Cordoba

If you are looking for an Andalucian city to visit in spring look no further than Cordoba.

Cordoba is quiet during the winter months but bursts into life from mid-April to mid-June, when the skies are blue but the heat is still tolerable (by the end of June only the maddest of dogs and Englishmen will venture out in the midday sun !) and the city’s many gardens and courtyards are bursting with foliage and blooms. One of Cordoba’s finest gardens is the one above : the garden of the Alcazaba de los Reyes Cristianos.

Cordoba is ideal for those who like to eat well, explore on foot, discover old bodegas and delight in architectural wonders. The city was founded by the Romans and due to its strategic importance as the highest navigable point of the Guadalquivir River, it became a port of great importance, used for shipping Spanish produce back to Ancient Rome. The Romans built the mighty bridge (“El Puente Romano”.) crossing the river. Cordoba became one of the greatest cities in the medieval world when it became the capital of the Moorish kingdom of Al-Andalus, and this was when work began on the Great Mosque, or “Mezquita”, which became one of the largest in the Islamic world.

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When the city was reconquered by the Christians in 1236, the new rulers of the city were so awed by it’s beauty that they left it standing, building their cathedral in the midst of it’s rows of arches and columns, and creating the church-mosque we see today.

The city’s heart needs no introduction, for its fame is widespread: the magnificent Mezquita pulls thousands of tourists into its arched interior every day.

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The winding, narrow streets of the Juderia (Jewish quarter) are a beautiful and atmospheric setting for a romantic evening stroll. During the day they stretch out from the great mosque like a labyrinth leading to picturesque squares and shady flower-filled courtyards. In early May, homeowners proudly festoon their patios with flowers to compete in the city’s “most beautiful courtyard” contest…another date for the diary !

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