- See the mezquita
- Try hierba buena tea
- Admire the patios
- Have some gazpacho
When I think of Córdoba, I think of window flower boxes overflowing with bright pink petunias, yellow and white buildings and bougainvillea flowers. I guess I think of colors – yellow, white and rich dark pink. The city is as vibrant as it is colorful. It is capital of the province of Córdoba, which is in the community of Andalucia.
A brief history
Córdoba was originally capital of the Roman province Hispania Ulterior Baetica, until it was conquered by the Muslims in 711. In the 10th century, with up to a population of 500,000, it was one of the most advanced cities in the world and an economic, cultural and political center. The famous mezquita, or mosque, was originally started as a Christian Visgothic church in 600 AD, until it was purchased by Emir Abd ar-Rahman I and reworked as a mosque over the course of a couple centuries. With its 856 columns, the mosque has had frequent changes due to the cities propensity to be invaded – each invasion brought new influences to its architecture. In 1236, Córdoba was recaptured from the Muslim army by King Fernando III during the Spanish Reconquista. At this time the mosque was reconsecrated as a Christian church.
What to see
The famous mezquita is obviously something you must see. The alter inside of a church is a peculiar site, and while it’s a shame that the mosque structure has been tainted, it sure is beautiful and intriguing to be able to visually follow the course of history in such a way.
Córdoba is also famous for its patios – and when I say patios, I’m not talking about that slab of pavement you have outside your back door at home. The patios are the equivalent of courtyards or atriums in that they sit in the center of the home, open air and usually can be seen from the street through their gates. Usually the patios will have a fountain in the center (the presence of the fountain and water being very Arabic in influence) and lots of potted flowers. The patios originate as far back as the Romans. They were created with the objective of having a cool space in such a hot climate – the fountain of water and even plants aiding in making it cooler. I love nothing more than walking the streets of Córdoba and peaking into each gate to see what enchanted little patio lays behind it. During May of each year they actually have a patio festival where people throughout the city open their patios to the public so that you may view them. During this time you can get a map that identifies all the official patios that are open for viewing. My heaven!
Where to eat
I’ve yet to find restaurants there that I’m just in love with, but one stop that I’ve always enjoyed is the Salon de Té (Calle Buen Pastor, 13), where you can enjoy tea Moroccan style. My favorite tea to enjoy while in the south is the Moroccan tea with hierba buena – just add a little sugar, and it’s perfect!
Other cities to visit in Andalucia
Experiences from my blog