Visiting Cordoba - What to See and Do
(Cordoba Airport ODB, Spain)
The Andalucian city of Cordoba is at a crossroads of civilisations. Once the Roman capital of Hispania Ulterior (the Arab-province of Al-Andalus) and an Islamic Caliphate, the city is quite spectacular. When it comes to tourism, sightseeing in Cordoba steals the spotlight. The rich diversity and unique structures that line the streets of the city create an ambience unmatched in Spain
Magnificent sights like the Mezquita's forest of columns, the historic Roman Bridge and the imposing Alcazar are swarming with ancient influences from both Roman and Arabian times. The Mezquita is an ideal example of classic Islamic architecture in this part of Andalucia. Interestingly, the edifice was built as a mosque in the 8th century, but nowadays is used as a proud Catholic cathedral.
Drinking, dancing and festivities are a common attraction within the city, which happens to be one of Spain's most dynamic destinations. May is commonly nicknamed 'the Month of Cordoba', on account of the many festivals and celebrations hosted each May. The Feria de Cordoba, Festival de Patios and Cruces de Mayo are accompanied by plenty of other non-May celebrations, including Carnaval in February and Semana Santa in March.
Ten things you must do in Cordoba
- The Mezquita is the heart and soul of Cordoba's tourism industry, and is a real must see site. The soaring bell tower is only part of this attraction's main features. The forest of columns found inside the structure is breathtaking. However, the central Cathedral is the main aspect of the Mezquita.
- Visitors should take in the beautiful sight of the Roman Bridge. Even though the bridge crosses the shallow Guadalquivir River, it is more widely known as a symbol of the city than an entrance route. The beautiful arch and monument found upon the bridge are stunning features of the structure.
- Formerly used as the fortified entrance into Cordoba, the Museum of Al Andalus Life takes visitors through the history of Cordoba and Andalucia, especially during the Muslim conquering of the region. There are plenty of relics and artefacts to view inside, while in addition, a balcony atop the museum provides ideal views of the city and its famous Roman Bridge.
- For an interesting look at Cordoba's history through medieval structures, visit the Alcazar de los Reyes Christianos (commonly called the Alcazar). Plenty of Roman artefacts and relics, including an intriguing Roman sarcophagus, can be discovered here. Of note, the fortress was first erected in the 8th century.
- The Viana Palace is not really a palace so to speak. It is more like a large residence-turned-museum. The residence was formerly the dwelling of the Marquise of Viana, but nowadays contains a wondrous array of medieval relics, including a massive library, muskets, leathers, documents and several well-landscaped gardens.
- About 5 km / 3 miles outside of downtown Cordoba is the Medina Azahara. It is one of Spain's most important archaeological sites, boasting the ruins of Western Caliphate. Tourism buses operate daily from the centre of town to site of Medina Azahara. Admission fees are minimal.
- Located within the Victoria Gardens (Jardines de la Victoria) is the Roman Mausoleum. This large, cylindrical attraction was built in the 1st century, making it one of the oldest structures still standing in Andalucia today.
- Surrounding the surreal Old Town is the wall system, which has become a fascinating landmark in itself. However, out of the 13 gates that once dotted the Old Town, only three remain, namely the Puerta de Almodovar, Puerta de Sevilla and Puerta del Puenta. Tourists need to bring a camera, as the walls and gates are extremely photogenic.
- The Plaza del Potro is a must visit, even if tourists are active adventurers. This small but lively square is an ideal place to sit and watch the city of Cordoba pass by. The Fine Arts Museum is also located at the square, so visitors may choose to explore the beautiful artistic masterpieces on display at this gallery.
- One of the most popular streets in the city, especially when it comes to tourism, is Calleja de las Flores. This small, narrow street leads from an intersection with Velazquez Bosco and finishes at a small plaza close to the Great Mosque of Cordoba. The alleyway is famously lined with flowers, adding a touch of elegance to this landmark.