Córdoba

The Great Capital of the Caliphate

The mess of streets, small plazas and courtyards decorated with flowers surrounding the Mosque-Cathedral reflect the sensitivity of the people who still keep up the numerous traditional disciplines the Arabs used to practice when ruling over al-Andalus.

Do you want to visit this place?

Things to do in Córdoba always include sightseeing the mosque-cathedral or the remains of the Azahara in the outskirts of the city, which will entertain you through an awesome weekend. If you plan to spend some more time, we would recommend visiting Montoro (eastwards), Montilla (southwards) or even paying a visit to the Hornachuelos Mountain Range. This visit includes the most important main sights in the old town, one of the most beautiful historical cities: the Mosque-Cathedral, the Jewish Quarter, the Alcázar and San Basilio Quarter.

Our visit to the Mosque-Cathedral is divided into the inner and the outer part of the building. Regarding the Exterior, we highlight the Deanes Gate (8th-9th centuries), the San Miguel Gate, the Grada Redonda (1738) and Santa Catalina (16th century) entrances, the Perdón Gate (with a spectacular arch remodeled in 1371) and the Caño Gordo Gate (16th-18th centuries). Regarding the Interior, there are many main sights you must not take for granted: the marble main altarpiece from the 17th century by Alonso Matías; the tabernacle (1653), which holds several paintings such as the Asunción by Palomino (18th century) and the choir stalls by Pedro Duque Cornejo; the Royal Chapel, fostered by king Enrique II in 1371, with Mudejar architecture. In the south part of the wall we find Santa Teresa Chapel, the Main Sacristy of the Cathedral (1697-1703) and San Clemente Chapel (set up by Alfonso X in 1262). In the western part of the wall we find the Santísima Trinidad Chapel.

Next to the River Gudalquivir we find the Plaza del Triunfo, with the monument to the archangel San Rafael; the Bridge Gate (1575); the Roman Bridge, which ends in the Calahorra Tower, housing the Three Cultures Museum; and the San Sebastián Hospital (1514-516), nowadays the Congress and Exhibitions Palace.

The Arab baths of Santa María, from the Caliphate period, is situated in Velázquez Bosco street, which was also a prison and a corral de comedias (theatrical courtyard) in the past. If you continue walking down the street, you will find the Flowers Alley (full of beautiful plants decorating the area), the Dukes Medina Sidonia House (1636), whose rear façade, located in Jerónimo Páez plaza (where the Archeological Museum is placed) is the Jewish Man House. If we continue via Julio Romero de Torres street, we will eventually reach the Portillo Arch (one of the three gates from the Medival wall that is still preserved). Continuing northeast, we will head to the San Francisco Church, which holds inside some Baroque works by San Pedro de Alcántara, Pedro de Mena and other interesting artists.

Alcazar of the Christian kings

One of the most interesting spots in Córdoba is the Potro Plaza in Romero Barros street, where there is an inn where Don Quixote stayed. The Caridad of Nuestro Señor Jesucristo Hospital is also here, housing the Fine Arts Museum (paintings form the 17th and 18th centuries). Our next stop is the Corredera Plaza, from the 13th century, where the Señores of Angulo House (end of the 16th century), the Prison and the House of the Magistrate (16th century) are located. The latter houses a market on Wednesday and Saturday.

The Jewish Quarter goes from the mosque to the walls and the Almodóvar Gate. This neighborhood has narrow streets whitewashed with tiles and plowshares. The main spot of this quarter is in the Judíos street and Tiberíades, Judá Leví and Maimónides plazas, where the papal bulls were sold back at the time. Some other interesting main sights here are the Flowers Plaza, the Sefarad House, the Andalusian House, the Caliphal Baths and the Synagogue built between the years 1315-1316 by Isaac Mejeb.

San Basilio Quarter stands out by the Alcázar ordered to be built by Alfonso XI between the years 1328 and 1359. The Catholic Kings ruled from the construction; they also built the Inquisition Tower and adapted some of the rooms in the Headquarters of the Court of the Holy Office. This building was later used as a prison, highlighting by the four towers protecting the building. The gardens of the Alcazar are also a must. Inside the fortress, there are the Royal Baths, the Hall of Mosaics exhibiting some Roman mosaics from the 2nd century, the Mudejar Courtyard and the Weapons Plaza.

The Royal Stables (1570) allow you to enjoy a horse show. If you go down through the several churches in the area, you will eventually reach the Culture House. The Plaza Myor is arcaded with various houses from the 16th and 17th centuries. The Ángel Gómez Inguanzo Plaza, in the southeast of the Plaza Mayor, you can see the Cross Chapel from 1783. Facing this chapel, you can visit the Ethnographic Museum, housed by the Gutiérrez de Mier Palace-House (15th century).

Must-see...

Practical Data

Coordinates

37° 53′ 0″ N, 4° 46′ 0″ W

Distances

Jaén 104 km, Sevilla 129 km, Málaga 162 km, Madrid 400 km

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