Cordoba combines really well with other Andalusian cities such as Seville, Granada and Ronda
Cordoba has a very attractive central area which is a delight to wander around. The first point of call for any traveller just has to be the Mezquita, or Great Mosque. This beautiful and mesmerising mosque must be one of the world’s greatest Islamic buildings and dates back to the time when Cordoba was the capital of Islamic Spain. It is a symbol of the sophisticated Islamic culture that flourished here more than 1000 years ago. Cordoba was the capital of the Moorish kingdom of El-Andalus and the Mezquita, after several centuries of enlargements, became one of the largest in all of the Islamic world. When the city was re-conquered by the Christians in 1236, the new rulers of the city were so impressed by its beauty that they left it standing, building their cathedral in the arches and columns of the Islamic mosque, so creating the extraordinary church-mosque which visitors can see today.
Cordoba was founded by the Romans and became an important port on the Guadalquivir River, used for shipping Spanish olive oil, wine and wheat back to Ancient Rome. The Romans built the mighty bridge across the river which is now called “El Puente Romano.” In addition to the incredible Mezquita, there are many sights of interest in the centre of Cordoba – more than enough to keep any visitor occupied for a couple of days. It is always a pleasure to spend an hour or two just wandering round the streets and buildings around the Mezquita including Cordoba’s old Jewish quarter which consists of a fascinating network of narrow lanes, more atmospheric and less commercialised than in Seville. At the centre of the quarter is the Synagogue in Calle de los Judios. This was converted to a church in the 16th century and then held the Guild of Shoemakers until it was rediscovered in the 19th Century.
The Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos (Alcazar of the Christian Kings) is also well worth a visit A Muslim Alcazar once stood where the Episcopal Palace is today – this building was renovated recently and houses an interesting museum. Despite originating in the Christian era, the Alcazar gardens are typically Moorish in design with ponds, fountains and aromatic plants.
May is often considered to be the best month to visit Cordoba, with its many colourful and lively celebrations. The floral excitements commence with the Battle of the Flowers parade, followed by the Cruces de Mayo, a competition of flower-decorated crosses. The celebrations traditionally conclude with the Feria de Cordoba, with horses, sherry and dancing.
Cordoba has much to offer the visitor but it also combines extremely well with a number of other cities such as Seville, Granada and Ronda to make a fascinating and well balanced multi-centre holiday.