Cordoba is the capital of the province of Cordoba in Andalusia, a city replete with historical treasures that it has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its glorious heritage includes being the capital of a caliphate (756 to 1031 A.D), the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. During the 10th to the 11th centuries, it reached its peak as a cultural, political, intellectual and economic powerhouse in Europe. It may have experienced a decline from this prestigious standing through the ages but the city was able to preserve the influences of the various civilizations that settled in the area.
The Mediterranean climate in Cordoba is favorable for leisurely walking in its medieval-style streets and that is the best way to explore the city. There is much to see in Cordoba that will make visitors appreciate not only its history but that of Spain as well.
Its main attraction is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba, a majestic representation of 8th century mosque built by the Moors in Spain. It was said that when the Christians who took over Cordoba saw the amazing mosque they could not bring themselves to tear it down and so they built a Cathedral right inside it. Out of the original 900 pillars of ornately designed jasper, onyx, marble and granite, 856 are still remarkably standing to this day. It is said to be the third largest mosque in the world.
Within walking distance from the Mezquita are other attractions in the Old City such as the old Jewish quarters or “La Juderia”, the Puente Romano, which goes over the Guadalquivir River; the Roman walls of Puerta de Almodovar, Puerta de Sevilla and Puerte del Puente; and the fortified walls of Torre de Calahora.
Then there is the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos - once a residence for the caliphs, a military fortress and the headquarters of the Spanish Inquisition today it is one of Cordoba’s most popular attractions. The city is also marked with a number of other historical sculptures such as the Triumphs of Saint Raphael, monuments to famous Cordoba natives such as poet Julio Romero de Torres, sculptor Mateo Inurria and poet Angel de Saavedra, to name a few.
Aside from the Gardens in the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, Cordoba has other parks and green areas that are best visited during the spring and early summer. The Jardines del Conde de Vallellano has archaeological artifacts from as far back as the 1st century BC, the Parque de la Asomadilla designed like a Mediterranean forest, and the Sotos de la Albolafia which is a good park for bird watchers. Cordoba also has nine museums and three theatres.
In Cordoba, visitors can also get a taste of traditional Andalusian flavors and cuisine through dishes like Salmorejo (cold soup made with mashed vegetables and olive oil), Estofado de Rabo de Buey (oxtail ragout), Pestinos (sweets fried in oil and drizzled with honey) and Pastel Cordoba (a cake stuffed with sweet pumpkin, cider and ham).