An interesting highlight for your holiday: The lovely Cordoba
Cordoba is a culturally rich city in southern Spain. The city is located in the heart of Andalusia, on the banks of the Guadalquivir, and is one of the three main cities of Andalusia. The city has over 300,000 inhabitants and it is surrounded by millions of olive trees. Cordoba is an ancient city with a rich history. It was the cultural and financial centre in different historical periods. In Roman times, it was the capital of the Baetica province, then the centre of the Spanish-Muslim world and finally the residence of the Catholic Monarchs. The turbulent history can be seen especially on the special structures. The Mosque is obviously the biggest attraction.
Cordoba is also very popular because of its many patios. Once a year, the most beautiful patios open to the public during the Festival del Patio. This annual event takes place in May and always attracts many visitors. And what about the Flamenco? The dance of Andalusia can be seen everywhere in Córdoba: daily flamenco shows, flamenco festivals, shops with dresses, guitars, shoes and music and flamenco music in bars and clubs.
The weather in Cordoba
Córdoba has officially a Mediterranean climate, but the country and the ocean’s climate have their influence on it. It is the hottest city in Spain, after Ubeda, and winters are mild (it rarely freezes) and summers are extremely hot. Every year, the temperature regularly exceeds 40 Celsius degrees. The annual average temperature is the highest of Europe.
Some of the highlights of Cordoba
The Mosque of Cordoba
In the heyday of Cordoba (11th – 12th century) there were no less than 3,000 mosques in Cordoba. The city also counted with approximately 200,000 inhabitants, but some people claim that it was the double or even more. The Great Mosque was the main mosque, and it grew as the population did it. On Fridays, a lot of prayers gathered in there, so a big space was needed. The Mosque contains more than 800 columns that are still fully intact.
With the arrival of the Christians, the mosque remained largely intact. A cathedral was built in the centre of it but it remained as the main place of worship. The minaret was converted into a bell tower. However, the vaults, the colours of the columns and even a place to pray the Koran were remained. Visiting the mosque-cathedral will make your eyes go hungry, since the columns, the ceiling and the interior doors demand all of your attention.
The Juderia: A Jewish Quarter in Cordoba
The old Jewish quarter is the oldest district of the city. Winding streets, old houses, monasteries, churches, city gates and walls (eg la Puerta de Almodovar, built by the Muslims and adapted by the Christians) show the oriental atmosphere that Cordoba has.
First there were the Jews and then came the Moors. Both communities have lived together with the Christians peacefully. The Jews have even a synagogue built during the Moorish ‘occupation’.
The Jewish Quarter is one of the most charming districts of Cordoba. It is full of narrow streets with shops, restaurants, tapas bars and a marketplace. The street where every tourist goes through is Calle Judios, the most typical of the district. Furthermore, the synagogue should definitely be visited because it is one of the few in Europe from the Medieval Period. Also remember to visit the Jewish Quarter during the evening since the lighting is something really special.
This beautiful palace is well worth a visit because it is a museum with furniture, tapestries and other objects that gives a good impression of how the rich people used to live. The palace is huge and has no less than 12 patios and a garden.
Going by car in Cordoba
Cordoba is easy to reach by car, but driving through the historic center of Cordoba is virtually impossible. The streets are too narrow, one-way and the road is bad everywhere. It is therefore wise to park at the outskirts of the center and from there you can walk or take the bus. The bus in Córdoba is cheap and well arranged. You can buy a ticket on the bus and the bus timetable is clearly indicated in each bus stop.
Tip: take an oriental tea
In Cordoba you can find many nice tea houses. You sit on low chairs Moroccan and get a whole tea ritual presented. There are many good places to enjoy a drink. A cup of peppermint tea is highly recommended!