Cordoba

The landlocked Andalusian province of Cordoba, with the mineral-rich mountains of Sierra Morena divided by the vigorous Guadalquivir is a fascinating place to visit.  Summers here are scorching and arid, so the best time of the year to visit is during the cooler spring and autumn seasons. In July, the city hosts the Festival Internacional de la Guitarra a two week celebration of guitars, with concerts featuring the top world guitar players and bands ranging from Jazz/Blues, Classical, and of course, Flamenco. It also hosts some superb music and dance seminars, music programs, and conferences on the instrument.

Built on a sharp curve of the river which is crossed by the Roman bridge El Puente Romano, the capital city of Cordoba was once a port. The city can easily be explored on foot. Founded by the Romans, it flourished under the Moorish occupation and this is evident in the architecture found all over. When the Moors were replaced by the Christians, the city’s elegance remained unaltered and the Christian cathedral was built within the mosque, the Mezquita in the 12th century. The Mezquita dates back to the 8th century and represents the Moorish Islamic influence on this region of Andalusia. Behind the Mezquita, El Puente Romano crosses the Guadalquivir leading to a museum in the old gate on the opposite side.

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The Old City surrounding the Mezquita is a splendid network of medieval-style streets, with the Rio Guadalquivir to the south and the Paseo de la Victoria on the west. This area is touristy as well, with numerous stays and restaurants. There are also souvenir shops around.

At the centre of Cordoba is the old Jewish quarter Judeira where little has changed in centuries, with narrow streets and garden plazas, tapas bars and restaurants, an excellent area to explore and relax in the Spanish way. Cordoba is known for its patio gardens, with some of the best at the grounds of the old palace Palacio Museo de Viana in Plaza de Don Gome. The bull fighting museum and the cool and refreshing fountains and gardens of the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos are well worth a visit.

The historic centre of Cordoba is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the region outside the city is sparsely populated. There can be no better introduction to Spanish-Moorish culture than a trip to this captivating destination.