“…To Cordoba belong all the beauty and ornaments that delight the eye or dazzle the sight. Her long line of Sultans form her crown of glory; her necklace is strung with the pearls which her poets have gathered from the ocean of language; her dress is of the banners of learning, well-knit together by her men of science; and the masters of every art and industry are the hem of her garments.”Unknown
Cordoba, city in the Southern Spanish region of Andalusia. It was a major Islamic Center in the Middle Ages. One of its main features is La Mezquira, an mosque dating from ~784 A.D.
Given its small and compact size, the city of Cordoba can be walked.
Besides this, Cordoba has 15 bus lines. They usually run between 6:00 and 23:30. Tickets are 1,30 € per trip.
Even though it is pretty unusual, taxis can be stopped in the street at any time.
Cordoba can definitely be visited from Seville as a day trip.
The city of Cordoba was occupied by the Romans in 152 BC. Even though it was a “flourishing” city at the time, massacres of about 20,000 people happened during Julius Caesar’s reign.
In 711, the city of Cordoba was captured by the Muslims. In 756, the construction of the Great Mosque (Gran Mezquita) started to take place, and ending in the year 976. In these years, Cordoba saw a huge growth as a city, making it rank within the largest and most cultured city in Europe. Cordoba was quickly filled with palaces and mosques in these years.
After the civil war in early 11th century, Cordoba fell to king Ferdinand III and became part of Christian Spain. This change in Cordoba also brought a decline in culture and economy in the city.
The remains of the Moorish traditions and the buildings are what has kept Cordoba as a touristic attraction. Nowadays, Cordoba is known for the textile manufactures, manufacture of gold and silver ornaments and food processing (especially olives).
Historic Cordoba is a UNESCO world Heritage Site. The following is the description from the UNESCO report.
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE DESCRIPTION – START
Historic Centre of Cordoba
Cordoba’s period of greatest glory began in the 8th century after the Moorish conquest, when some 300 mosques and innumerable palaces and public buildings were built to rival the splendours of Constantinople, Damascus and Baghdad. In the 13th century, under Ferdinand III, the Saint, Cordoba’s Great Mosque was turned into a cathedral and new defensive structures, particularly the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos and the Torre Fortaleza de la Calahorra, were erected.
Founded by the Romans in the 2nd century BC near the pre-existing Tartesic Corduba, capital of Baetica, Cordoba acquired great importance during the period of Augustus. It became the capital of the emirate depending on Damascus in the 8th century. In 929, Abderraman III established it as the headquarters of the independent Caliphate. Cordoba’s period of greatest glory began in the 8th century after the Moorish conquest, when some 300 mosques and innumerable palaces and public buildings were built to rival the splendors of Constantinople, Damascus and Baghdad. In the 13th century, under Ferdinand III, Cordoba’s Great Mosque was turned into a cathedral and new defensive structures, particularly the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos and the Torre Foraleza de la Calahorra, were erected.
The Historic Centre of Cordoba now comprises the streets surrounding the Great Mosque and all the parcels of land opening on to these, together with all the blocks of houses around the mosque-cathedral. This area extends to the other bank of the River GuadaIquivir (to include the Roman bridge and the Calahorra) in the south, to the Calle San Fernando in the east, to the boundary of the commercial centre in the north, and incorporating the AIcázar de los Reyes Cristianos and the San Basilio quarter in the west.
The city, by virtue of its extent and plan, its historical significance as a living expression of the different cultures that have existed there, and its relationship with the river, is a historical ensemble of extraordinary value. It represented an obligatory passage between the south and the “meseta”, and was an important port, from which mining and agricultural products from the mountains and countryside were exported.
The Historic Centre of Cordoba creates the perfect urban and landscape setting for the Mosque. It reflects thousands of years of occupation by different cultural groups – Roman, Visigoth, Islam, Judaism and Christian-, that all left a mark. This area reflects the urban and architectural complexity reached during the Roman era and the splendour of the great Islamic city, which, between the 8th and the 10th centuries, represented the main urban and cultural focus in the western world. Its monumental richness and the unique residential architecture stand out. There are still many ancestral homes and traditional houses. The communal houses built around interior courtyards (casa-patio) are the best example of Cordoban houses. They are of Roman origin with an Andalusian touch, and they heighten the presence of water and plants in daily life.
The Great Mosque of Cordoba represents a unique artistic achievement due to its size and the sheer boldness of the height of its ceilings. It is an irreplaceable testimony of the Caliphate of Cordoba and it is the most emblematic monument of Islamic religious architecture. It was the second biggest in surface area, after the Holy Mosque in Mecca, previously only reached by the Blue Mosque (Istanbul, 1588), and was a very unusual type of mosque that bears witness to the presence of Islam in the West. The Great Mosque of Cordoba was also very influential on Western Islamic art since the 8th century just as in the neo-Moorish style in the 19th century.
Concerning architecture, it has represented a testing ground for building techniques, which have influenced both the Arabic and Christian cultures alike since the 8th century.
It is an architectural hybrid that joins together many of the artistic values of East and West and includes elements hitherto unheard-of in Islamic religious architecture, including the use of double arches to support the roof. The direct forerunners to this can be found in the Los Milagros (Miracles) Aqueduct in Merida. Its building techniques – the use of stone with brick – were a novelty reusing and integrating Roman/Visigoth techniques. Also it included the “honeycomb” capital, which differs from the Corinthian capital, characteristic of caliph art. Subsequently, this was to greatly influence all Spanish architecture. Likewise the combination of the ribbed vault, with a system of intertwined poli ovulate arches gives stability and solidity to the ensemble, and it represents a first class architectural milestone a hundred years before the ribbed vault appeared in France.
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE DESCRIPTION – END
La Gran Mezquita (C. Cardenal Herrero, 1, 14003 Córdoba, Spain)
The Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos
The Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and it is located in Cordoba. The gardens are full of fountains, blossom trees, and statues. Tickets are 4.50€ and are closed on Mondays
Fun Fact: Christopher Columbus walked these same floors.
Roman Bridge in Cordoba
This Roman Bridge is located across the Rio Guadalquivir. This was the first bridge Romans build in 1st Century BC.
Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. (n.d.). Córdoba. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved June 19, 2022, from https://www.britannica.com/place/Cordoba-Spain
Mirmobiny, D. S., & Mirmobiny, D. S. (n.d.). The Great Mosque of Córdoba. Smarthistory. Retrieved June 19, 2022, from https://smarthistory.org/the-great-mosque-of-cordoba/