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Spain Inland Locations-Guide

Information about Córdoba

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( 308.072 inhabitants) Capital of the province

History

Archaeological finds found in the neighbourhood of Naranjo prove the city was inhabited from three hundred thousand years. However, it will be by the end of the 2nd millennium a.C. when a stable settlement establishes in the hill of the Quemados, now the park Cruz Conde. This tartesso village received the name of  Corduba, which means “ altozano junto al rìo”.
In year 152 a.C.-some believe in 156-, after the conquer of the territory by Rome legions, the general Claudio Marcelo founds the city, giving the name of the native village. During some time both villages live together, what was called dìpolis or double city, until the native village disappears without known reason. The roman city developed very fast, until turning to be the capital of the Hispania Ulterior. The fight between Cèsar and Pompeyo meant the destruction of the city and the death of its inhabitants. But in Augusto years, the village received title of Colonia Patricia, being capital of the Bètica. Diocleciano, in III century moved the capital of the Bètica to Sevilla, in those days, Christians have got in the village.
In V century got in Spain the Visigoths and Còrdoba got into the continuous succesory fights that these northern warriors were so fond of, this circumstance provoked the decay and practically its ruin.
In year 711, after the defeat of don Rodrigo, the Arabs under the command of Mugith el-Rumì got into Còrdoba by means of an agreement with its inhabitants and no by force. Now it starts a new age of splendour for the city. In year 716, the emir Al-Hurr moves the capital of Al-Andalus from Sevilla to Còrdoba. Then the Muslims andalusis were faithful to the caliph of Damasco. But on the 14th may 756 the emir Yusf el-Fihrì was defeated at the entrance of the city by the omeyan prince Abd al Rahmàn ibn Moawyya el Dajil ( el Inmigrado), who, with the name of Abd al – Rahmàn I, turned to be the independent emir of Al-Andalus. The Arabs rebuilt entirely the city, making it nobler and enlarging it, rescuing some of its ruins, as the old roman bridge. In X century, Còrdoba had more than 200.000 inhabitants and the focus of its culture, in which Arab, Jude and Christian communities took part, spreaded along all the known world. Abderramàn III, first caliph of Còrdoba from 16th January 929, is the most significant politic figure of this long period, as well as the Muslim Ibn Rush, better known as Averroes, and the Jude Ben Maimòn or Maimònides, although from years later, these are the most relevant wise men. In the year 1009, after the death of Almanzor in 1002, started a civil war that ended with the fall of the caliphate and the beginning of the taifa kingdoms, one of which has its seat in Còrdoba under the dominion of Banu Chawar. On the 29th   June 1236, Fernando III conquered it for the Christian cause a city, which even being important, had lost most part of its splendour.
The Christian conquer marked this decay. Fernando III founded 14 parishes, most of them over old mosques; family houses, palaces and convents rise on the Muslim framework.
However, Còrdoba got involved, from one side in all the civil fights that affected the Castilian monarchy and, on other side a reduce group of nobles received the distributed land and only took care of there own interest. Centuries afterwards the situation got worse.
From 1936, the war and long franquist dictatorship were a stop to the development of its capacities. The death of the dictator and afterwards democracy opened the possibility to keep improving.

Gastronomy

The Cordoba cooking nourishes mainly from the country products, but they don’t reject those from the sea. The mountains give the meat of the domestic animals and game. The countryside gives cereals, legumes and olive oil and wine. The orchards give the vegetables, like the beans. In its cooking we can see the influences from the past, it is roman the use of garlic in dishes as the salmorejo, Arab is the use of the sugar, the almond, the aromatic plants as season and the vegetables as formal dish like in the borona, fried marrow and aubergines and it is added peppers and tomatoes. Mozarab is the use of honey in dishes as the cordero a la miel, recover by the Cordoba restaurants. Moorish are the alfajores that today are consumed mainly on Christmas. The Christians brought the taste for eat and specially the game dishes. Meat dishes are the rabo de toro, a stewed served with fried potatoes; the flamenquìn, a veal steak that wraps another one of ham, coated in breadcrumbs and fried, and the  cordero a la caldereta, stew with loads of tomato, pepper, onion and ham of Iberian pork of the Pedroches area.
It was the musician Ziryab, a bagdadì who lived in the court of Abd al-Rahmàn II, who taught the Cordoba people, and extended to the Europeans, the refinement serving the table and the order to follow on presenting the food, that consists of starting with the soap, following the meats and ending with the desserts, this order is still in use nowadays.
Cordoba cooking is more of pan and frying pan than oven, the excellent olive oil gives to fish a special touch and the adobo (marinade) is its speciality.
In desserts they have the perrunas, the pestiños and the polvorones are of Christian origin. On the contrary, all almond sweets, like the alfajores, have an Arab origin, although the most known Muslim sweet is the pastel cordobès, large cake of puff pastry filled of citron preserve.

Craftsmanship

Since long time ago, Còrdoba has pointed out by its works in silversmith. The Còrdoba silversmiths, more than 25.000 nowadays, have a good name as artists, especially in the filigree filigree works and jewellery. The embossed leather is an artisan work practise in Còrdoba from Arab age. There are 2 specialities, the guadamecì and the cordovan,the difference is one is painted and coloured or not. The traditional ceramic of common use has disappeared almost in full. In its place, a group of young artists is making a design ceramic of interest. Works in copper and the wrought iron, guitars making and furniture making have a large tradition and are still practiced.

Festivities

Semana Santa in Còrdoba is very prestigious because of the quality of its images, its seriousness and the route of the parades. The Rescatado, the Esparraguero, the Virgen de las Angustias, the Virgen de los Dolores and de la Paz, the Cristo de la Misericordia and de las Animas are images devotion in Còrdoba.
May is the best month for festivities in Còrdoba, it opens with the festividad de la Cruz that lasts 3 fists days and fills the squares of Còrdoba of large flowers crosses. Between 10th and 20th takes place the festividad de los Patios Cordobeses, the courtyards are decorated with flower pots, copper pots, shawls, etc and they are visited by a crowd who sing, dance and drink wine of the village. Finally, the last week it is celebrated the feria de Nuestra Señora de la Salud. The feria de Còrdoba is an open fair, most of the casetas are free entrance what favours coexistence and nobody feel foreigner, different from Sevilla’s fair. On the 24th of October is celebrated San Rafael, Custodio de Còrdoba, important day for the people who go out to the country to taste the classic perol cordobès, rice with meat.

Visit

The route of heart.

Còrdoba has changed a lot lately but not the essential. The construction of the railway and integration of the river in the city has changed the scenery of the city.
Remarkable places to visit are: the palacio del Emperador Maximiliano Hercùleo, from IV century, a basilica and a paleochristian cemetery and an Islamic suburb with a zoco ( Moroccan market place) and several mosques.
Fernando III built 14 parishes after conquering the city, like San Nicolàs, finished in 1496 with the most beautiful tower of the city, or San Miguel, with its beautiful rose window in the main façade and the mudèjar door of the gospel. In the Plaza de Capuchinos is situated the Cristo de los Faroles, close to here is the Campo de la Merced where we find the palacio de la Diputaciòn old mercedarios convent and one sample of the baroque architecture in Còrdoba, on the other side of the gardens is the torre de la Malmuerta, albarrana of the old walls, which name comes from a legend of jealousy and revenge. Nearby the avenue de las Ollerìas which opens to the door of Colodro that gives way to the neighbourhoods of Santa Marina and San Lorenzo, dominated by the 2 beautiful fernandines churches which give the names.
Coming down the plaza de las Tendillas we get to the plaza de la Corredera and from there to the plaza del Potro one of the most picturesque areas of Còrdoba, in the centre is the fountain crowned by a foal which gives the name.
Then the Museo Provincial that keeps an important collection of paintings. The Museo de Julio Romero de Torres is situated opposite the previous, it keeps a large collection of his works like Chiquita Piconera, the Magdalena, the Nieta de la Trini, Viva el Pelo and Naranjas y limones.

The medieval city

The historic centre of Còrdoba is placed in the mosque and its surroundings. The mosque turned into a cathedral after the Christian conquer, is the main architectural legacy left by the Arabs in the city. With 24.000 m² is the biggest religious building in the Muslim world. It was raised in several phases. The initial building was built between years 780 and 785 by Abd al-Rahmàn I in the plot where formerly was the Christian basilica of San Vicente, which initially was used together Christians and Muslims and, finally, Abd al –Rahmàn I bought to those for the high price of 100.000 dinars.
The most remarkable characteristic of this mosque, from the Muslim faith point of view, is its orientation, all the Arabs oratories are orientated to La Mecca, in this case, they are orientated to the south. This orientation remained along the following enlargements, the first between 833 and 852, under the command of Abd al-Rahmàn II; the second between 961 and 966, being caliph Alhaken II and, finally the third, between 987 and 990, following the commands of Almanzor.
As all the mosques, the Còrdoba one has also a patio (courtyard) - called de los Naranjos-, to which we can access from several doors, main of Christian construction. The most important is the one of el Perdòn, on the north face, by the tower, monumental door of mudèjar style built in 1377 under the reign of Enrique II and whose name comes from the fact that in there it was given mercy to the penitents.
The interior is a labyrinth of columns that are support for the cover resting on double arcs of horseshoe, semicircular and lobular. The ensemble is composed of 11 naves longitudinal and 12 transversals, formed originally by 1.013 columns that were reduced to 856 today, all of them different and varied origin. In this construction the Arabs didn’t invent anything, they only put together in one place a large variety of styles until they get the caliphal or cordobès style. In the south wall or qibla, it is the mihrab, chapel towards the faithful orientated during the prayer.
In the middle of the mosque, the Christians built the cathedral. It is a solid work embedded wonderfully in the Arab building. The construction started on 1523 and it lasted more than 2 centuries, what favoured the mixture of several styles: gothic, on a starting phase, renaissance, herrerian and, finally, baroque.
In street Torrijos, facing the west wall of the mosque, is situated hospital de San Sebastiàn, today is the Palacio de Congresos, with its beautiful façade from XVI century, in gothic style, by this the Museo Diocesano de Bellas Artes.
On the left of the mosque, through the puerta del Perdòn, spreads the barrio de la Juderìa, which still keeps the shape from the Muslim age. In the plaza de las Bulas is situated the Museo Municipal Taurino that keeps a large variety of memories of the most famous cordovan bull fighters, like Manolete. By the museum, en the street of  los Judìos, it is located the sinagoga ( synagogue), it was built in 1315, reigning in Castilla Alfonso XI, it is one out of three preserved in Spain and unique in Andalucìa. This street ends in the puerta de Almodòvar, through it pass the muralla, kept in very good conditions. In the same street of los Judìos, where we find a statue of Maimònides, it is situated the Zoco, craftsmanship market which extends through the patios of a mudèjar house.
From the plaza de las Bulas we get to the Campo Santo de los Màrtires, and there we find some baños àrabes (Arab baths). Opposite, looking to the gardens, it raises the sumptuous alcàzar de los Reyes Cristianos, residence in several occasions of the Catholic Kings. It was built in 1328 under command of Alfonso XI, although a plot occupied by the Arabs and before by the Romans. It has beautiful gardens, mudèjar  reservoirs and a magnificent torre del homenaje( tower).It was seat of the Inquisition and military and civil jail. In 1936 was declared Monumento Històrico Artìstico. In the salòn de los Mosaicos it keeps some of them Romans, fond in the plaza de la Corredera. Annexe to the alcàzar are the Caballerizas Reales (stables), which give way to the barrio del Alcàzar Viejo o de San Basilio, in which we can find some of the most characteristic popular patios of the city.      
In the north façade of the mosque there is a little chapel with the Virgen de los Faroles, copy of a painting of Julio Romero de Torres. Opposite we get the calleja de las Flores, one of the best known corners in Còrdoba. Another interesting place is the Museo Arqueològico, this is a renaissance building of solid beauty with a nice façade and the patios. The museum keeps splendid collections of all kind of prehistorical objects until the medieval age. It is remarkable a leòn ibèrico (Iberian lion) found in Nueva Carteya, a statue of the god Mithra, a bust of the emperor Còmodo and the famous cervatillo (fawn) made of brass found in Medina Azahara.

Opposite the south wall of the mosque is situated the puerta del Puente, a large triumph arch from the years of Felipe II, a bit ahead is the puente romano and the torre de la Calahorra, old Muslim fortress that nowadays is the seat o the Instituto para el Diàlogo de las Tres Culturas (Institute for the dialogue of the 3 cultures). Towards the middle of the bridge there is another monument to San Rafael, normally full of lit candles. Down this bridge, there are some Muslim molinos (mills), the most important is the Albolafia. The regulation of the river allows a practically normal level of the waters along the year, this has favoured the establishment of some islands called sotos de la Albolafia, taken in quite short time by a large variety of aquatic birds, some of the in danger of extinguishment, and therefore it ha turned to be an important ecological reserve in the middle of the constant traffic in the city.