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davidx Cordoba - A travel report by David
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Cordoba,  Spain - flag Spain
11469 readers

davidx's travel reports

Favourite Spanish city - Córdoba

  13 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Why is it my favourite Spanish city? Its sights are magic - but that applies to others as well. Its blend of ancient and modern fascinates - but is not unique. I guess I don't know why but what I do know is that I am always happy to be there.

Roman Bridge
Roman Bridge
Other than getting from the airport to the station at Málaga, Córdoba was the first Spanish city that I saw. I fell for it immediately, walking in the narrow streets of the Judería and all around the Mezquita [mosque] in a floodlit evening. The Mezquita is one of Europe's and one of Islam's [I am told] mustsee places. It is difficult to appreciate the colours fully on the many arches, because it is kept in a state of dim lighting. This is doubtless necessary for preservation but it seems ironic when the arches by the Patio de los Naranjas [orange trees], now blocked, were open in the Moorish period to allow the maximum possible light. The first thing to do is to grasp the sheer scale of the place - the Roman Catholic cathedral built inside it is completely dwarfed. Then you will be captured by its beauty and most stunning of all is the Mihrab or prayer niche. The king who had the cathedral built was to lament the barbarism of despoiling the Mezquita and it was not until my fourth visit that my historical curiosity overcame my repulsion at this barbarism [artistic rather than religious!] and I had a good look. I shouldn't really have been surprised that the craftmanship was of the top order. Not far below the Mezquita is the Roman bridge over the Guadalquivir. At its far end is the statue of the three faiths - for Córdoba is the only city in Spain other than Toledo, which has two, to possess a synagogue. Alongside of the bridge are the remains of Arabic mills. This is all floodlit, which makes for a marvellous spectacle in the evening as well as the day. Heading right on the Mezquita side of the Guadalquivir, you reach the Alcázar of the Christian Kings. it is an impressive enough building but don't expect anything on the standard of the Mezquita. Further in the same direction you come to the botanical gardens, which must be an almost heavenly place for shade in the hottest months.

Favourite spots:
At Medina Azahara
At Medina Azahara
The Botanical gardens include two fine museums. The first, built in an old watermill, is a geological museum with samples from all over the world. The other is a study of the relationship over time between plants and humans. However perhaps the best museum is Córdoba is the Museum of Archaeology. Few such museums have the incredible luck to discover, as this one did, that they are actually on the site of a Roman villa and thus able to display some sculptures and artefacts in situ. However it is not only the Roman remains which are outstanding. The things from earlier times and from the Visigothic period are stunning and the remains of Medina Azahara [see below (various spellings)] are unique.

What's really great:
Inside the Mazquita
Inside the Mazquita
When I first went, it was difficult to get to Medina Azahara without a car. More than anything else this drew me back for my fourth visit as there is now a daily bus at 11.00 which allows for the return trip, a good guidebook and an hour and a half at the site. Booking can be done by your hotel. This was a city almost literally deserving to be called fabulous, although later it was completely unknown for many years. It was the habit for Moorish usurpers to buid a new city to demonstrate their power and wealth. This one used a third of the revenue of the Cordoban caliphate for a considerable period and was esteemed at the time as a place of almost unlimited wealth. Only a comparatively small part has been fully excavated but it doesn't take too much imagination to envisage what it was once like.

One of the patios
One of the patios
From the information sheet on the city, available at the Information Centre opposite to the Mezquita entrance, I discovered the Palacio del Marqués de Viana. There are two types of ticket for this palace. The first is for a full guided tour in Spanish only - and I gather in machine-gun Spanish at that. It lasts about an hour and a half.
Fortunately the other, at only half the cost, allows you to wander at will through the twelve [yes!] patios and the garden. This is a delight.
Córdoba is famous for its patios generally and it is a major thrill to look in through the ornamental grills to see them, while you are wandering the city.

Hotel Boston
Hotel Boston
Hotel Boston
Málaga, 2
Pza. de las Tendillas
The Plaza, with a huge fountain, is in the heart of the modern city, near to the main shopping area and only a few minutes walk from the Mezquita.

Arab mills
Arab mills
There are places to eat everywhere and part of the fun is to choose somewhere for yourself. You can't easily go wrong eating a couple of raciones or several tapas.

Other recommendations:
Plaza de Corredera
Plaza de Corredera
On my earlier visits the Plaza de Corredera was dilapidated with a horrendous market. Even then it was obvious that it must once have been quite stately and now some restoraton work has been carried out.

Published on Wednesday December 29th, 2004

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Tue, Feb 01 2005 - 10:30 AM rating by mtlorensen

You've brought back memories of my own trip there in 1985. One of my favorite cities in Spain as well.
Great write-up!

Fri, Dec 31 2004 - 12:44 AM rating by fieryfox

Nice pictures and well written. :-)

Fri, Dec 31 2004 - 12:25 AM rating by italian-link

Nicely done

Wed, Dec 29 2004 - 05:12 PM rating by andreas

Hello David,

excellent pictures and well writen! Not only this, but all your other reports. Two thumbs up!


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