One of the neatest places I’ve been to in southern Spain is the charming, historic city of Córdoba. I sadly only had about 48 hours as we were on our way back to Madrid from Jerez de la Frontera, where we were visiting a friend of mine and touring the sherry bodegas. I fully intend to spend some more time there on my next trip in June of 2017. As a lover of history, this place is an absolutely must, just teeming with culture and footprints from the past. Located in Andalusia, it was once the heart of Islamic Spain. The Great Mosque (Mezquita) was built in the 8th century, but over the years the city has been known for the mingling of Mulsim, Jewish, and Christian cultures. With well developed infrastructure and commerce system it has also always been a very modern city. It was primarily controlled by Moors until 1236 when the Christian forces conquered. The city is like a living museum with remnants of all these interactions at every corner.
We stayed at the fabulous Eurostars Conquistador, very centrally located directly across from the Mezquita mosque. They have comfortable rooms, and a beautiful, typical Córdoba courtyard. You can even see ruins from one of the three pavilions of the old mosque.
So when you have limited time, what to do in Córdoba?
1. The Great Mosque (Mezquita) – This was originally a Visigoth temple, but when the Muslim’s took over in 711, the church was divided in half between the Muslims and the Christians. After Spain was returned to Christian rule following the Reconquista it was turned into a Roman Catholic cathedral in the 13th century. The structure has continuously been added to over the years, much like Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The insides are simply gorgeous to behold and a testament to Moorish architecture. It is a must see!
2. Alcázar de los Reyes Catholicos (Palace of the Catholic Kings)– This originated in medieval times as a Visigoth fortress and was also at one time under the control of the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates. It was taken back under Christian control during the Reconquista by Alphonso XI of Castile.
3. The Jewish Quarter (Juderia) – Here you can see the Córdoba Synagogue as well as the beautiful network of Sephardic Jewish art and commerce. We also found a really yummy place to have dinner here. I didn’t have it myself, but if you should happen to have dinner at El Caballo Rojo (The Red Horse) and are into bull’s tail (rabo de toro), it comes highly recommended. Great atmosphere!
4. Museum of the Inquisition (Torture Gallery) – My mom and I happened upon this just by chance, walking around the Jewish Quarter! It was a hole in the wall from the outside, but inside, this small museum has a rich collection of the history of this incredibly brutal period of time. It boasts of a large collection of torture devices from the 13th to 19th centuries.
5. The Horses! – How can you visit Andalusia without seeing the Andalusian horses at the Royal Stables? These gorgeous horses are quite majestic, and if you are a horse fan, they are must see.
I was sad to not have more time in this fabulous city. Hey! An excuse to go back, no?
Buen viajes, gnomies!
Ever visited Córdoba? Let the gnome know what you thought.