Cordoba is one of the places that you should include in your “Must see cities in Spain.” You would never go wrong in deciding to visit the wonderful city. The city of Cordoba has a lot to offer to its visitors. It has a wide array of tourist spots for anyone to enjoy. From garden and parks for nature lovers, old churches and synagogues for those interested in religious architecture, to vibrant festivals and a dynamic nightlife for the party-goers. Cordoba has all these.
The city of Cordoba is the capital of the province of Cordoba. It can be found in the city of Andalusia. Its rich culture and architecture that is still evident today is proof of the city’s very rich culture. During the later part of the 10th-century, the city was inhabited by about 500,000 people and was the most populated city in entire Europe and was thought to have also been the most populated city in the entire world. It has now decreased in population and as of 2008 had an estimated number of 325, 453 inhabitants.
Cordoba has been witness to a lot of changes and transformations throughout centuries. Originally the city was predominantly Catholic until the Islamic conquest it then was home to a number of Islamic rulers. Each occupation resulted in a different mark in the city’s history and the city’s culture.
The different changes that the city underwent resulted in a number of architectural marvels. One of these is the Great Mosque of Cordoba which is now known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption. There are a number of old churches that you can still see today. Among these are San Nicolás de la Villa, San Miguel, and Santa Marina church.
Travel in the City
Going around the city to visit its many tourist spots is not even difficult for any tourist. There are a number of transportations available for everyone which makes it very easy to travel for the non-locals. There are a lot of taxis available that can take you anywhere you want to go. Just come prepared with ready Spanish words or phrases or carry with you a Spanish-English dictionary as some of the drivers don’t speak English fluently. You can also use the coaches to get around the city. The city buses that are highly noticeable because of their vibrant hues are also another transportation option.
The city of Cordoba is the capital of the province of Cordoba. It is a city that is 2000 years old and it is a city that is packed with a very rich culture. The city was home to Moors at one time, then to Romans at another time. These settlers left their respective marks in the city of Cordoba which up to this day can still be very much seen around the area.
In 206 BC, Cordoba was ruled by the Romans. During the time of Julius Caeser, it was the city of Cordoba that was named the capital city of Hispania Ulterior Baetica, a Roman province. At this time, there were a lot of notable people in history that were produced from the great Roman Cordoba. The poet Lucan and the great Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus were among those that originated from the Roman capital city of Southern Spain.
The Moors’ rule over the city of Cordoba began in the year 711. Cordoba was then witnessing a lot of changes. First, it was named as the provincial capital of the Damascus Caliphate. This happened in 716.
Then 50 years after in 766, it became the provincial capital of al-Andalus, an independent Muslim emirate. It finally became a Caliphate in 1000 AD.
It was said that during this time of the Islamic ruling over the city, Cordoba was considered as the biggest city, one that had the most developed administrative system and the city that had the most refined culture in entire Europe.
The reason behind the city’s great progress and recognition during the earliest part of the tenth century was due to the three grand rulers Add-ar-Rahman III, who was the first Caliph; Al-Hakam II, his son; and Al-Mansur-Ibn Abi-Amir, also known as Almansor.
The fall of the city began when the mini-states surfaced. Their leaders lacked leadership skills and this paved way for the city of Cordoba to be recaptured by the Christians in 1236. This happened after several months of the cordon. It was King Ferdinand III of Castile that led the capture. He then divided the city to 14 barrios and also added a number of churches all over the city.
Cordoba declined after the renaissance period. During the 18th-century, its population dropped to 20,000, a huge difference from the time of the Islamic rule when it had up to 500,000 inhabitants. The economy also dropped after this time.
It was only during the 20th century that the city’s economy, as well as the population, began to increase. Now, the city is a thriving tourist spot that gives its visitors a peek at its rich culture through the architecture and the various festivals that were left by their early settles.
The city of Cordoba is capital to the province of Cordoba which has 14,000 square km of a landmass. It is part of Andalusia and is surrounded by the different provinces of Badajos, Ciudad Real, Granada, Jaen, Seville, and Malaga.
In the province of Cordoba, you will see different types of the landmass. It has mountain ranges in one area, rolling plains in another and villages that are adorned with courtyards, old churches, and forts in a different area. The capital city of Cordoba though is found in the depressed part of the Guadalquivir valley, on the banks of its river. It is bordered by Sierra Morena in the north.
An Antipodal City
One interesting fact about the city of Cordoba is that it is among the few cities in the entire world that has an antipode. An antipodal city is one that is diametrically opposed to another one. This means that a straight line can be traced from Cordoba and to its antipodal city and this line can also pass through the Earth’s center. Cordoba is an antipodal city to the city of Hamilton in New Zealand.
Places Surrounding Cordoba
Malaga which is also part of Andalusia is its second-largest populated city. It is considered as among the oldest cities in the whole world with its history dating back 2,700 years ago. Due to its rich culture has made it into an open museum that showcases its roosts from different eras of settlements. Aside from its proudly rich heritage, it is also home to world-renowned personalities like Pablo Picasso.
Seville is another city that can found around Cordoba. It is the capital of the province of Seville as well as of Andalusia. The city is considered as Southern Spain’s cultural and artistic capital.
Cuidad Real, also a city found in the outskirts of Cordoba, is where you will find The Museum of Don Quixote. The city is the capital of the province of Cuidad Real and it can be found in Castile-La Mancha.
The city of Badajoz, another city near Cordoba, in the province of Badajoz’s capital city. It is part of Extremadura and is situated near the Portuguese border. Badajoz still has remnants of its past occupants. The Moorish castle, that still has strong walls and forts surrounding it, is one beautiful sight to see. Aside from the castle, the other historical structures that can be seen in Badajoz also represent their turbulent history. The San Cristobal fort that can be reached through a granite bridge and a cathedral that looks like a fortress due to its massive walls are some of the examples of these types of structures.
Cordoba’s religious history is as rich as its vibrant culture. Because it has been home to different settlers that introduced their own religion into the city, it had at one time been home to the Moors, the Jews, and the Christians. All of these religions that have been part of the city left their religious history behind. Up until this day you could see the great structure that is the Great Mosque of Cordoba, the Cordoba Synagogue and a lot of churches that are of great architectural and cultural significance.
Great Religious Structures
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption was once the Great Mosque of Cordoba or the Mezquita. Originally, it was built as a Christian Visigothic church in 600 AD. Then it was bought by Abd ar-Rahman I during the Islamic rule and was transformed into a mosque. The transformation of the church took more than two centuries and was done by his descendants. The most notable feature of the building is the giant arches that had columns that were made up of marble, onyx, jasper, and granite. After the recovery of the city of Cordoba by the Christians, the building was then converted back into a church and is now used as the house of the cathedral of Cordoba’s diocese.
The Cordoba Synagogue, which was built in 1315, is another great structure that is witness to the city’s great religious history. It can be found in the Jewish quarter of the city. It was built by the architect Isaac Moheb and follows a Mudejar style. It was used by the Jewish believers of the city until 1492. After that, it became a home for different purposes. It was once a hydrophobic hospital and a nursery school. The building was proclaimed as a National Monument in 1885 and is now a museum.
Though Islam, Judaism, and other different religions are practiced by the people of Cordoba, it has now become a predominantly Christian city. This is evident in the numerous religious festivals that are practiced up to this day.
The Semana Santa or Holy Week is a very important occasion in the city. There are more than 30 parades that will happen during the observance of this occasion. People will line up on the streets to witness these parades as figures and pictures of different Saints are showcased and a group of men, known as Nazarenos, which are cloaked in dark robes join the procession.
The Crosses of May Festival is another religious festival that is witnessed in Cordoba. This is a competition for the most beautifully adorned and the flower-decorated cross. These crosses are placed all over the city.
There are also different pilgrimages that happen throughout the whole year.
The great historical structures and the numerous religious festivals that can be seen and experienced in the city are only some of the testimony to the city’s rich religiosity.
Like most Spanish, Cordobans, as what the people in Cordoba are commonly called, are warm and fun-loving individuals. Aside from enjoying the party scene and celebrations, these people are also known for their enthusiasm for learning and wisdom. As proof of this, a number of famous religious scholars and philosophers came from the city. Two of whom were Seneca and Ibn Hazm.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca or simply Seneca was a well-known dramatist, statesman, and Roman Stoic philosopher. Once an advisor and tutor to the emperor Nero, his works have been favored well by the early Christian Church. Church leader, Tertullian even referred to him as “Our Seneca”. Among the works attributed to Seneca were more than one hundred letters that tackle moral issues, a dozen of philosophical essays, nine tragedies, a meteorological essay, and a satire.
Abu Mu?ammad ‘Ali ibn A?mad ibn Sa’id ibn Hazm was an Andalusian philosopher, psychologist, jurist, theorist, and Muslim theologian during the classical Islamic times. Born into a notable family, Ibn Hazm was among the brains of the Zahiri school of Islamic Thought which was reported to have produced 400 works. The works encompass topics on Islamic logic, jurisprudence, history, comparative religion, theology, and ethics.
Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, known in English simply as Lucan, was a known Roman poet. Despite living a short life, Lucan is still regarded as among the Silver Latin period’s most outstanding figures. The Cordoban’s speed of composition, aside from his youth, has set him apart from the many poets that time.
Juan de Mena
Born in Cordoba in 1411, Juan de Mena was one of the fifteenth century’s most important Spanish poets. Appointed as the secretary of Latin letters by Juan II de Castilla, de Mena’s works were influenced by Renaissance humanism. Thus, his works were placed during the time when Spain is having its transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.
A Spanish flamenco guitarist, Paco Peña is regarded as one of the world’s important traditional flamenco players. As the creator of Cordoba’s Centro Flamenco Paco Peña, the artist was responsible for the city’s annual Córdoba Guitar Festival. The festival has been a venue for seeing great flamenco artists perform in one stage.
From philosophers, scholars, and artists, tourists can expect the Cordobans to be no-nonsense people. Expect an experience full of fun and meaning as you get to know and get along with these locals.
When you want to complete your Cordoba experience, make sure that you know a phrase or two of the native tongue before you depart and head for home. Language may be a barrier for you to totally indulge yourself in a Cordoba but as the saying goes, “if there is a will then there is a way”. Learn the Spanish language in one of Spain’s finest cities.
Why Learn Spanish in Cordoba?
It is a fact that Spanish remains the third language used worldwide. Your Cordoba tour is both educational and fun at the same time. You can learn a new language and apply it in your daily stay in Cordoba, you wouldn’t have a hard time finding someone to practice your Spanish skills with. The Cordobans would appreciate any foreigner or tourist who could at least utter a greeting or say “thank you” in their native tongue. When you get to know the Spanish language when in Cordoba, it would be much convenient and easier for you to interact and connect with the locals.
The Options that You Have when Learning Spanish
There are different language training schools and facilities to choose from when you want to learn the native language; all you have to do is choose which would best suit your learning style and environment.
The first option is you go hit the books, books hold a fountain of knowledge. Buy self-help, self-tutorial Spanish books to help you out with the basics. What more, these books are handy-sized so they are easy to carry around during your tours. You can just flip through the pages if you somehow forgot a term or phrase that you need at the moment. Learn a few words in the Spanish language before you jump into that plane to Cordoba. Best be prepared prior to your trip. But if you’re already there, you can stroll through the many bookstores and libraries along the sidewalks during your strolls. Cordova has more or less 70 libraries!
If you want a more subtle and consistent approach, then opt for Spanish audiobooks. Theses are available on stores or you can order online. This is the best option for those who decide to stay a while longer in Cordoba. You can learn while jogging or just relaxing in the tub, it is discreet and you can use it anytime of the day and at any moment.
If you want a more personal and on-hand experience, then enroll yourself in Spanish classes with other tourists. COINED offers Spanish courses and is conveniently located near the town square. You can always keep your Spanish skills on the track and you can get more interaction and practice from the lecturers and students.
Lastly, if you want to go high-tech, then you can go online and find a website that offers a Spanish language course. It is preferred for those who multitask who want to spend their whole day outside Cordoba but can still enhance their Spanish skills during their breaks or at the end of the day. You can hone both your technical and Spanish skills by chatting, using webcams, and phone chats with natives and other online students.