While enjoying a wonderful lunch and refreshing iced tea in an Arabian teteria (tea house) in Granada we met and had a great conversation with a couple vacationing from Austria. One of their recommendations to us was to visit the city of Córdoba, Spain.
With a little additional research we knew we needed to make a slight detour in our plans. Good that we did because we absolutely loved our 4-day excursion to the city of Córdoba.
Our white and bright and very comfortable Airbnb was right across the street from the Mezquita–Cathedral of Córdoba, another glorious World Heritage Site we recommend adding to your bucket list.
If you only visit one site in Córdoba, the Mezquita, also known as the Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, must be it. It is so strikingly different, and so beautiful, that we felt it needed its own picture gallery.
(click here or on the photo to see more photos of the Mezquita)
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristiano’s
The Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos is a fortress and palace with gardens where we thoroughly enjoyed our morning visit.
This site was a favorite amongst the different rulers throughout history including the Romans, Visigoths, and Arabs. However in 1236 when Córdoba was conquered by King Fernando of Castile, the old palace was completely destroyed. Restoration began in the mid-to-late 1200’s and was completed by the middle of the 1300’s. Throughout history it has had multiple purposes, including the headquarters of the Inquisition and a jail in the first half of the 19th century.
Our favorite room was a small baroque chapel, called the Hall of Mosaics, where Roman Mosaic tile floors from the 3rd century had been excavated from beneath the Plaza de la Corredera (see below) and are now exhibited on the walls in this chapel. From our travels so far, we have learned that the early Romans certainly lived in colorful, artistic and striking environments – if only we could travel back in time.
We climbed one of the towers where we could see the courtyard and gardens below. The gardens are beautiful and refreshing with large trees that provide fruit and shade, isles of fragrant flowers, statues, marble pathways and the murmur of water from water features and fountains. The extensive gardens of the Alcázar are splendid and we spent quite a lot of time wandering through them, taking photos and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere.
Museo Torre de la Calahorra
The Tower of Calahorra was originally built in the 12th century by the Arabs. It served as both an entrance to the Roman Bridge of Córdoba as well as a defensive structure. It was completely restored in 2007 and is considered part of the historic center of Córdoba and part of the World Heritage Site.
Stroll across the Roman bridge and the tower is located directly in front of you on the left bank of the Guadalquivir river. Don’t forget to turn back around to take in the views of the city. In the evenings locals and an occasional tourist would line the bridge enjoying to the various street musicians.
Museo de Bellas Artes and Museo Julio Romero de Torres
This museum was founded in 1844 and exhibits paintings and sculptures from local Córdobans. The pieces were created between the 14th and 20th centuries. There are beautiful paintings in this museum and we particularly liked some of the non-religious topics.
Walk a half dozen steps across the plaza and you are at the entrance to Museo Julio Romero de Torres. This museum contains a large collection of a wonderful Córdoban painter, Julio Romero de Torres. He was primarily a portraitist and was known for the subtle expressions on the faces of the numerous women he painted.
Museo Taurino Córdoba
When in Spain you cannot completely ignore the culture and history of bullfighting. Although we do not plan on attending a bull fight, the bull fighters museum in Córdoba had free access one afternoon so we decided to check it out. This museum focused more on the stories of the famous fighters and their costumes but it can still leave those of us not raised within this culture feeling somewhat uncomfortable.
Plaza de la Corredera
The location of this square is believed to once have been part of a Roman development. Archaeologists found the fabulous mosaics on this site that are the same mosaics we admired in the chapel at the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos.
In the 17th century it was a bullfighting arena and today the architectural style of this striking rectangular shaped plaza with it’s pretty arches is the only Castilian style plaza in Andalusia. It is far from the historic center, and in the evening a good place to people watch and enjoy a drink.
Casa de Sefarad
La Casa de Sefarad is a privately owned museum and cultural center that is focuses on the Sephardic culture, history and tradition. We were hoping to visit the Synagogue located nearby but it was closed each time we passed by, so instead we visited this very interesting and educational museum.
The famous Andalusian horse line, also referred to as the Spanish horse, according to the locals, originated here in Córdoba. We were disappointed to only glimpse, in the distance, a very few of these magnificent horses practicing their maneuvers. We settled instead for some interesting photos of the dozens of carriages that were displayed in the former horse stables.
Muchas gracias Alex and Wolfgang for the great recommendation! The food was fantastic and we loved each historic site we visited.
Salut from Ted and Julia, temporary Córdobans.
(click on any picture to go to slideshow view)