and styles.
Make sure passports or national ID’s are brought shopping with you!Eating:It is almost impossible to identify one specific restaurant area over another in the city centre of Cordoba
Of course, there are the more traditional hotels in the city, but they are none the less cheaper than other cities around the world.When it comes to the shopping and dining scene in downtown Cordoba, the following information will give tourists that little extra detail to ease their worrying.Shopping:Even though Cordoba is well known for its stunning whitewashed buildings, squares and ancient landmarks, tourists will have to pry themselves away from the shopping scene first before they can see these sites. The city centre is home to a spectacular range of department stores, specialty shops and boutique stores for tourists to explore. When it comes to local merchandise, visitors can find just about anything throughout the city centre. However, historical traders create and sell there own beautiful ceramics and leather goods, which are famous in the city.There are several wonderful areas for tourists to go shopping.
Eating is a massive part of the local culture, and the food is among the most unique cuisine in all of the Iberian peninsular
The Plaza de las Tendillas is one of the most famous places. It is located along the Conde de Gondomar and Jose Cruz Conde. The Jewish quarter in Torrijos is great for souvenir type shopping. El Corte Ingles is one of the largest department stores in Spain, and one of the chains is found along Ronda de los Tejares. Visitors can get almost anything here.Shopping centres and stores are generally open around 10:00 until 21:00 everyday.
When it comes to local merchandise, visitors can find just about anything throughout the city centre
However, most local boutique stores and street side stores are only open between 10:00 and 13:30, then reopen again at around 17:30 for a few hours. The siesta is an important part of traditional Spanish culture.Just a reminder, even though the city of Cordoba permits the use of credit cards for most payments when shopping, it is customary for shoppers to produce a form of identification prior to payment. Make sure passports or national ID’s are brought shopping with you!Eating:It is almost impossible to identify one specific restaurant area over another in the city centre of Cordoba. There is just too many places to choose from that will simply delight. Eating is a massive part of the local culture, and the food is among the most unique cuisine in all of the Iberian peninsular. Of course, the Moors left a lasting legacy for food in the city, particularly with the use of olive oil within local cooking. Today, tourists will be hard pressed to find a meal that doesn’t use olive oil when cooking.The restaurants around the city boast a range of famous dishes. Most restaurants are traditional Spanish, Andalucian, North African or from somewhere in the Mediterranean. Each restaurant contains various dishes that should be tried, and cannot be matched anywhere else in the world. Those travellers that enjoy eating fish will feel in their element when they visit Cordoba. Even though the city is no where near the coast, seafood is still quite popular. The food is known for its colour, as chefs tend to use bright ingredients to liven things up a little, including oranges, peppers, pumpkin, grapes and other radiant items.Paella is one of the most widely eaten food in the downtown area. It is a simple rice, veggies and meat dish with amazing results. Gazpucho, morcilla and calamares fritos are also fantastic options for tourists who decide to dine out in the city.
Lek Boonlert is an editor and content reviewer at DirectRooms and is responsible for all Cordoba City Centre Hotels content.
Cordoba is a very old city that predates back to many thousands of years ago, before the birth of Christ. Ancient remains of a Neanderthal Man have been discovered here. The foundation of the city was increased when the heavily decorated Roman consul Marcus Claudius Marcellus founded a colony alongside the Iberian settlement that had existed there. Cordoba later became Europe’s largest city under the rule of the Moors and was then considered the “Mecca of the West”.
Include in that the Palace of Viana and you have history that is tactile, touchable
Besides being a magnificent city that looks beautiful alongside the Guadalquivir River by day or night. It also has its agricultural farming with orchards and olive groves breaking urban stretches.A visit to the mountainous areas of the Sierra de Hornachuelos, the Sierras de Cardena and the Montoro Nature Reserves are a consideration not to be missed. There are monuments that have infused Cordoba with its special cultural quality such as: the Mezquita – the Great Mosque; the archeological site at Medina-Azahara; the Juderia – the Jewish Quarter and let’s not forget the crossing over the Roman Bridge to visit the Moorish Waterwheels. Cordoba is abound with monuments of significant history. There are also three museums of significant worth that can detail your cultural visit. Include in that the Palace of Viana and you have history that is tactile, touchable.There are a wide variety of restaurants and other eating establishments that offer the true taste of the region: cured ham, stewed bull’s tail and “Salmorejo” (regional gazpacho soup).
The foundation of the city was increased when the heavily decorated Roman consul Marcus Claudius Marcellus founded a colony alongside the Iberian settlement that had existed there
There are others too that offer international cuisine using local produce such as olive oil, almonds and local wine on the Montilla-Moriles Wine Route. Whatever you choose the gastronomic delights are sure to be savoured.Flight transfers from Malaga to Cordoba are readily available. Taxis and Shuttle services are available but the distance will make this very expensive. Using the train is considerably cheaper.
There are also three museums of significant worth that can detail your cultural visit
Car hire is a good option too and it may be preferable to rent the car from Cordoba itself instead of the airport. When booking your flight tickets consider these options and ask your agent to tailor these into your arrangements.
The Author writes for Holiday Home Rentals who have a selection of Villas in Cordoba and Apartments in Cordoba which can be rented direct from their owners.
Cordoba is one of the ancient cities in the Andalusia region of Spain. This city lies on the southern most part of Spain about 75 miles north of Seville. This is a historic city having a rich and long history running from the early 12th Century. This is a place which has seen the influence of Romans, Goths, Jews, Moors and Christians who have contributed to the cultural and historical influence of the town.
This city lies on the southern most part of Spain about 75 miles north of Seville
Today Cordoba is one of the popular tourist destinations in Europe and many thousands of visitors come here to enjoy the city and its rich cultural and artistic heritage.Cordoba has many attractions in and around the city and a visitor to this city will be provided with all the modern facilities required by him for a comfortable stay in the city. The city has many ways of traveling within and out of city so that you can easily move from one place to other to have hassle free visits to some of the most important places in the city. The La Mezquita is an important place to be visited and it is a very important landmark in the city.It is rare to find a landmark like the La Mezquita. It is the mosque- cum- cathedral situated at this place. This is one of the unique places of worship in the world. It has one of the largest mosques in the world and at the same time has a cathedral within it.
This place has a long history extending back from the year 784AD and now it is one of the unique places where Muslims and Christians come together to offer prayers here
This is built with influence of Islamic, Mudejar, Renaissance, Baroque influences. This place has a long history extending back from the year 784AD and now it is one of the unique places where Muslims and Christians come together to offer prayers here. The architecture of the Mosque/ Cathedral is so mesmerizing that you will be able to imagine the splendor and richness of the times when the buildings were built and added to the main structure.The next important place for a visitor is the La Alcazar de los Reyes Christianos and this is also a place where Christianity had clashes with Islam. This is an important historically as this Gothic fortress has been a royal residence for centuries.
It is the mosque- cum- cathedral situated at this place
Alfonso XI built the Alcazar in 1327 and later additions were made periodically. This Fortress that stands on a Muslim Castle has been the royal abode of Ferdinand and Isabel. The view from the fortress is breathtaking and can be a memorable site at the night times.Yet another religious place of interest is the Cordoba’s Synagogue that dates back to the year 1315 and is a grand representation of the Mudegjar work. This is the last synagogue in existence in southern Spain. This landmark is special due to its grand floral and other motifs placed inside the building and it will be a treasure for anyone who loves art.For those who love history and art the next place of interest is the La Casa Andalusia and this museum is special in many respects. This is located at Judios and it is a showcase for showing the living style and place of abode of Al-Andalus. Here you can see many arts and artifacts completely dedicated to the Moorish culture with many coins, clothing and art works of Arabians of that age. You can also see the printing press used by Arabians to print the Koran during that time. Thus Cordoba gives a glimpse of its past glory and you will not forget the wonderful experience of visiting this city so easily.
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If you’re tired of traveling to the same spots year after year, why not broaden your horizons to include off-the-beat places? One such spot is the magnificent city of Cordoba, Spain.Cordoba is located in the southern section of Spain, in the Andalusia part of the country. Getting there is not that difficult.
Simply hop aboard public transportation or rent a car
There are fast, modern trains that you can take from most cities in Spain that have international airports, such as in Madrid or Seville. In fact, most holy land tours include Cordoba on their itinerary since it’s located close to the Mediterranean. And once in the city, getting around is easy. Simply hop aboard public transportation or rent a car.Planning what time of the year to visit Cordoba is not a chore. Summers are hot and dry and offer endless hours to explore the city, while winters are mild, with only minimal rainfall.If history is your forte, you’ll be in heaven in Cordoba. Here, you’ll stroll the streets of this medieval city where ancient sites will grab your attention. One site not to miss is the spectacular and historic Mezquita Mosque, built in the 10th century.
One site not to miss is the spectacular and historic Mezquita Mosque, built in the 10th century
Once, inside, you’ll be in awe of its roughly 1,000 oil lit lights that grace its interior. And when touring the other magnificent sites in the older part of town, you’ll be surrounded by impressive, white-washed houses that are reminiscent of picture perfect postcards.And if you’re a fan of museums, you won’t be disappointed. In Cordoba, you’ll have your pick of museums, whether it’s the city’s Museum of Fine Arts, the famous Regina Museum which displays works from famous jewelers of Cordoba or the City Museum, depicting the glorious history of this ancient city.But Cordoba is so much more than just museums and historic sites.
There are fast, modern trains that you can take from most cities in Spain that have international airports, such as in Madrid or Seville
In Cordoba, you’ll be entranced by its modern cultural offerings. Don’t miss one of the famous flamenco shows or Spanish fiestas that will wet your appetite for more Spanish culture. And if traveling in May, you’ll be privy to the Patio Festival, where residents of this friendly city open their courtyards for tourist visits.A trip to Cordoba is an unforgettable experience.
Most holy land tours include Cordoba on their itinerary since it’s located close to the Mediterranean
Strategically placed at the highest point of navigation on the River Guadalquivir, Cordoba started life as an Iberian settlement. In 152 BC the Romans established Corduba Patricia as a colonia. After 27 BC the city became the capital of Baetica. Following the Romans, Cordoba was occupied by the Visigoths.
This is part of the extensive system, started by the Romans and perfected by the Arabs, that allowed the surrounding land to be irrigated and then used to grow olives, grapes and wheat that was then shipped back to Rome
This proved unpopular and a revolt against the Visigothic King Agila around 554 led to a short period of local independence that came to a sudden, and bloody, end in 572. The Arabs arrived in 711 and Cordoba soon replaced Seville as the capital of Al Andalus. It is the period between 711 and 1236 when the city was retaken by Fernando III of Castile, and the architectural remains from this period, that attract the tourist.Most make a beeline for the Mezquita, and little wonder. It is the third largest mosque ever built. Dedicated in 786, the original structure was extended and enlarged over the entire period of Arab rule, each king trying to outdo his predecessors. It is now a ‘forest’ of columns. The earliest section contains original but re-used Roman and Visigothic columns and, in the north west corner a free standing Visigothic altar. The Mezquita is unique in Spain because it not only survived the re-conquest, it was considered so magnificent that between 1523 and 1607 a Renaissance style church was built within the structure.
In May there is a competition
The church is now the repository for the ecclesiastical treasures which is worth a trip in itself. But back to the Romans.The guidebooks tell you there is little remaining from the Roman period and promptly send you to the Mezquita but if you know where to look there is enough left to give you an impression of their city. For instance, near to the Hotel Tryp Gallos at the junction of Paseo de la Victoria and Calle de Concepcion is situated what was the Roman west gate into the city. On the Paseo side is a Roman cemetery.
It is the period between 711 and 1236 when the city was retaken by Fernando III of Castile, and the architectural remains from this period, that attract the tourist
In the centre of the city itself is a temple but do not be fooled. This is a reconstruction. Only two columns are original. However the renovations are using the original foundations and floor plans.Leaving the old city through the south gate you will then cross the 250 metre long Puente Romano. It is worth stopping halfway across and looking up and down river. You will notice islands and channels that appear man made. You will also see the remains of, and in one case, a whole, huge, waterwheel. This is part of the extensive system, started by the Romans and perfected by the Arabs, that allowed the surrounding land to be irrigated and then used to grow olives, grapes and wheat that was then shipped back to Rome.The Calahorra Fort at the south end of the bridge is an Arab construction from the Almohad period that now houses an intriguing Islamic museum. For a particular view of how integrated, politically and religiously, the Arabs were with the native population, and how advanced scientifically they were then the fort is worth as much attention as the Mezquita. It is here that there is a wonderful collection of original Arabic navigational instruments including an ancient astrolabe that predates the invasion.For those who prefer strolling then the medieval quarter called La Juderia, (The Jewry) is a labyrinth of winding streets, small squares and courtyards. In May there is a competition. The patios are decorated with flowers and opened to the public. One lucky household will be chosen for owning the ‘most beautiful courtyard’. It is in this area that you will find small bars, restaurants and cafes and innumerable shops. You will also find silver. For hundreds of years La Juderia housed the silver merchants and craftsmen who produced the jewellery for which Cordoba is famous.During the visit to Cordoba we first heard of a little known site at Medina Azahara. This is 8 kilometres west of Cordoba itself and it was here, in 1911, that an Ummayyad palace city was discovered. Totally independent of Cordoba this palace was built between 936 and 960 and was called Madinat Al Zahra. Only about 1/10th of the 1,500 metre x 750 metre site has been properly excavated. It appears to have been a self contained unit in as much as there was housing for the administrators, workers and servants who provided for the occupants of the palace itself and quarters for the military that protected them. The palace was a luxurious affair with large rooms, open courtyards and formal gardens deliberately built to be ostentatious to display the might of the Caliph. By 1030 AD the Madinat Al Zahra was in ruins following the downfall of the Omeya caliphate. The following couple of centuries saw the site pillaged for its stone and decorative features until it once again merged with the landscape and was forgotten until the early 20th Century. Apparently, in ancient texts, there are references to Cordoba la Vieja, (Old Cordoba), which are now thought to refer to Madinat Al Zahra.Cordoba is one those cities best explored on foot, parking can be difficult. It is impossible to see everything in one day. It can take the best part of a day to walk around the walls from the west gate to the south if you wander off into the gardens, and examine the bath houses, palatial buildings and towers that seem to spring up every few metres, stopping occasionally to take in the views across the river.
Nick Nutter is the editor of a successful magazine, Andalucia Life, in southern Spain. He writes articles about the places he visits. The web site [http://www.andalucia-life.com] is updated every month with new articles, days out, places to go, news from the Costa del Sol and more.For more exciting places to visit in Andalucia, Extremadura, Portugal and Morocco, visit http://www.andalucia-life.com/magazine/list.cfm?LeftNav=Places to Visit [http://www.andalucia-life.com/magazine/list.cfm?LeftNav=Places%20to%20Visit]