If you have an hour or so to spare between connections at Córdoba Central railway station, why not use the opportunity to admire the ruins of an imperial Roman palace which are located adjacent to the station. In fact the remains of the palace were discovered when excavating for the station in 1991, and most of them were destroyed forever because the railway runs right through them.
Access to the excavation site is free, so are a leaflet in Spanish and a more concise one in English. Unfortunately opening hours are limited because the site is guarded by volunteers. If you come outside these hours you can only observe the ruins through the fence.
The order to build the palace is attributed to emperor Maximiliano, who may or may not have used it as living quarters for waging a war in North Africa. It was constructed in the years 293 through 305 AD. The name Cercadilla refers to a town of which the palace was the centre. In the 4th century AD some of the buildings were re-used as a place of Christian worship, and Mozarab burial sites have been discovered in the area.
In fact Cercadilla city was so extensive (600 x 650 m2), that apart from the main one several smaller excavation sites can be seen by walking around, but these are fenced in and poorly maintained. We found a homeless man residing in a corner of the site with remains of an aquaduct behind the bus station; man and site victims of the financial crises?
Opening Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 10am .. 2pm. Closed on Monday and Tuesday as well as on public holidays. When you come at the wrong time or day, you can only observe the ruins from outside the fence.
Directly across the street from the Mezquita on Calle Torrijos is what was once the Episcopal Palace. Before that, this site was part of the Alcazar where the Moorish caliphs lived. Today it serves as the Diocesan Museum.
As museums go this one was somewhat small. It was packed with great artwork-paintings, sculpture, tapestries. As i remember the descriptions were all in Spanish (I'm not sure anymore though.) If you like religious art you will love this museum. The illustrated prayer books and manuscripts were something special for me. The have a particularly good collection of items from the Middle Ages, and you get to see how stark the change was to the later styles.
One name that rang a bell somewhat later. Julio Romero de Torres, the Cordoban painter. There was a painting of his in this museum. If you go to the Torres Museum on the Plaza del Potro you will be most surprised at the contrast with his more controversial works.
The morning of my visit (and it was quite early as i remember) I was the only one in the museum and the staff were eager to answer my questions. They gently advised me that flash was not permitted but gave me a great detailed tour and suggested that i should take a look at this or that for further reference. I got a great shot of the Roman Bridge from the Director's balcony. Gracias!
(note- you can get some nice shots of the Belltower from this museum.)
Update 2013- Museum closed temporarily for restoration.
Cordoba was conquered by the Romans in 206 BC. The initial settlement was later moved a bit to take advantage of the Guadalquivir and its use for trade. This new settlement became the capital of Hispania Ulterior (literally"the far reaches of Spain") Roman patricians moved in to settle and claim their share of the spoils of the new land. For the Romans it had all the advantages. A fertile land, location on the main highway, a river.
Few reminders of Roman rule remain in Cordoba today. Perhaps the most obvious is the Roman Bridge across the Guadalquivir. An aqueduct and forum were built. Large city walls were built, befitting the commercial function of the city. Cordoba was known for its orators and philosophers, relatively little is known about the "non-elites" the plebians and their life under Roman rule.
In 1950 the remains of a Roman temple were discovered. Today you can see the foundations and the large marble pillars located at the intersection of Claudio Marcello and Capitulares. Construction began under the reign of Claudius (41-54 AD) and ended some 40 years later. You will run into a few marble drums and other Roman remnants around town, there is a good exhibtion at the Archeological museum as well. As archeologists uncover more then a more complete picture of Roman Cordoba might emerge.
The Archaeological Museum of Cordoba has a complete collection spanning from prehistory to the Middle Ages. The museum is arranged over two floors and patios. It has a significant collection dedicated to local archeology and prehistory, with elements of the cultures Iberian, Roman and Visigoth. Also interesting are the Islamic, Mudejar, Gothic and Renaissance pieces. For its historical and artistic value must highlight the Iberian Lion New Carteya and Roman sculpture of the god Mithra.
El Museo Arqueológico de Córdoba cuenta con una colección muy completa que abarca desde la Prehistoria hasta la Edad Media. El contenido del museo se encuentra distribuido en dos plantas y varios patios. Cuenta con una significativa colección dedicada a la Prehistoria y la arqueología locales, con elementos de las culturas ibérica, romana y visigoda. También son interesantes las piezas islámicas, mudéjares, góticas y renacentistas. Por su valor histórico-artístico hay que destacar el León Ibérico de Nueva Carteya y la escultura romana del dios Mithra.
Wenesday to Saturday: 9.00am-20.30pm
Sunday: 9.00 am-14.30pm
Originally, the water wheel, which was located closer to the present episcopal palace, where the Moorish palace was, drew water from the Guadalquivir River. Through a complicated system of cisterns and channels, it provided water for the palace as well as the flour mills on the river. Queen Isabella had the water wheel moved because of the noise from the pumps. Historians argue that the water wheel was installed by the Romans, not the Arabs.
Right off the Plaza del Potro is a complex that apparently has survived the centuries relatively unchanged.
The Posada (Inn) del Potro was an inn mentioned by Cervantes in Don Quixote. Apparently he had lived there for an undetermined time and mentioned it as a "den of thieves." He also used the scene and place as inspiration used in some of his work. Several sources say that there was a high concentration of inns, small taverns and the like in this area of the city as recently as the 19th century before they gave way to more modern uses.
It is shown as a typical example of this sort of building from the 15th century. If what you see today is any indication the rooms must have been tiny. The central courtyard had the stables on the bottom level.
Today the posada is is used as a cultural center focusing on the flamenco, historically and artistically. This function is fairly new and would be a good addition to Cordoba's cultural offerings. Given that so many visitors see the flamenco displayed it would be great to be able to understand its history and origins a little better to get a more complete understanding.
This serves as Cordoba's main square. It lies supposedly near the location of the ancient Roman Forum. Today it serves as the commercial center of Cordoba, the main avenues radiate outwards from it.
there is a great little cafe in the middle of it, one of the locals, curious as to how i could speak spanish, offered a shot of aguaardiente (no thanks!). Since it is open very early it is popular for locals on their way to work
The equestrian statue is of the Gran Capitan, an Andalusian nobleman who grew up in Cordoba that was a well known military man in the service of the Reyes Catolicos
It is the gathering places where the locals celebrate the coming of the New Year.
King Felipe II, a devout horseman himself and lover of the purebred Andalusian horse, ordered the foundation of the Royal Stables in Cordoba in 1570. These stables were built on land belonging to the Catholic Monarchs. Curiously you have the same motif of arches in the stables.
This is a nice sight to see for the kids especially. There are regular shows and events
entrance fee- 15 euros for adults, 10 for children
Every July the city of Cordoba hosts a guitar festival, inviting prominent guitarists. Cordoba has a long history of involvement and excellence in the arts, particularly flamenco related.
this is held the first two weeks in July.
The Archeological Museum is new, small and made up of mostly Roman artifacts, some interesing. The best piece imo is the carved stela found in Ategro (from the Late Bronze age).
The museum also incorporates, as Courtyard III, the remains of a Roman Public area, which adjoined the Roman theatre. The tiers of seats and the flooring are the original with other remains of the area placed on and around them.
Walking to and from this museum is worthwhile in itself. It takes you to another part of the Old City with some surprising and very pleasing sudden open squares, stairs from the 19th Century and even a bit of greenery with water fountains.
Do pick up a pamphlet at the entrance to the museum. All of the signs and explanations in the museum itself are in Spanish and Catalan only.
Entry and pamphlet free.
No photos permitted.
Cordoba is located between Sevilla and Granada. All 3 cities are part of Andalucia.
While visiting Cordoba (better in May, and again from September), there are list of places I visited when I was student.
It's all depend in how long you want to stay in Cordoba, but if you are having enough time, here are some of the things you might want to do:
1. The Cordoba Cathedral - beautiful and very impressive one,
2. Alcazar de Los Reyes Cristianos - The Palace of The Christian Kings - stands on the banks of Cordoba’s Guadalquivir river
3. Medina Azahara - few miles west of Córdoba
6. Take a walk at downtown of Cordoba, same as narrow aliens of the city
7. Juderia - Jewish Quarter
8. Museo Archeologico de Cordoba (not a must, only if you like it or have some extra time, it is not at the top of the list but I went there with a friend how is a fun)
9. Botanical Garden - always beautiful and relaxing and a great place to have some good photos (unless you got robbed,,,,)
10. Roman Bridge - it is just a few steps from the Mezquita to the river Rio Guadalquivir, crossed by the Roman Bridge.
We skip a school day, and joined to our Spanish friend on his way to Cordoba.
We left Malaga early in the morning and arrive Cordoba tow hours later
It was a beautiful sunny day, and we had the chance to walk around and see a little bit of the city.
Since the next day was a MUST in school ,we had to leave Cordoba at the same day, going back to Malaga.
And even though I stayed in Spain 4 years more since then, I never had the chance to visit the city again.
I've only visited Cordoba for one single day, while I was on my way to Madrid.
Since I completely bribed about anything that got to do with Spain - then Toledo is not out of the ordinary in that issue....
Cordoba has many beautiful plazas. One of the largest and most impressive is Plaza de la Corredera, located about 10 minutes walk north of the Mezquita.
It's a rectangular shaped plaza, which contains columns and columns of 17th century arcades. Overlooking the square are medieval houses, many with balconies. In medieval times, the plaza was used for bullfighting, with the balconies providing an excellent view of the fights.
Later, the square hosted horse races, while it was also the location for burning heretics in the Inquisition. Nowadays there is a small market on one side of the square, as well as a couple of outdoor cafes with terraces.
Cordoba is best known for the Mezquita and its buildings from when the Moors ruled the city, but before the Muslim's took control, Cordoba was a Roman city - indeed, it was under the Romans that the city first came to prominence.
The famous Roman philosopher, Seneca, was born in the city, and the city grew to become the capital of Baetica province, roughly equivalent to modern day Andalucia. However, there isn't too much evidence of Roman Cordoba around today. Perhaps the most extensive ruins are at the Roman Temple, close to Plaza Corredera, in the centre of the city.
The ruins stand incongruously amidst modern buildings in a busy city centre square. They look like they are still been excavated and there is nothing to visit here yet - for now they can only be admired from a distance.
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