Saturday, 9 February 2013

Mini Guide to Córdoba

Córdoba in Spain's Andalucían region wears its history well.
From Roman town to Islamic caliphate and now the capital of the province of Córdoba, the city combines all that Andalucía is known for in interestingly diverse architecture and cuisine.


Once a Roman fortress, the castle became the residence of the Christian kings from whence the conquest of the Nasrid kingdom and the journey which led to the discovery of America were planned. Climbing the towers affords wonderful views across the Jewish Quarter, along the river, of the Royal Stables next door and the Moorish designed gardens with their water features. 

Entrance fee is €6.80.

Casa Andalusí
This small house could be easily missed as you walk up the lane from the synagogue. Lovingly restored to reflect a typical andalus house it is quaint and informative. The small rooms and courtyards provide information on how life used to be and still give off a sense of tranquillity. 

Calle Judios 12. A very reasonable entrance fee of €2.50

Palacio de Viana
In the Santa Marina district of the city the palace offers a view of the aristocratic lives of Córdoban gentry and 12 beautiful courtyard gardens. Even when not in full bloom in the winter months the gardens offer a tranquil setting.  Opening Hours: Tues - Fri 10:00 - 19:00; W/end and holidays 10:00 - 15:00. Closed Mondays. (July and August - 09:00 - 15:00) 
Entrance fee and accompanied tour of the palace - €8

Religious Buildings

Cathedral/Mosque - Mezquita
The highlight of tours to Córdoba this is the only mosque to cathedral conversion in Spain. The seemingly endless columns and arches transfix the eye but be sure to check out the Islamic artwork and the cathedral itself. Entrance fee €8

Built in the Mudejar style, it is one of the few remaining pre-expulsion synagogues in Spain. It was near here that the Jewish philosopher Maimonedes (whose statue is feet away) was born. Small it is nonetheless an intersting visit.

Calle de los Judios 20 Entrance - free

San Pedro Church
The Iglesia de San Pedro is believed to be located over a previous edifice housing the remains of the Córdoban martyrs Januarius, Martial and Faustus, dating to the 4th century AD. San Pedro is one of many churches built in the city to give a Christian appeal to the previously Muslim city.

View Córdoba Mini Travel Guide in a larger map


Pedroche Gitana
Slightly out of town and not in the most salubrious of areas this is nonetheless a fantastic place to hear Spanish guitar and watch flamenco dancing. A wonderful experience away from the usual tourist traps.

Taberna Salinas
A restaurant with authentic feel and dishes. The oxtail (rabo del torro) is highly recommended by all who have had it. 
Closed on Sundays and the whole of August.

Bodega Rafael Guzmán
In the winding streets of the Jewish Quarter (La Judería) is a popular establishment with the locals. Montilla is served straight from the barrels and can be enjoyed with tapas of ham and cheese. A glass of montilla is only €1.


Hotel Los Patios
Situated in front of the main entrance to the cathedral this hotel could not be better situated for exploring the city. The rooms are basic (but with air-con) but with prices starting at €39 for a double room in low season it is good value.
Hotel Conquistador Córdoba
A central hotel that has some of the ruins of the old mosque incorporated into it. Rooms range from a single to a suite, all with air-con, Wi-fi and TVs. Prices are around €100 for a double room with breakfast in low season.
Palacio del Bailio
A 5 star boutique hotel with spa and pool in the centre of the city, it is a Cultural Heritage Monument as well as modern place to stay. Wi-fi and TVs in each room. Prices are around €160 for a double room with breakfast in low season.


Getting There

Córdoba is connected to the rest of Andalucía via reasonably priced and frequent bus and train services.

There is a local airport but currently no scheduled flights land there. The nearest major airports are Málaga and Sevilla which would then a require train or bus journey to reach Córdoba.

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