On our first evening in Cordoba, we spotted an advert for night walking tours of the City, organised by the tourist office. This sounded like an interesting way to get to know the city and gave us a much needed alternative to an evening wine and tapas.
The tours cost 15 Euro per person and leave from outside the tourist office at Plaza Tendillas at 8.30 most evenings. Tours must be pre-booked at one of the tourist office kiosks around the city.
Tours are available in French, English and Spanish though if groups are small they can be mixed. There were 6 people in our group - 4 English speakers and 2 Spanish speakers - so our guide talked in both Spanish and English.
The tour lasted two hours and covered much of the old town. What was surprising was how quiet it was everywhere and how few people were about, even near the Mezquita. Our guide was informative though he didn't really seem too interested or make the history come alive the way some tour guides might.
After 1.5 hours of walking we ended the tour with a free tapas and wine in Bodegas Mezquita, a popular tapas bar near the Mezquita.
One can almost feel the pain and sorrow a Jewish family must have felt, being expelled from Cordoba (or from Spain) and taking leave of this lovely 12th century home.
Only the ground floor is open to visitors. There is a second and possibily a third floor.
Entrance is €2,50 (US$3.75).
Centered on the discovery of a 14th Century room that may have been a mikva (ritual bath) associated with the synagogue discovered near-by.
The Casa Sefarad is devoted to the Sephardi history of Cordoba incorporating the Jewish/Spanish/Islamic culture of the area.
I found the Women from Al-Andalus room fascinating. I had previously had no idea that women had taken such a prominent part in the intellectual life of that period - in which Christian, Jewish, and Islamic cultures shared ideas, philosophies and art. The women poets were exceptional.
The Jewish Quarter of Cordoba room was closed for renovations. A disappointment since that was the major reason I had made the trek here! The Celebrations and Holidays room is a bit mundane, it could use some creativity applied to it.
Entry 4€ (wth discount 3€)
Cordoba was one of the most important Roman cities in Spain, but few remains of the Roman splendour can be found in the city. This temple located near the Plaza de las Tendillas was part of the Imperial Forum. The temple was dedicated to Augustus, Ceasar´s successor. It´amazing to find such variety of cultures in a city (Roman, Mudejar, Medieval), that is one of the things why i found Cordoba specially interesting.
The Jardines del Campo de la Merced or simply the Merced Gardens are not to be confused with the Botanical Gardens. The Merced Gardens are just across the street from the Palacio y Jardines de la Merced and are a beautiful place to take a break from your walking trip in Cordoba.
In the old city of Cordoba you will find the Palacio y Jardines de le Merced and the gardens across the street. A beautiful building this convent was where Christopher Colombus stayed. When we were there a protest with live-ins was going on, but nobody spoke English so if you have any idea what the protest was shown on the last photo, please tell us.
Next to the synagoge is a small understated plaza where there is a statue of the reknown Jewish philosopher, teacher, doctor, Maimonides. A young man with a guitar extolled the virtues Maimonides. Recognized by Thomas Aquinas, the sense of harmony within the Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions represented was almost palpable. The right foot of the statue was shiny, as those that rub it are to get good fortune.
The museum of archeology is an understated museum of mostly Roman artifacts found in the surrounding area. Many statues, tiled floors, pottery. It certainly gives a sense of the importance of Cordoba 2,000 years ago. Some of the statues were fantastic and the detailed tile floors were exquisite. The only downside was that they did not allow photographs inside.
The Mizquita Cathedral is built like a Spanish home with the relatively blank exterior walls and then you pass through a door or portal into the interior courtyard which has rooms all around it. Here you can see the centeral courtyard with its trees, be careful when we were there it was under repair and the footing was quite tricky at times. From the courtyard you can access the main chamber where you will see the beautiful arched pillars, the bright lively colors seem to make it alive and animated.
Mezquita Cathedral or the "Great Mosque", no matter how it is called, the interior is beautiful. You can see from these photos that the exterior in many places is just a large WALL, although even here you can see many decorative details, especially around windows and doorways. It began its life as a Moslem Mosque and was later changed by the Chrisitans to a Cathedral. Today it is a tourist attraction. We walked around the walls outside and visited the courtyard and even peeked into the interior, but we were on our way to the Alhambra in Grenada, so did not pay the high price of a ticket to the interior.
It's a narrow alley that starts from the middle of Calle Velazquez Bosco, with small arches that connect the two sides.
Flower pots hangs from the outside walls of the houses. All the walls are white, shing in the sun, the windows are pale blue and the flowers are mainly red.
A very nice view, pure arabic architecture, you could think you're walking through the streets of Oran or Tunis.
At the other bottom there is a tiny square, with an orange tree and some nice portals.
We had seen La Mezquita, the Alcazar, eaten lunch, walked around the Juderia, saw some Roman ruins, visited La Mezquita again, and now we were just killing time until the restaurants opened for dinner at 8:00 pm. Cordoba gets very hot in the summer, and on this particular day temps were soaring to 104 degrees F. A museum that needed air conditioning to protect all of its valuable works of art seemed like the perfect Thing to Do activity. So, we trotted off to the Archeological Museum.
It was a good idea, but we completely misjudged the temperature thing. Apparently, Cordoban antiquities are very hearty and can survive blazing hot temps. The museum is NOT air conditioned as everything is pretty much open. The museum is a two story building with an open courtyard, and its exhibits are on both stories.
Looking back now, as I sit in my climate controlled office, I have to say that the museum had a very impressive exhibit. There were Roman mosaics (although not as well preserved as those in the Alcazar), old pots and urns, beautiful old statues and scuptures dating back many centuries. If this museum was in the US, it would be a very big deal. Definitely worth the visit. Just don't expect air conditioning.
Head in a northwest direction away from La Mezquita, and when you leave the Juderia, you should come upon the ruins of an Roman Temple. It won't even cost you anything to look. It was pretty remarkable seeing these old columns in the midst of much more recently built buildings.
The Arab wall surrounded and fortified the town but today only a stretch of the wall and some of its entrances remain. Gateways surviving in the wall are: Seville Gate, dating from the 10th century, located between Puerta de Sevilla street and Avenida del Corregidor; Almodóvar, or Jews’ Gate and Puente Gate, next to the Cathedral which was rebuilt in the 16th century. Two arches can still be seen in the old town – Portillo and Belén.
La muralla árabe rodeaba y fortificaba la ciudad, actualmente sólo quedan restos de lienzo y algunas de sus puertas. Las puertas que se conservan de la muralla son: la de Sevilla del siglo X, ubicada entre la calle Puerta de Sevilla y la Avenida del Corregidor; la puerta de Almodóvar o de los judíos y la del Puente junto a la catedral y reconstruida en el siglo XVI. También se conservan dos arcos, dentro del casco histórico, el del Portillo y el de Belén.
The Botanic Garden of Cordoba is a public foundation regulated by the City Council of Cordoba and the University of Cordoba. As an institution dedicated to the study of the plant world, its functions and projects are aimed at nature conservation and environmental education. It play a social, didactic and scientific role in its tours of the garden, education programs, cultural events, exhibits, conferences, congresses, scientific and educational publications, genetic plant resources conservation program and botanical research. Since its opening in 1987, the Botanic Garden of Cordoba has thus become an institution with far-reaching influence on a social level and considerable international prestige
El jardín botánico de Córdoba es una institiución pública regulada por el ayuntamiento y la universidad de Córdoba. Se dedica al estudio del mundo vegetal, que desarrolla funciones y proyectos encaminados a la conservación y difusión cultural de la naturaleza.
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