Córdoba or Cordova in English is a city in Andalusia, Southern Spain. Now famous for its leather manufacturing, the history stored in its heart reflects in the city which speaks the story of Roman, Islamic, Jewish, and Christian cultures. The patios (courtyards in English) decorated with flowers are elements that highlight the pleasant atmosphere this city has. Although the summers can be really hot here, people have learned to adapt to high temperatures and this is what most of the architecture of Cordova highlights. In case you are already planning your next trip, here are a few of the best things that you cannot afford to miss in Córdoba.
This place has to be the first on your list if you are a historian at heart. This city palace has been declared as world heritage by the UNESCO since 2018 and is magnificent in the eyes of its viewers. The relics preserved here speak of the forgotten Hispanic- Muslim history of Córdoba. Gardens, mosques, bathhouses are a few of the many things that the site preserves for tourists. Watching the two large monuments which speak of this glorious city is what all travellers can enjoy. One of the most beautiful gardens is ‘The Prince’s Garden’ which shows the nobility and the grandeur of the place. There are also Islamic gardens which are beautiful architectures of waters and shades.
The bridge you saw in Season 5 Game of Thrones is exactly this one in Córdoba. The best time you can visit this bridge is the sunset as it has the most amazing orange glow. Also, this bridge is very close to many tourist places like the Tower of Calahorra. It delivers the typical Roman feels to this place. Even though it has been under construction for many years now, it still stands fiercely and continues to attract a lot of tourists. If you plan to visit this bridge, make sure you get a local tour guide as they will explain the beauty of this historical heritage better. If not there is the Córdoba tourism office just behind the gate of the bridge. You can grab a map from there and plan your visits.
Patio de los Naranjos
Get ready to be surprised by the incredibly beautiful courtyard. You just cannot afford to miss this place that speaks about the abundant history of Córdoba. As the name goes ‘Naranjos’, the courtyard is surrounded by orange trees and hence has a pleasant environment in shade. If you plan to land up in this place in spring, you will know that the fragrance of these delicious oranges fills this place. Also, closely observe the ceilings of the gallery. You will find the wonderful Moorish horseshoe arches. These arches itself represent the history and time this courtyard has been through.
The tour for oils and wines
Of course, the famous history and its proof are enough for you to fall in love with Córdoba but do not forget to visit the Olive Oil mill and the wine region. These two ingredients play a major roll in the Spanish culinary experience. The tour organisation organises this tour for 4 hours with 8 participants only. You get ample knowledge about the processing of oil extractions and you get to taste it with some authentic Spanish dishes. After this comes the Montilla wine region where you can taste the best wine made in Spain.
What else, but a sooting bath is all you need after a day of a lot of travel and this place is the best relaxing you can ever have. These Arab baths are like rituals that ease out stress from your bodies. Though there were many in the city, many of them were also destroyed. However, these baths attract a lot of visitors as they reveal some very important architectural structures of Spain. They also have cultures of the Middle-East attached to them where people had a social gathering in these baths. They represent the very authentic oriental cultures where these hot thermal pools and vapors relax every inch of your body. The two of the famous hammams are the ‘Palacio del Bailio’ and ‘Arab baths Almanzor’.
Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos
This is a palace but looks like a perfect fortress. History of the Catholic Monarchs of the 15th century is what makes this monument an important heritage site. There are artifacts like the ‘Romans stone Sarcophagus’ which are preserved since the 2nd and 3rd centuries. All these structures construct the tale of the Christian reconquest in Córdoba. Also with all its past speaking, the gardens in this palace are a major attraction. They are filled and decorated with flowers giving you the most pleasant environment to enjoy. Although, you will need to plan your visit really before time as the place is always crowded and there is a huge queue.
Córdoba: Flamenco Show at the Arabian Baths
This can be one of the true chances to enjoy the most authentic cultures of 10th century Spain. The show puts on a beautiful amalgamation of music and dance which is performed live and it is totally worth your watch. The music and dance will lure you away with its rhythms. These shows are held in the Arabian Baths of Santa Maria and the Flamenco dancers (who are just superb and professional) host a performance at 10:00 p.m. Do not forget that there are limited seats only and you will have to rush if you wish to attend the show. Besides, make sure you grab that complimentary beer while you enjoy this night filled with entertainment.
It is culturally significant for Córdoba’s Muslim population and has a very important history behind it. You will observe the two areas of the mosque namely the courtyard and the haram. The columns with red and white arches are just impressive in their looks. The stories of Visigoths and Abd al-Rahman III can be traced through these magnificent architectures. If you love and are interested in learning the history of Spain, your visit to this place is absolutely necessary. Choose weekdays over weekends for planning your visit as the mosque is generally crowded at these times.
This is one of the very popular restaurants in the city. The cuisine is the best amalgamation of Spanish and International tastes and caters to both the audience. The head chef Adrián Caballero is trained in hospitality and gastronomy and therefore, can host this rich Spanish kitchen. Being located in the prime historic center, the restaurant attracts a lot of people. If you land up here, do not miss on the ‘pure acorn-fed Iberian ham croquettes’ and ‘Butter fish’. This dish is made with black garlic and apple kimchi which makes you know how delicious the Japanese plus Spanish plus International cuisine can be.
Old Jewish Quarter
Called as ‘La Judaria’ by the locals, this place has immense to wander about for an entire day. History is traced through all the ancient landmarks that the Jewish Quarter has. It has streets filled with vendors for you to shop something really Spanish. One that attracts a lot of attention of tourists is the architecture. Almost all the windows are covered and decorated with beautiful flowers from Córdoba. The restaurants too have special flower courtyards with flower pots hanging down the ceilings. The ancientness of this place itself creates a serene atmosphere for you to enjoy. And one more important thing is that the entire quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage site and therefore it definitely should be in your list of must-visits.
If you are wandering in the Jewish district of Córdoba, you are ought to find this lovely place that serves the best and the classic grilled meat in the entire city. It is really an old restaurant but has a swoop of tourists rushing in and out because of the relishing taste. The dishes are served and prepared with special sauces, namely the Arab styled red and green pepper sauces. These sauces are the ones that make the Iberian pork heavenly! These are a few of many amazing restaurants that provide you with the best meal and amazing cuisine experience.
Palacio de Viana
Located in the neighbourhood of Santa Marina this palace is almost from the 15th century. I would suggest you book a tour guide if you wish to intricately view the palace with its details. More than anything, it is known for its grand and beautiful patios. These courtyards are decorated with flowers and all of which details are also given in English for foreign tourists. This rich and ancient historical landmark was inhabited by the upper class and noble Spanish families. Therefore, they are the best representations of the Spanish bourgeoisie. With so many things bound to it, the palace has also been declared as the “National Historical Artistic Monument and Artistic Garden.
Remember to taste the amazing Paella!
One of the best places in Córdoba that serves this dish is the ‘Casa Pepe Sanchis’. The dish is mostly eaten at lunchtime and is saffron-colored. Its originality comes from Valencia and is dominantly made of rice, chicken, and vegetables. The texture with its crust is crispy and is the most delicious part. You can have the ‘paella Valenciana’ which is made with chicken and rabbit. The other variety is the ‘seafood paella’ which is served in the shell. Now if you ARE convinced enough to actually order the dish, here is a tip: Have the most of the bottom layer of the dish! Here is where the flavours mingle the most and the slight toast makes them more delicious.
The local market of Córdoba
If you wish to know from where all this beauty originates, this place will let you in to understand everything. This market is where all the locals fetch their ingredients to prepare the most authentic Spanish cuisine. If you are a tourist, several tour guides will help you plan your visit to this market. They will show you the best kitchens where you can also learn and watch the recipes prepared by chefs. You are allowed to stroll and meet the stall owners who will also guide you to select a few rich ingredients. Also, feel free to taste and enjoy a meal and grab some refreshing cocktails while you relax in one of the market’s courtyards.
Museo Julio Romero de Torres
The entire museum is dedicated to an early 20th-century artist, Julio Romero. The painter’s furniture and his painting are all preserved and the museum is visited by a large number of people. Many of his works/paintings are perfect representations of Modernism and Symbolism. Most of his displayed paintings are of women he knew and thought were talented singers and dancers. Few of his paintings also reflect on the aristocratic class of Spain. One of the most fascinating is the painting called ‘How beautiful she was!’. He took inspiration from a young girl who died and whom he saw in her coffin. These paintings are a big part of the cultural history of Spain.