Cordoba is the third largest city, after Malaga and Seville, to boast a magnificent old town with monuments inherited from the Romans and the era of Al Andalus, to be declared Patrimony of Humanity.
Cordoba charms the visitor with cultural celebrations such as the Fiesta of de Cordobese Patios, in which houses compete and open their typical Cordobese patios, specially decorated for the occasion, to the public.
The name of Cordoba is most probably of Phoenician (Qart-tuba) or Iberian origin, but in the Roman era the city was already known as Cordoba. The one thing we know for sure is that the colony was founded around 152 BC by inhabitants of Rome.
After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Cordoba was conquered by the Visigoths, who were only slow to be accepted by the local citizens, and then it was already conquered by the Muslims and was converted into the Caliphate of Cordoba. This was the start of Cordoba becoming one of the biggest cities of the world with around 450.000 inhabitants – and the era that left us monuments such as the Mezquita and the Azahara Medina.
After the Christian conquest many old Roman houses were divided between the nobility who assisted during the conquest. It’s in this era that most religious buildings were constructed.
Because of a combination of epidemics and bad economics after the conquest, only 25.000 of the 450.000 inhabitants remained. The splendour of the era under Muslim rule vanished, and this was a situation that only started to change again halfway the 20th century.
The climate and temperatures of Cordoba are continental Mediterranean. This implies soft winters with occasional cold, up to freezing point, and hot summers with temperatures that can go up to 45 degrees centigrade in the months of July and August.
A result of the very rich history of Cordoba is that you can explore an old town that is the second biggest one of Europe to be declared Patrimony of Humanity, and where you can visit the most important historical buildings of the city. To visit them is a Must.
First and foremost there is the Mezquita of Cordoba, together with the Alhambra of Granada the most important monument of Andalucia. Lately there has been a debate whether or not the name should be changed, for this ‘mosque’ was originally constructed as a Visigoth church, built upon the remains of a Roman temple dedicated to the worship of Jano.
The Roman Bridge dates from the 1st century and is a bridge of more than 300 meters lenght over the river Guadalquivir. Today there are only 2 arches that are original, and the rest of the bridge was restored during the Andalusian period as well as during the Christian era and the 20th century.
Museums in Cordoba
The museum of archaeology and ethnology displays remains from prehistory until the Middle Ages, all found in Cordoba.
Others interesting museums are the museum of the Caliphate Baths, dedicated to the Jewish culture and traditions, and the Museum of Olive Oil or the Watermuseum.
The Medina Azahara
This ‘city’ was discovered in the midst of the 20th century and shows the great importance of Cordoba during the time of Al-Andalus.
You can find the medina at the west side of Cordoba, at the foot of the Sierra Morena – it really is a visit you should not skip.
Any walk through Cordoba will make you discover statues of illustrious inhabitants, such as Seneca, Averroes and Maimonides.
If you rent a car in Malaga, then take the highway A-45 in the direction of Antequera-Córdoba or the national road N-331 that connects the city with Malaga. If you want to visit the anthropological site of the Azahara Medina, take the West exit of Cordoba.
You can also arrive starting from the train station of Malaga via the train line that connects Malaga to Cordoba and Madrid.
Another option is to book a Malaga airport transfer to Cordoba.