CORDOBA AND ITS IMPRESSIVE MEZQUITA

After spending four wonderful days in the city of Sevilla and celebrating the unforgettable and incomparable Feria de Abril, we began planning our way back home to The Netherlands. On our way back home, we would like to still see as much as possible and visit some major Spanish cities. Our first stop was CORDOBA.

 With a little bit of reluctance, we left Sevilla on a Friday morning and drove 140 kilometers to reach Cordoba. We were able to find a parking place near the football stadium Nuevo Estadio del Arcangel and the Recinto Ferial. It is a mix-parking, about 20 minutes walk to the city center. The parking is near the Centro Comercial El Arcangel. A big market is held near the parking every Sunday.

 Campsite : Avenida Compositor Rafael Castro

                     14003 Cordoba

Coordinates :   N: 37.87508       W:  4.76586

IMG_20160418_092600 (500x375)

 THE CITY OF CORDOBA

Cordoba, which lies 122 meters above sea level and located in the southern part of Spain, is the capital of the province of Cordoba. Its historic center is included in UNESCO world heritage list. It was once one of the most important cities in the world; the numerous monuments which still stand until now are living evidence of the city’s past glory! At present, Cordoba is a cultural city and one of the best preserved cities in Europe.

 HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR VISIT TO CORDOBA

  1. MEZQUITA CATHEDRAL

A visit to Cordoba is not complete without a visit to its most important monument, the MEZQUITA. Built in the 8th century as a mosque, it was converted as a cathedral in the 13th century after the Christians conquered the city. The most impressive parts of the Mezquita are its 400 columns which are in full glory to be seen and admired inside the cathedral.  In the middle is the Catholic altar. It is surely the grandest and most impressive mosque ever built in Spain.

 The entrance to the mezquita is 8 euro per person. A little pricey…But, if you are an early bird and you want to save, the entrance to the cathedral is free Monday to Saturday from 8:30-9:30. We did just that, and it saved us 16 euro! What we thought to be a quiet cathedral visit was proven to be wrong! In fact, there were also many tourists like us who wanted to save who were visiting the cathedral so early in the morning!   Though it was a bit dark in the cathedral, that one hour was just enough to admire the inside beauty of the cathedral.

 2. ALCAZAR DELOS REYES CRISTIANOS

The Alcazar delos Reyes Cristianos is the royal palace in Cordoba which served as protection and residence of some of the members of the Spanish royalty, among them Isabelle and Ferdinand. The construction style of the palace was a mixture of  Islamitic and Christian . There are beautiful landscaped gardens inside the palace grounds, and it has lots of flowers, trees, small ponds and fountains, all in all contributing to the beauty of the monument.

 Entrance to the palace is 4.50. There are special prices and discounts for children and retired persons. And again, Hans was able to get in for free!

 3. PATIOS OF CORDOBA

A unique feature of the city of Cordoba is its patios. These are gardens found in the central inner space of the houses. The residents fill them with beautiful flowering plants and small tress, which do not only provide cool and extra fresh air during warm days, but also a feast to the eyes with all the plants in full bloom! The area where these patios are open to be admired is in San Basilio. Here, one can avail of the Patio tour and get to see the hidden gems and beauty of Cordoba’s houses. We were however unfortunate to join this tour as it was already after 2 pm on a Sunday when we arrived this area. Too bad. We were however able to have a peep to some of the houses 🙂

4.  FLAMENCO SHOW

Flamenco dance is the soul of Andalucia. No dance is so intense and so passionate as the flamenco. Understandably that we had to witness this dance ourselves. Luckily we saw a reasonably good restaurant which offered a free flamenco show during dinner. It was at Federacion de Penas, located at Calle Conde y Luque and is near the cathedral. Guests could choose from four different menus, or could also order from the menucard. Included is an hour of flamenco show with a short break every half hour performance. It was a delightful evening, with good food and good show and affordable dinner! We had our first experience of the flamenco. It might not be as grand and as sophisticated as the other shows in better venues with more expensive fees; but what we have experienced that night gave us a taste of the magic of the dance.

 5. GETTING LOST IN CORDOBA

Just like any other historic city, the city of Cordoba possesses also a historic center where one can easily get lost in its long narrow and winding streets. The best way to get lost is to wander in the Jewish quarter where some of the city’s old monuments are found like the old synagogue, some old noble houses, arab baths, taurino museum and some of the really narrow streets. A long stroll at the river bank of Guadalquivir then crossing the old Roman Bridge gave us also a good impression of the city. The Roman bridge was a busy place especially that Sunday afternoon when we did our walks. From here, you have the view of the mezquita on one side, and the Torre de Calahorra on the other side. Also we got to see the old watermills that are found in the middle of the river!

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