Cordoba, an historical trip
Cordoba in Andalusia is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain. From the iconic mosque-cathedral to the beautiful flower-decorated patios that are open to the public in May, this is a city with something for everyone. Read on for the ten best and most delightful things to see and do in Cordoba, Spain.
Visit the beautiful Mezquita Cathedral of Cordoba.
With its imposing arches, many tall columns and tropical gardens, the Mezquita is the impressive centre of Cordoba. Mezquita is the Spanish word for mosque, which refers to the original function of the building. Build in the 8th century it was the largest mosque in Europe. The structure has changed role several times since the 13th century. After the Reconquista, and the expelling of the Muslim population from Spain, the building became a church. With a new cathedral in the middle of the building during the 15th century. The Mezquita of Cordoba has a unique history thanks to the accommodation of several religions. The historic centre of the city with the cathedral is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and can be visited almost every day of the year.
The mosque-cathedral of Cordoba takes first place as a historical attraction, but Medina Azahara – located about 8 km outside the city – is just as intriguing. In the mid-10th century, ‘The Shining City’ was the administrative capital of Al-Andalus, when it was then known as Moorish ruled Spain. Construction began in 936 by order of the Umayyad Caliph of Cordoba, Abd-ar-Rahman III al-Nasir. Additions and changes continued for decades, but in 1010 Azahara was looted and then abandoned for centuries. Although they represent only about 10% of the original city, they still give you a good idea of how beautiful the Medina Azahara must have been.
The old Roman bridge of Córdoba runs over the Guadalquivir river. It was a famous access road to the city early in history. The bridge was already built in the first century but has undergone several restorations over the centuries. The Puente Romano has sixteen arches and a beautiful sculpture by guardian angel San Rafael. It comes from the hand of Bernabé Gómez del Río, a sculptor from the seventeenth century.
What is unique about Cordoba is that it has several monuments from different eras: Roman, Moorish and Christian. Only in the 1950s, whit the expanding of the town hall of Cordoba were the remains discovered of what is probably the most important Roman temple of the city used to be. It was built during the reign of Emperor Claudius in the middle of the 1st century AD and renovated in the 2nd century AD. Archaeologists claim that the structure was the most beautiful in the Roman Empire.
Plaza de las Tendillas
In the heart of the city of Cordoba is the beautiful Plaza de las Tendillas square. At the current Plaza de las Tendillas, you will find buildings that were designed by famous architects. The most prominent structure is the fountain with the equestrian statue of Don Gonzalo Fernandez de Córdoba. As an army commander, he is also known as “the Great Captain”. Plaza de las Tendillas is a car-free square where you can relax on one of the many terraces. You can also enjoy shopping.
The Alcazar de Los Reyes Cristianos castle
The Alcazar is originally a castle but has also served as a prison. You will notice that the building is more beautiful on the outside than on the inside. The gardens are certainly the main reason to visit the old castle. The gardens are full of fountains, flowers, plants and trees pruned into all kinds of figures. Climb the tower of the Alcazar for one of the best views of Cordoba.
The star of the patios of Córdoba
The star of Cordoba’s patios is the elegant 15th-century Palacio de Viana, a vast building that has served as a residence for the Spanish royal family over the centuries. For an entrance fee of € 5, you can visit the 13 patios and gardens of Viana. The garden is the most beautiful public area of Córdoba.
Basilica de San Pedro
You will find the cathedral of the same name on the Plaza de San Pedro. In some parts, including the tower, you may discover characteristic Moorish styles. The most radical restorations took place in the sixteenth century. At the time, Hernán Ruiz II was in charge. In the basement, you can visit the remains of martyrs such as Faustus, Martial and various altarpieces, including those of Alonso Gómez de Sandoval.
Plaza de la Corredera Square
Cordoba is full of beautiful squares and vistas. Plaza de la Corredera is one of the largest and most beautiful squares in the city. There are many local people on the benches and children play with the pigeons. There is plenty to see from the various terraces. There are also several museums close to the square, most of which can be visited free of charges, such as the Posada del Potro and the Archaeological Museum.
Cycling in Cordoba
Cycling in Cordoba is the best way to explore the city. With Baja Bikes you cycle in about 2 hours past the beautiful sights of Cordoba. They also rent children’s bicycles from 8 years, and there are also child seats available. A bike ride through the beautiful old, historic city is the perfect excursion with the whole family! You can book a tour for only € 25 per person. Cycle with a guide past sights such as the Mezquita, the Roman bridge and much more! It costs a little, but you immediately have a good idea of the city and its history.