Cordoba - A Step into the Golden Age Of Andalucia
Cordoba, a beautiful and ancient city on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, has a glorious past. This enchanting city was once the capital of Moorish Spain, the heart of the Caliphate of Cordoba, which dominated Spain for two centuries. Cordoba itself was once one of the pre-eminent cities in Europe, a centre of learning in the arts, science and philosophy. Just 30 minutes by train from our luxury Andalucia villa, Cordoba is an unforgettable destination!
Cordoba’s history stretches back to Roman times, and the visitor driving into the city over the Guadalquivir will see the still-impressive Roman bridge spanning the river. Beautiful Roman mosaics can be seen in the museum of the Alcazar de los Reyes Católicos, reminding us of the times when Cordoba was the largest city in Roman Spain. The beautiful gardens of the Alcazar are a wonderful place to relax and breathe in the scent of the orange trees after a walk round the city.
Cordoba is altogether a lovely city to be in, with its wide palm-fringed boulevards and lush green parks filled with exotic plants. Distances are not great, allowing the visitor to see the main sights in a day, although, like us, you will undoubtedly want to return! The narrow whitewashed alleyways of the Juderia district provide shade from the seemingly ever-present Andalucian sun, and there are innumerable bars where you can sample the local tapas. A walk around the Juderia provides many glimpses of the flower-filled patios(courtyard gardens) for which Cordoba is famous. Infinite treasures greet the visitor, such as the small fourteenth century synagogue, one of only 3 remaining in Spain. Nearby is a statue of Maimonides, the great twelfth century Jewish philosopher who is one of Cordoba’s most famous sons.
Of course all visitors to Cordoba come to see the magnificent Mezquita (“the Great Mosque”). This remarkable building was begin in the eighth century by Abd Ar-Rahman I, and in its day was considered the third holiest site in Islam, after the Kaaba of Mecca and the Al-Aqsa mosque of Jerusalem. Its huge size and scale are difficult to describe, but the Mezquita always makes a big impression on the visitor. Our children were particularly impressed! The cavernous interior, endless marble pillars and beautiful decoration are truly remarkable. Particularly notable is the intricately decorated Mihrab, the part of the Mezquita which shows the direction of Mecca.
Relax after your visit in the shady Patio de los Naranjos (Courtyard of the Orange Trees), just as visitors to the Mezquita would have done over a thousand years ago. Then why not stop for lunch in the patioof the Restaurante Bandolero by the western side of the Mezquita. This restaurant is a converted palace with a wonderful selection of rice specialities including a typical paella valenciana– an excellent way to end a fascinating morning in Cordoba, before returning to our villa in Andalucia!