8 Best Places To Travel in Cordoba

8 Best Places To Travel in Cordoba. Cordoba is situated in the interior of Andalusia where past and modernity blend in together. This thousand-year-old city, which has the World Heritage designation, is a living legacy of the different cultures that settled here throughout its history.

Not many places in the world can say they have been the capital of Hispania Ulterior (Further Spain) under the Roman Empire, and capital of the Umayyad Caliphate. This splendour can also be seen because of the intellectualism of this city of knowledge, where figures like Seneca, Averroes or Maimonides were born.

1| Great Mosque of Cordoba

Great Mosque of Cordoba
The Great Mosque of Cordoba is a mixture of architectural styles superimposed on one another over the nine centuries its construction and renovations lasted.

Standing in the historic centre, it is one of the most beautiful examples of Muslim art in Spain. It was built in 785 by the Muslim emir Abdurrahman I, on the site of the ancient Visigoth church of San Vicente.

The mosque underwent consecutive extensions over later centuries. Abdurrahman III had a new minaret built whilst in 961 Al-Hakam II extended the ground plan and decorated the "mihrab" (prayer niche). The last renovation was carried out by Al-Mansur in 987.

As a result, the interior resembles a labyrinth of beautiful columns with double arcades and horseshoe arches. After the Christian conquest in 1523, the cathedral was built inside, and features highlights such as the main altarpiece, the Baroque altarpiece and the mahogany choir stalls.

The "mihrab" is considered one of the most important in the Muslim world, and is the finest piece in the mosque. The decoration is Byzantine mosaic with crafted marble. The courtyard of the Orange Trees leads to the complex.

2| Medina Azahara

Medina Azahara
The Caliph Abd al-Rahman III was a great promoter of culture and a skilful politician who transformed his dominions into the most prosperous lands in the West at the time, comparable only with Baghdad and Byzantium.

The city of Medina Azahara has a practically rectangular floor plan. It was built on raked terraces which made use of the slope of the mountainside. Each terrace was separated from the others by walls, which divided the city into three parts.

The Alcázar Real palace is located on the highest and intermediate levels, while the lower part stood outside the walls and was used for dwellings and the mosque. There are still remnants of tiled borders, paintings and columns in the composite and Corinthian styles. Visitors should not miss a visit to the two recently restored rooms. It was declared a National Monument in 1923.

To conclude the visit, the archaeological site also has a visitor centre which serves as a starting point for the tour. The centre is located underground in the style of an archaeological site, and features a collection of exhibits from the most important periods in the history of Medina Azahara.

The tour of the visitor centre lasts about one hour and includes audiovisual shows, and continues with a visit to the archaeological site (which can be reached by bus from the same building).

3| Alcázar fortress of the Christian Monarchs

Alcázar fortress of the Christian Monarchs
The Catholic Monarchs reigned from this palace-fortress for eight years. This building was the royal residence of the Christian monarchs and subsequently the site of the Courts of the Holy Offices, a civil prison, and finally a military prison.

It is set among magnificent gardens, including the garden known as the Avenue of the Monarchs which features statues of all the monarchs who had connections with the palace-fortress. It was declared a Historical Monument in 1931.

The building is also part of the area declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1994. Since 1986, its gardens have been protected by town planning laws. It stands on top of the remains of the former caliph's palace.

4| Roman bridge

Roman bridge
This bridge connecting the city with Calahorra Tower is believed to have been built in the era of Augustus.

In 918 it underwent major changes. It played an important role in the city's battles against the armies of Peter I, the Cruel. It has 16 arches supported by robust spurs with semi cylindrical buttresses. It is built in Flemish bond. In the centre there is a sculpture of San Rafael from 1651.

5| Calahorra tower

Calahorra tower
It was built by Henry II of Trastámara as a means of defence against his brother Peter I (Peter the Cruel). It lies on what was once an Arabian castle.

It has a Latin cross plan with three arms formed by square towers joined by quarter cylinders and finished off with crenellations.

It comprises of 8 rooms and houses the three cultures museum. It lies next to the Roman bridge and has been the site of many a battle. It houses the Museo Vivo de Al-Andalus (Al-Andalus Living Museum), by the Paradigma Cordoba Foundation.

6| Plaza de la Corredera square

Plaza de la Corredera square
It is rectangular and follows the model of the traditional Castilian Plaza Mayor square. It is the only one in Andalusia with these characteristics. During the reconstruction works, magnificent Roman mosaics were found. These can be seen in the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos Fortress.

7| Passion and "duende" of the Andalusian Horse permanent equestrian show

Passion and "duende" of the Andalusian Horse permanent equestrian show
The Royal Stables of the city of Cordoba hold a marvellous exhibition in which purebred Spanish horses are the main protagonists.

In 1570, Philip II commissioned the monumental Royal Stables because he loved horses, and to create one of the best breeds in history: the Andalusian horse - purebred Spanish horse.

This show is a unique chance to marvel at the beauty and magic of these animals which show different disciplines and the skill of the riders. The show is also accompanied by music and dancing which is combined with the horses' exercises.

8| Palace of the Marquises of Viana

Palace of the Marquises of Viana
This palace museum has an extensive collection of items from Cordoba including furniture and coffered objects.

Of particular note is the staircase which gives access to the upper floor. This stately mansion was originally a single building that was extended with the adjoining buildings, and today occupies a large area with a predominance of courtyards and gardens.

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