Plaza de las Tendillas square. Cordoba
Great Mosque of Cordoba
Great Mosque of Cordoba
Gardens in the Alcázar (fortress) of the Christian Monarchs
Hallway of a house on Calle Marroquíes
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. If you walk round the old quarter you will discover a beautiful network of alleyways, squares and white-washed courtyards surrounding the Great Mosque-Cathedral, which reflects the importance of the city in the Middle Ages, and is the symbol of the city.
Without disregarding its splendid past, Cordoba is definitely a modern city that has been able to adapt to the present day, offering the most modern infrastructures and services, as well as a large network of hotels. Very well connected to the other Andalusian capitals, Cordoba also has the high speed train (AVE) and a very extensive railway network linking it to all the big cities, like Madrid and Seville. Once inside the city, a large network of buses and taxis enable visitors to reach any destination in a few minutes. Cordoba is also synonymous with art, culture and leisure, thanks to a myriad of cultural events that are organised here throughout the year: Flamenco festivals, concerts, ballet and other activities that are complemented by a number of museums and an exciting nightlife.Meanwhile, the province is home to important buildings of the Andalusian heritage, whose highest expression is the Medina Azahara, located on the outskirts of the city. But there is great spectacle also for nature lovers. The parks of Sierra de Cardeña in Los Pedroches and Montoro, the Hornachuelos Sierra and Sierras Subbéticas offer the possibility of practising all kinds of open-air sports, while at the same time enjoying the natural wealth of this province.
With the imprint of the old splendour of the Caliphate of Cordoba
The historic quarter in Cordoba, declared a World Heritage Site, still has the imprint of the old splendour of the Caliphate of Cordoba, which turned this city into one of the most cultivated and refined in medieval Europe.
In the 10th century, under Abderraman III, the Medina (town) had 1,000 mosques, 800 Arab baths, and an advanced street lighting system. The urban layout was almost as impressive as Constantinople, Damascus and Baghdad. And the Great Mosque dominates the view. It became rapidly famous because of the brilliant way in which it was built and because of its rich details. The "forest of columns" (there are about a thousand), built on a Visigoth basilica, is one of the most attractive parts of the building. The first mosque has a quadrangular floor plan with nineteen naves, divided by double arches, combining horseshoe arches with semicircular arches. The decorative elements include brick alternated with stone, red and white, as well as sculpted marble, stuccowork, mosaics and plasterwork. The Cathedral and the Mosque are a single architectural space because after the Reconquest the idea was to build a Gothic cathedral inside the Mosque. Over the years Plateresque and Baroque elements were also included. Barrel vaults and Baroque ornamentation blend in with geometrical motifs and verses from the Koran. The Jewish Quarter also dates from that period. It spreads out from the Mosque to the walls and the Almodóvar Gate. It is made up of network of narrow streets with white-washed façades adorned with tiles and grilles. In this district you will find the Plazuela de las Flores, the house of the Dukes of Medina Sidonia, and the Synagogue, the only one that remains in the city.
In the 13th century under Ferdinand III the Saint, new defensive structures were built, such as the Alcázar fortress of the Christian Monarchs and the Calahorra Tower. The Alcázar is a defensive construction next to the Guadalquivir River, with magnificent gardens, fountains and irrigation channels behind its walls. On the other side of the San Raphael Triumph monument and the Roman bridge, you'll find the tower, which was part of castle walls. The city of Cordoba is built around many squares. El Potro, Corredera and Capuchinos, where the Christ of the Lanterns sculpture is found, are three beautiful examples of meeting points in Cordoba. Standout buildings in the historic centre include the churches of San Pedro, San Andrés or La Compañía. If you like museums, in Cordoba you will find the Bullfighting Museum, the Archaeological Museum, the Fine Arts Museum, and the Julio Romero de Torres Museum. The Archaeology Museum with its Iberian, Roman, Visigoth, Muslim, Mudejar and Renaissance items, can be found in the Renaissance Palace of the Páez family. The Fine Arts Museum, situated in the old La Caridad Hospital, houses an interesting collection of work mostly by Andalusian artists. Highlights include drawings by Valdés Leal, Zurbarán, Murillo, Palomino, Antonio del Castillo and Juan de Peñalosa, and sculptures by Juan de Mesa and Mateo Inurria. The Museum of Fine Arts shares its courtyard with the Julio Romero de Torres Museum, which houses the work by this Cordoba-born painter, who became very popular thanks to his paintings full of customs, symbolism and a certain halo of mystery. The Diocesan Museum of Fine Arts, in the old Episcopal Palace, dedicates a room to artists from the province. Another important room is the one dedicated to medieval art, and the collection of tapestries and choir books from the cathedral also stands out. The Casa de las Bulas (16th century) houses the Bullfighting Museum, which has a bullfighting-related collection, and many of the items are closely connected with the bullfighting tradition in the city. Cordoba also has major art centres including La Merced Palace, housing the regional government, and Viana Palace, also known as the Patios Museum. Its rooms, as well as rich furniture, contain important collections of paintings, tapestries, china, tiles and firearms. The many exhibition spaces in the city are not less important, such as the Sala Capitulares.
Protected spaces with a high ecological value
People who love nature and sports with a low impact on the environment will find protected spaces with a high ecological value in the province of Cordoba. Some of them are the nature parks of Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro, Sierra de Hornachuelos and Sierras Subbéticas.
These spaces have many hiking routes and the chance to practise climbing, caving, mountain biking and paragliding. Routes along the banks of the Guadalquivir River and the Cordoba countryside will enable you to discover the natural treasures in this province. Cordoba is great for hunting, especially in the Sierra Morena mountains. There are several controlled hunted areas - more than 200 private reserves and 1,300 small game reserves. The Guadalquivir Reserve and its tributaries, as well as the reservoirs, offer ideal places for pole fishing. Golf lovers will also be able to enjoy the excellent facilities that the Cordoba Country Club and Pozoblanco Golf Club offer, both with 18 holes.
A wide variety of inland products
The year-round orange colour and smell of orange blossom in spring provide the ideal setting to try a wide variety of products (Iberian cured meats, cheese, fish and mainly excellent stews) served in almost all the bars and restaurants in the city, washed down with a large glass of wine, which has a special taste in Cordoba.
The old quarter and districts like San Andrés, San Lorenzo and Santa Marina are full of traditional taverns where you can enjoy delicious tapas: go from one bar to another and enjoy delicious wine from Cordoba (the best is the Montilla-Moriles Designation of Origin) and small and varied portions of typical dishes which are often free with your drink. You can try pickled anchovies or the typical flamenquín (fried serrano ham roll). Tipping is not obligatory, although it is common practice.
If you are looking for elaborate cuisine, you will find magnificent restaurants in the historic quarter and in the city centre. When ordering, bear in mind that some of the most typical dishes of the area are salmorejo (a type of cold tomato soup with bread, garlic and olive oil), bull's tail or pastel cordobés (puff pastry filled with candied pumpkin).
For young people
A wide range of activities for young people
Cordoba is a cheerful, lively city, which is why it makes such an easy connection with young people.
One of the main customs is to spend the evening at the terraces and ice-cream parlours or to make the rounds of the best of the traditional inns and taverns. Many of these have a particular look and some, such as the famous "Pepe el de la Judería" ("Pepe of the Jewish Quarter"), now belong to the living history of the city. Other experiences you can't miss in Cordoba are the shows in one of the flamenco clubs (look for them in the Jewish Quarter) or one of the guided night tours that start in Plaza de las Tendillas. Later in the night, when its discotheques, pubs and fashionable nightspots open, Cordoba becomes a party town where you can enjoy music and dancing into the early hours of the morning. You'll find these places in the centre and the area surrounding the Town Hall, as well as in areas such as El Arenal, Ciudad Jardín or Polígono Chinales. Or if you prefer, the city and its surroundings have great leisure centres, with shops, restaurants and multiplex cinemas, such as Cines El Arcángel, Zoco Multicines and Guadalquivir Cinemas. Student Card holders enjoy big reductions on the admission price. This ID will also give discounts on admission to the majority of the city's museums and exhibitions. Cordoba's calendar of leisure events includes an attractive range of festivals covering different fields of the arts: music, theatre, cinema, etc. Some of them have a long tradition in the province, as in the case of "Pop-Zoblanco", a summer festival open to upcoming young pop and rock artists. In July and August Cordoba organises the "Noches de embrujo" (Nights of Enchantment) festival, where horse and flamenco shows take place every night; as well as music, dance and theatre festivals; performances inside the monuments, recitals… Film lovers will head for the Audiovisual Creation Competition of Cabra, which focuses of the world of short films. Other very attractive festivals include the Theatre Fair of the South, held annually in Palma del Río, and Sensxperiment, which gathers the latest trends in multimedia and experimental art. There is also a cultural theme park recreating the ancient splendour of the Caliphate of Cordoba, called Ciudad Al Mansur. This space includes a faithful reproduction of a medieval Hispanic-Moorish city, with gardens, a mosque, a palace and typical Arab street markets.
Fun for all the family
In Cordoba there are many green spaces around the city, where you can go for a stroll, and for children to have fun. The Botanical Gardens, situated on the right side of the Guadalquivir River, are one of the main places for this.
This place has an Ethnobotanical Museum, the only one of its type in Spain and teaches about the relationship of the human race with plants. Most of it is outdoors, with large wooded areas. It has a greenhouse divided into different microclimates. Opposite the Botanical Gardens is Cordoba Zoo, which is designed as a garden with abundant vegetation. Here children will be able to discover a little about the local fauna. However, in the capital there are also many other charming spaces, such as the Moorish-style Alcázar gardens, with pools, water jets, hedges and aromatic plants; the Paseo de la Victoria, together with the Diego de Rivas and the Vallellano gardens, a beautiful urban green area; or the Ribera Gardens, situated in the Guadalquivir riverbed, with islets, waterfowl and old mills, as well as the Albolafía waterwheel. Like any large city, Cordoba has a good number of cinemas. Most of them screen films in special children's matinees on weekends and public holidays, with special prices for children.
Córdoba con niños
The rest of the province of Cordoba also offers many activities for children. In the town of La Carlota, surrounded by nature, youngsters will be able to visit the Fuente Redonda Educational Farm and to learn first-hand about the rural way of life. The facilities include, among others, a stable, an orchard, a swimming pool, and other recreational areas. During the summer, Aquasierra opens its doors to combat the heat with water and many cool rides. This water park, 25 kilometres from Cordoba city, will provide unforgettable days of fun days for people of all ages.
The cobbled streets of the old quarter of Cordoba are filled with small shops selling quality craft products. Ornately carved silver, leather repoussé work and food produce are the most popular souvenirs of the city.
From the typical souvenirs and craft work from the shops and workshops of the Jewish Quarter, to the fashion, books and CDs from the shops in the pedestrian precinct in the centre of the city or the shopping centres on the outskirts, the city of Cordoba offers the visitor a wide range of products.
Other useful information
Opening times: some shops, especially the major franchises and the shopping centres, are open from 10am-9pm. Traditional shops open from 10am-1.30pm and from 5-8.30pm approximately.
Sales: the winter sales generally begin in the second week of January and go on until the end of February, and the summer sales begin on 1 July and run until the end of August.
How to pay: most people pay in cash or with a credit card, when you must show your passport or identity card.
Tax free: residents from outside the European Union are entitled to have Value Added Tax (IVA) refunded on purchases of more than €90.15.
Modern facilities for trade fairs and conventions
Cordoba, a traditional melting pot of different cultures, stands today as an important business centre. For this purpose, the city offers the most modern facilities, which can host all kinds of trade fairs, conventions and forums, both national and international.
Quick and easy access to the city is possible thanks to the location of Cordoba Airport, a few kilometres away from the city centre, and the Madrid-Sevilla high speed train (AVE). The IFECO, the Cordoba Institute of Fairs and Exhibitions, organises exhibitions and shows at the San Carlos Trade Fair Centre, located beside the N-IV motorway. The Congress and Exhibition Hall, equipped with versatile rooms, auditoriums, press rooms and other facilities, plays host to many conferences, seminars, and business meetings. Cordoba also has an excellent network of accommodation to meet visitors' needs. The city boasts a varied selection of four-star hotels, in exceptional locations to the north of the capital on the slope of the sierra, and in the historic quarter, within walking distance of all the main monuments. Among these, the Parador de Córdoba, located on the slopes of the mountain, gives wonderful views of the countryside and the city. In addition, the city provides wide range of three-star accommodation. Cordoba's many tourist attractions include numerous cinemas, museums, restaurants, pavement cafés, and so on. All this goes along with the Andalusian charm of the area around the Mosque-Cathedral, by day or by night.