Things to Do in Cordoba
- A visit to Cordoba is a must for lovers of architecture, history, and culture.
- Choose to visit Cordoba on a day trip or as part of a multi-day guided tour through Spain.
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking on uneven surfaces.
- Day trips from Seville typically last upwards of nine hours.
Originally the site of the Christian Visigoth Church San Vicente dating back to AD 600, the Mezquita (Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba) stands as the city's most proud monument and one of the most exquisite Islamic structures in the Western world. Learn about its rich history while taking in the 850 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, and granite.
Guarding the southwestern corner of Cordoba’s Historic Center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs (Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos) is among the city’s most memorable monuments. The Moorish-style fortress has a history dating back to Roman and Visigoth times, before it was transformed into a Christian palace by Alfonso XI in the 13th century.
Córdoba, which was once considered the most populous city in the world, was once home to a thriving Jewish community, and now its ancient neighborhood of white buildings is considered one of the most famousjuderías (Jewish quarters) in Spain. Wander the area’s narrow lanes and visit its famous synagogue and souks.
The Caliphate City of Medina Azahara, a new UNESCO World Heritage Site, dates back to the mid-10th century, when it served as the seat of power for the Umayyad dynasty in Córdoba. When the caliphate ended after a civil war in 1010, the city was laid to waste and forgotten until its rediscovery in the early 20th century.
Located in the heart of Córdoba’s Jewish Quarter, and just blocks away from the Mezquita, the Córdoba Synagogue (Sinagoga de Córdoba) is the Juderia's (Jewish Quarter’s) main attraction and is a one-of-a-kind site in the Andalusia region. Built in the 14th century, the small synagogue houses a courtyard, prayer room, and women's gallery.
Several bridges traverse the Guadalquivir River as it weaves through Cordoba, but one really stands out: the Roman Bridge (Puente Romano). Anchored by Calahorra Tower to the south and Puerta del Puente to the north, this bridge was originally built in the 1st century BC. Highlights of the structure include the statue of San Rafael at its mid-point.
Cordoba’s Plaza de Tendillas sits in the very heart of Cordoba and at the crossroads between the older part of town and the relatively newer modern one. Its construction dates back to the 1920s, when it was built to be used as a central meeting place in the big southern city.
Nowadays, the almost entirely pedestrian-only square is home to various events, including protests, markets and celebrations. Arguably its biggest celebration is New Year’s Eve, which is marked by the Spanish tradition of eating 12 grapes in sync with the midnight strikes of the clock — which, here in Cordoba, are always marked by the musical strums of a flamenco guitarist rather than the sound of bells. Come to the plaza to check out the famous El Gran Capitan statue (erected in honor of the famous military commander Gonzalo de Cordoba), to people watch while having a drink al fresco, and, during summertime, to cool off in the geyser-like fountains especially loved by the kids.
Situated in a former archbishop’s palace, Tablao El Cardenal is one of Cordoba’s most coveted spots to watch Spain’s beloved art form: flamenco. Southern Spain is steeped in flamenco history, as it is believed this is where the tradition originated, andtablaos (flamenco venues) are the ideal place to experience the soulful tradition.
Cordoba has become synonymous with courtyards, and Viana Palace offers a stunning look at these famous southern patios. Also called the Museum of Patios, the Renaissance palace is home to 12 courtyards as well as centuries of history. It was originally built in the 14th century and was lived in, enlarged, and modified until the 1900s.
Back in the 10th century, Cordoba was home to as many as one million residents and up to 600 Moorish bathhouses, the latter a true symbol of the southern Spanish city’s importance in those times. Once serving as the bathhouse of the caliphs, Cordoba’s Caliphal Baths (Baños del Alcázar Califal) are among the very few that still remain today. In fact, they spent centuries hidden until in 1961 they were rediscovered and restored.
The hammam, as this type of Arab bathhouse is often called, consists of various rooms, most notably, in the Caliphal Baths’ case, the cool room. Back in its day, it had the most elaborate features, and is where the caliphs would spend most of their time bathhouse time. The cool and hot rooms displayed typical hammam characteristics such as the star-windowed ceilings and horseshoe-shaped arches, both elements that you can still see today. During your visit you can explore these serene spaces, as well as learn more during an informative introductory video.
More Things to Do in Cordoba
Dedicated to the local painter Julio Romero de Torres, his namesake museum is one of Córdoba’s highlight cultural destinations. Home to the largest collection of his work, the museum is located in a historic hospital building where the artist once resided. Today, the building is also home to the Museum of Fine Arts of Córdoba.
Situated in the converted 10th-century Arabian Baths of Santa María, Tablao Flamenco Arte y Sabores de Córdoba is one of the city’s most important artistic venues. At this intimate locale, you can dine on traditional Spanish dishes while enjoying a nightly performance of flamenco, Spain’s national dance.
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