Cordoba is a mid-sized city of 350,000 inhabitants located in the center of Andalucia. A great cultural reference point in Europe, this ancient city has been declared a World Heritage Site and contains a mixture of the diverse cultures that have settled it throughout history. Very few places in the world can boast of having been the capital of a Roman province (Hispania Ulterior), the capital of an Arab State (Al-Andalus) and a Caliphate. Such splendor is palpable in the intellectual wealth of the city, which has seen the birth of figures like Seneca, Averroes, and Maimonides. The historic quarter of Cordoba is a beautiful network of small streets, alleys, squares and whitewashed courtyards arranged around the Mezquita, which reflects the city’s prominent place in the Islamic world during medieval times. Just about everything of interest in Cordoba is within easy walking distance (the one notable exception being the Medina Azahara).
Moving around in Cordoba is generally ok, except at the old parts of the city (Jewish Quarter) which have old stoned pavement and some hills. Here is an accessible route that may help you get around in Cordoba: Accessible itinerary of Cordoba
WHAT TO SEE IN CORDOBA
Mosque–Cathedral of Cordoba: Also known as the Great Mosque of Cordoba and the Mezquita, is the Catholic cathedral of the Diocese of Córdoba dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and located near the city centre. The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba is considered to be the most important monument of all the Western Islamic world and its structure is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture. The Great Mosque has two different areas: the courtyard or “arcade sahn“, where the “alminar” (minaret) is constructed and the “haram” or praying hall. The interior space consists of numerous columns and red and white arches giving a strong chromatic effect to the hall. The Cathedral is wheelchair accessible as there are ramps wherever they are needed.
Old City: One of the many areas with much to see is the old city surrounding the Mezquita, yet there are loads of amazing and unique old neighborhoods everywhere, that’s why Córdoba has the second largest Old town in Europe, the largest urban area in the world declared World Heritage by UNESCO. The Old City is a tangle of medieval-style streets roughly bounded by the Guadalquivir River on the south, the area surrounding Plaza de las Tendillas on the north and the tree-lined Paseo de la Victoria on the west. This area is crammed with places to stay, eat and buy souvenirs, and it is also next to the tiny streets of the Jewish Quarter to the west and north of the Mezquita.
Roman bridge of Cordoba: The Roman bridge of Cordoba is included in the small preserved area known as Sotos de la Albolafia and was built in the early 1st century BC across the Guadalquivir river. It currently, after the Islamic reconstruction, has 16 arcades, one less than the original ones. The bridge has a total length of 247 meters and a width of around 9 meters. At one end of the bridge stands the Calahorra Tower, a defensive tower, while at the other end is the Puerta del Puente (entrance of the bridge). There is a small shrine and statue of St. Raphael in the middle of the bridge, done by the sculptor Bernabe Gomez del Rio in 1651, where the devout burn candles.
Plaza del Potro: Just a few minutes away from the Mezquita, is the Plaza del Potro (Square of the Colt), a long, rectangular square which slopes down towards the Guadalquivir river to the south. The one end of the square has a fountain topped by the figure of a colt with its legs raised holding a sign with the coat of arms of the city. This Renaissance-style fountain was made back in 1577, and the colt which gives its name to the square was added almost a century later. Initially, plaza del Potro was conceived as a home run, fully enclosed space, not rectangular and open as it is now. The urban changes have responded to various needs that the city had to cover over the last decades.
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