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Guide to Córdoba

What to do and see in Córdoba ?

The province of Córdoba belongs to the Comunidad Autónoma de Andalucía. It is located in the south of the Peninsula, strategically placed next to the Guadalquivir river in the centre of Andalucia. This province covers 13,723 km2 and has around 770,000 inhabitants.

The Guadalquivir river crosses the province from East to West making two quite distinct areas. To the north there is the Sierra Morena mountains and plains and to the south there are agricultural areas and countryside. The southern part of the province borders with the Bética mountain range.

Córdoba Córdoba is well connected to the rest of the country. It takes just 40 minutes to get to the nearest airport which is in Sevilla or Málaga. The AVE (Spain's high speed rail network) takes 40 minutes to get to Sevilla and just 1 hour and 40 minutes to Madrid. Córdoba is also very well connected to the rest of Spain by road. The N-IV connects it to the north of the Peninsula and the N-432 connects it to Granada and Badajoz. The N-331 takes you to Málaga and the A-92 to Murcia and Levante through the Puerto Lumbreras. The Autovía de Andalucía connects it to Sevilla.






Córdoba has a Mediterranean climate. The Sierra Morena mountain range protects it from storms from the Atlantic and any rain usually stops here. It is sunny 140 days of the year. Summers can get extremely hot and temperatures can reach 41.5ºC although winters are usually quite mild. Temperatures during the coldest month only drop as low as 9ºC. It only normally rains in spring and in autumn.


History of Córdoba

Córdoba has prehistoric origins although the first settlements here only date back to the Bronze Age to around the 8th and 9th centuries B.C. Due to its strategic location next to the Guadalquivir river Cordoba was a much coveted city and was occupied by the Greeks, Romans, the Visigothics, the Moors and finally by Christians.

In the 3rd century B.C it was occupied by the Romans. It prospered a lot in the 2nd century A.D under Claudio Marcelo who founded the city calling it Corduba and made it the capital of Hispania Ulterior. The city maintained its urban infrastructure, various buildings and an active commercial and cultural life from this period of occupation. The amphithteatre, 2 forums and various temples still remain from this period. The Visigothics occupied Córdoba when the capital moved to Hispalis. They remained until the 8th century when the Moors took over.

But its Roman and Visigothic legacy is eclipsed by the Al-Andalus culture which developed in all its splendor during the occupation by the Moors. Above all during the 10th century when Córdoba became the cultural centre for Europe. This is where philosophers, astrologers, doctors, intellectuals, mathematicians and poets from all over the world met.

Córdoba was also the bridge between the East and West during the middle ages. The caliphate of Córdoba was the most important representation of the power and culture of the Moors in the West. The Moors occupied Córdoba from the 8th to 1013 leaving an important legacy behind both in terms of historical monuments and culture. In 756 they took control of the city and created the independent emerite of Al-Andalus, with Abd al-Rahman I, who was responsible for rebuilding the city walls, the Alcázar and enlarging the mezquita. His son also enlarged Córdoba's mezquita and also Abd al-Rahman III. In 929 Córdoba was named the capital of the independant caliphate of Damasco and it became the religious, administrative and political headquarters of the Islamic kingdoms in the West. Under Alhakam II Córdoba reached its cultural pinnacle.

In 1013 the Caliphate of Córdoba fell and it became a taifa (small independent kingdom). In 1236 Fernando III, occupied the city, the reconquest of Córdoba began and the Christian faith became the dominant culture. Many churches, monasteries, convents, hospitals, palaces and mansions were built. A cathedral was also erected.

In the 16th century Felipe II built the Royal Stables because of his great interest in horses and the Puerta del Puente was built to honour him. However the Boubon administration (who were in charge of governing much of Spain) did not let Córdoba develop economically or recover and the city endured some hard times over several centuries. There were even worse times to come in the 19th century with the French occupation and the war of independence. Things started to improve with the building of the university which led to an increase in the city's population and economic growth.

In 1994 UNESCO declared the city's old part to be a world heritage site and this is why Córdoba is one of Spain's most visited tourist desintinations.


Things to do and see in Córdoba

Córdoba Córdoba is a captivating city full of history. It's old part consists of narrow streets and ancient beautiful buildings, famous for their interior patios full of pots of brightly coloured flowers and fountains in the centre which are reminiscent of other times. There are two types of patios in Córdoba. There are the patios which belong to individual houses as described above or patios belonging to two houses where more than one family lives which have two floors and a shared balcony.

There are many things to do and see in Córdoba city and different ways you can do this. You can see the city riding in a coach pulled along by horses or hire a bike. You can go for a ride in a hot air balloon or see the city by plane if you want a bird's eye view. You can see the city by bus or you can simply walk around and soak up the atmosphere.

You are spoilt for choice for things to do in Córdoba. You can go to the theatre, to classical music concerts, visit museums, go to the aquatic park, go horse riding or play golf (there is a golf course on the outskirts of the city - Club de Campo de Córdoba) or visit Sportaventura or the Parque Periurbano Los Villares.

Gardens, Squares and Streets

  • Parque Zoológico (Zoo) - Avenida de Linneo, Tel: 957 20 08 07.

  • Jardines de la Victoria (Victoria Gardens) - Avenida de la Victoria: This is the former site for the Feria de la Salud before it was moved to the Parque del Arenal. Here you have a 1930's pergola by Carlos Sáez de Santamaría built in a Neoclassic style which is now one of the most fashionable cafe's in the city and also used for temporary exhibitions.

  • Jardines Juan Carlos I (Juan Carlos I Gardens) : These pretty gardens are located directly in front of the Vice-Chancellors office. There is a small lake with a bridge in the middle and a play area for children. It has become a popular meeting place.

  • Jardines de la Merced o de Colón (Merced or Colon Gardens): The Merced convent is here hence the name given to these gardens.

  • Plaza de Capuchinos and Cristo de los Faroles: Built in 1794 by Juan Navarro León this is one of the most beautiful squares in the city.
  • Calleja de Flores: This is located in the neighbourhood known as the Judería, opposite the northern facade of the Mezquita. It is a small street which ends up in a small square decorated in a typical Cordoba style with lots of potted flowers and lanterns. You get a pretty view of the cathedral tower from here.


Things to buy in Córdoba

The best things to buy in this city are hand made arts and crafts. You can get all sorts of things from jewellery, leather goods, ceramics, silver and gold handmade objects as well as excellent things to eat and drink: Wines, olive oils and cold meats. Córdoba is famous for jewellery which is produced here as well as intricate gold and silver work. Clay Ceramics from Córdoba are well known for reproducing many of the designs made popular during the Moorish period.

Where to stay in Córdoba

  • Hotels and other accommodation: Click on Hotels in Córdoba for a reviews of the best value hotels available

Travelling to Córdoba? The following links may also be useful
Guides provinces bordering with Córdoba and beautiful places in Spain nearby

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Guide to Murcia Guide to Tarragona
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