Córdoba, home to narrow streets and patios bursting with May flowers, iconic architecture and history oozing from between the flagstones, should be on everyone’s ‘to visit in Andalucia’ list.
Here are 7 of the top sightseeing attractions in a city that was the capital of Islamic Spain and western Europe’s most cultured medieval city.
A trip to Córdoba would be incomplete without seeing the beauty of the city’s Mosque-Cathedral or Mezquita.
The spacious interior with its multitude of striped arches is one of the world’s greatest examples of Islamic architecture. What’s even more astounding is the 16th century Christian cathedral plonked in the middle of the mosque – a fine example of cultural interaction.
Outside is the Patio de los Naranjos, the site of ritual ablutions before prayer in the mosque and now offering a lovely place to shade from the Andalucian sun.
If you’re feeling energetic and have a head for heights you can climb the 54-metre bell tower which offers wonderful panoramas.
Staying at one of CLC World’s Costa del Sol resorts? Then you can visit the Mezquita and explore the city with our Córdoba Excursion.
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
The Castle of the Christian Kings, as the name translates in English, is an attractive building with beautiful gardens that reflect not just the Christian but also the Moorish roots of Córdoba.
Built amongst the ruins of a Moorish fort, it had been the seat of the Caliphate’s government and housed the largest library in the West. The 14th century castle – the present building – used only a small part of the original remains but incorporated the Mudéjar style in its design.
The gardens, which are worth the entrance fee alone, are a scaled down version of those at Granada’s Alhambra, with fragrant orange trees and colourful flowers lining the edges of the pools.
From the castle’s walls, you can enjoy great views across the Guadalquivir river towards the Roman bridge and Mezquita.
The Roman bridge is one of the main thoroughfares into the old city. Flanked at either end by the Torre de Calahorra and the Puerta del Puente, little if any of the Roman original remains but the cobbled street does lend a Romanesque charm to it.
On the south side, the fortified gate known as the Torre de Calahorra (Calahorra Tower) is of Islamic origin. It is one of the oldest defensive buildings in Córdoba. Nowadays it houses a museum dedicated to the multicultural times of Córdoba when Jews, Muslims and Christians lived peacefully side-by-side.
On the north side of the bridge, closest to the Mezquita, is the Puerta del Puente (Bridge Gate) – a Renaissance gate to the city.
The three elements combine to great a wonderful entrance to the city from the southern banks of the river.
Calleja de las Flores
One of the most popular streets in Córdoba old town, the whitewashed walls of the narrow lane are festooned with flowers offering a magnificent view of the cathedral tower.
The street opens up into a plaza and is one of the photographic ‘musts’ from Córdoba.
Patios of Córdoba
The May Patios festival is guaranteed to provide a plethora of petals and a vast splash of colour. Residents open up their patios to visitors and enter the prestigious competition run by the town hall.
Alongside the flowers there are performances of music and dance with local wine flowing freely. The patios event is held during the first two weeks of May, each year.
La Casa Andalusí
Located in the Jewish Quarter of the old city, next to the synagogue, the house-museum transports visitors back to Caliphate times.
The cool courtyards with fountains, aromatic flowers and greenery dim the buzz from outside. The Andalucian elements are mixed with eastern styles and the whole building is filled with symbolism.
The lower levels are home to the Museo del Papel providing a historical journey through the manufacturing process of paper during the caliphate.
Palacio di Viana
Moving away from the medieval city you will find the Renaissance Palacio di Viana.
With its 12 patios, the palace is best visited in springtime to appreciate the full beauty of the gardens. However, at any time of year, it is a sight to behold.
The palace itself is packed with antiques and art and shows the evolution of architectural and decorative styles as you move through the rooms. This really is a palace to ignite the senses. As its website proclaims: 5 centuries, 12 patios, infinite sensations.
These are just seven reasons to visit Córdoba, one of the greatest cities of the medieval world.