Tourists can experience a variety of adventures in Cordoba, which is frequently described as Moorish Spain. The capital of Al-Andalus, the city was once the biggest in Europe and the center of learning and culture, it was referred to as the Mecca of the West. Anyone would be in for an unforgettable experience in the city, with all of its sights and attractions, nightlife, cuisine, and festivals.

Cordoba is one of the places that you should include in your “Must see cities in Spain.” You would never go wrong in deciding to visit the wonderful city. The city of Cordoba has a lot to offer to its visitors. It has a wide array of tourist spots for anyone to enjoy. From garden and parks for nature lovers, old churches and synagogues for those interested in religious architecture, to vibrant festivals and a dynamic nightlife for the party goers. Cordoba has all these.

Cordoba with a historical legacy of singular beauty

The city of Cordoba is the capital of the province of Cordoba. Its rich culture and architecture that is still evident today is proof of the city’s very rich culture. During the later part of the 10th century the city was inhabited by about 500,000 people and was the most populated city in the entire Europe and was thought to have also been the most populated city in the entire world. It has now decreased in population and as of 2008 had an estimated number of 325, 453 inhabitants.

Rich Culture Cordoba has been witness to a lot of changes and transformations throughout centuries. Originally the city was predominantly Catholic until the Islamic conquest it then was home to a number of Islamic rulers. Each occupation resulted to a different mark in the city’s history and the city’s culture.

The different changes that the city underwent resulted to a number of architectural marvels. One of this is the Great Mosque of Cordoba which is now known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption. There are a number of old churches that you can still see today. Among these are San Nicolás de la Villa, San Miguel, and Santa Marina church.

Things to do in Cordoba

Attractions and Sights in Cordoba

The architectural structures of the city that date hundreds of years ago are something that would really enthrall and fascinate visitors. Mezquita, the city’s Great Mosque and one of the world’s largest, should not be missed by anybody. 785 years old, the structure is by far the most beautiful and biggest construction of the Moors in Spain. For tourists, a visit to the place should be among the highlights.

Cordoba History

The city of Cordoba is the capital of the province of Cordoba. It is a city that is 2000 years old and it is a city that is packed with a very rich culture. The city was home to Moors at one time, then to Romans at another time. These settlers left their respective marks in the city of Cordoba which up to this day can still be very much seen around the area.

Roman Rule

In 206 BC, Cordoba was ruled by the Romans. During the time of Julius Caeser, it was the city of Cordoba that was named the capital city of Hispania Ulterior Baetica, a Roman province. At this time, there were a lot of notable people in history that were produced from the great Roman Cordoba. The poet Lucan and the great Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus were among those that originated from the Roman capital city of Southern Spain.

Islamic Rule

The Moors’ rule over the city of Cordoba began in the year 711. Cordoba was then witness to a lot of changes. First it was named as the provincial capital of the Damascus Caliphate. This happened in 716. Then 50 years after in 766, it became the provincial capital of Al-Andalus, an independent Muslim emirate. It finally became a Caliphate in 1000 AD.

It was said that during this time of the Islamic ruling over the city, Cordoba was considered as the biggest city, one that had the most developed administrative system and the city that had the most refined culture in the entire Europe.

The reason behind the city’s great progress and recognition during the earliest part of the tenth century was due to the three grand rulers Add-ar-rahman III, who was the first Caliph; Al-Hakam II, his son; and Al-Mansur-Ibn Abi-Amir, also known as Almansor.

The fall of the city began when the mini states surfaced. Their leaders lacked the leadership skills and this paved way for the city of Cordoba to be recaptured by the Christians in 1236. This happened after a several months of cordon. It was King Ferdinand III of Castile that led the capture. He then divided the city to 14 barrios and also added a number of churches all over the city.

After Renaissance

Cordoba declined after the renaissance period. During the 18th century its population dropped to 20,000, a huge difference from the time of the Islamic rule when it had up to 500,000 inhabitants. The economy also dropped after during this time.

It was only during the 20th century that the city’s economy as well as the population began to increase. Now, the city is a thriving tourist spot that gives its visitors a peek at its rich culture through the architecture and the various festivals that were left by their early settles.

Top Cordoba Attractions

Cordoba holds a lot of history, when you go on a site seeing tour on Cordoba’s top tourist spots, be captivated by its wonderful sceneries, great views and historical landmarks. Your Cordoba vacation would never be complete without a tour on Cordoba’s finest sites.

Mezquita / Cordoba Cathedral

Go down on a spiritual journey on Cordoba’s grandest and most beautiful mosque. The Mezquita was constructed by the late Moors during their occupation on Cordoba. You can easily find it for it is located upright at the heart of the city. Don’t be confused with the name; the Cordoba Cathedral is also a mosque. It was said so that after the Christians chased the Moors off the city, they were awestruck by the mosque’s elegance that they were reluctant to tear it down. So instead of destroying it, they built a cathedral within its walls.

Alcazár de los Reyes Cristianos

Christopher Columbus himself walked the gardens of this fine vicinity. It was here that he requested the funds for his voyage all over the world. The gardens of Alcazar serve as a memorabilia of this fine event. The building founded now were formerly where the Inquisition dwell. In the present time, it hosts Cordoba’s finest mosaic collection.

Gardens of the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos


Cordoba has a lot of spiritual quarters from the past history that is preserved until today. When you walk the length of the streets where the old Jewish quarters lie, it is where you will see a few of the remaining synagogues of Spain. Only three stand in the present and Cordoba is proud to own it.

Plaza del Potro

The old square of Cordoba is a special place, even now, it is still a preferred place to hang out and socialize. It is a pleasant place for afternoon strolls or even just for drinking coffee.

Plaza de la Corredera

The Ayuntamiento or the present town square is busy and always teeming with life. It has undergone a couple of reconstructions and now it hold a Roman amphitheater, a bullring for those who want to witness an actual bullfight and it is also the Time Square of Cordoba where people flock to celebrate important fiestas and occasions. It is also where they countdown the seconds to New Year. Amongst its quaint architecture it is also a shopping and bazaar site where you can make great deals and find souvenirs for your Cordoba expedition.

Architecture in Cordoba

Cordoba, a World Heritage site, is also a Mecca of great architectural finds. Because of its rich history it has a number of religious monuments and other structures that will surely leave you at awe.

Religious Structures

The Mosque-Cathedral with the buildings and streets that are surrounding it has been named as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994. In its different sections you will be able to see the Omeyan style of the building. While in other parts you will also see the different styles of Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque incorporated. The building served as a Mosque at one point in time and a Church in another time. The most notable feature about the Mosque-Cathedral is the huge arches that comprised of red and white columns. These were made up of marble, onyx, jasper and granite.

The Synagogue that was built by architect in 1315 Isaac Moheb follows the Mudejar style. This is another great architectural edifice in Cordoba that you shouldn’t miss. In the entire Spain, it is one of the most preserved Medieval Synagogues. Aside from the Mudejar-style plant patterns that are decorated all over its main hall, the Synagogue also has three arches that are filled with decorative plasterwork in the women’s tribune.

Other Monuments

The other monuments in Cordoba that you will be in awe of its architecture are the Royal Stables with its sandstone pillar-supported vaulted ceiling, the Castle of Christian Monarchs with its solid defensive walls and its fortress that is almost rectangular shaped, the Medina Azahara, and the Calahorra Tower.

Cordoba Has Something for Everyone

Cordoba is considered as one of the best places to visit in Southern Spain. From its rich history and architecture, to its abundance of tourist spots and festivals it surely would be a place that will make your trip a most memorable one.

A Place for Everyone You would never run out of places to see in Cordoba. If you like visiting historical sites, there are a lot to choose from. Among the many historical places in Cordoba, the Palacio de Viana is one that you shouldn’t miss. It is a National Monument that welcomes more than seventy thousand visitors to its doors every year.

For the nature lover, there are also a number of places where you could spend your time in when in the city. Alcazar Gardens is one of these places. Its lush garden includes a walkway adorned with tall green plants with a fish pond at the center, different varieties of botanical species and several water fountains that are spread all over the place.

The city also has a lot of places to go where you can witness its rich architecture. One of the best places to visit is the Great Mosque of Cordoba. Originally, the building was erected as a Christian Visigothic Church. When Cordoba was conquered by the Arabs, it was converted into a mosque and underwent a lot of restorations.

Now, it has been turned back again into a church and is known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption. The giant arches that which have columns that are made of marble, onyx, jasper and granite is what the structure is most known for.

Festive Celebrations Cordoba is also home to a lot of festivals that keep the town alive and busy all year round. The month of May though is the most visited time of the year as it is when three of the many festivals in Cordoba are celebrated.

The Crosses of May Festival which happens at the start of May lasts up to four days. It is a competition for best adorned and the best flower decorated cross. During this time tourists will be able to see beautifully decorated crosses placed in squares and streets of the city.

Busy Nightlife The city’s dynamic nightlife is another thing to any tourist can enjoy when in Cordoba. Nightspots that showcase Flamenco dance performances and bars that serve the local wine are some of the places to visit during nighttime.

Shopping in Cordoba

Whether you are a shopaholic, window shopper or hunting for bargains and memorabilia, then get ready for the Cordoba shopping spree.

Cordoba is a good shopping city for a spending spree, from cheap buys to posh signature items. At the suburban area of downtown Cordoba is the home of the shopping malls. The most active shopping district is at the Mercado Norte, here you will find bargain prices and cheaper goods.

There are also modern shopping malls which are huge and in fact offer you all the varieties of what you would which to find.

The Patio Olmos and Garden Shopping found at the center. The Dinosaurio Mall and Cordoba Shopping located at the northwest and the Nuevo Centro Shopping found westward. Here you will find all sorts of stuff from souvenirs, clothes, jewelry, bags; branded or not; you’ll find it here. You can roam around the malls for endless hours and always find something interesting that you would wish to buy.

If you’re the sophisticated type, there are boutiques that sell designer items from both local and international designers. For those who are more casual then there are shops also to fit your budget without compromising your style.

Here are some helpful Spanish words for shoppers: “liquidacion,” “traspaso,” and “rebajas”, simply means that they are on sale so watch out for these words on the store windows and glass.

Local arts and crafts are also made available and sold to the public at Paseo de Las Artes, recommended during Saturdays and Sundays. If you’re the one who appreciates the value of art and crafts, then the place to go is the Parque las Heras, especially on the weekends.

You will see here hand crafted accessories, decorations, vases and paintings; they make great souvenir items and are unique.

At Guemes District, you can do your food shopping for local delicacies like alfajores, sweet hams, honey and of course, tapas. That’s if you want to bring home some of Cordoba’s best foods or if you want to try and cook a delicacy yourself.

There are other shops and malls located at the city square and also the pedestrian malls even after 8 PM. Night markets and shopping is also made available, the prices are much cheaper and you can even bargain for the items that you wish to buy. This is especially true on weekends where the streets are oiled with shoppers going on a spree.

Cordoba Festivals

Cordoba, being a city that is rich in culture, has a lot of festivals that are celebrated all the year round. From the religious festivals that have become tradition to Cordoba to the modern festivals that attract a multitude of tourists, these festivals are truly a thing to experience.

Religious and Traditional Festivals

The Carnival. Singers dress up in comparsas and parade the city’s streets then go to the Grand Theatre to showcase their talent in singing comic pieces. There is also a parade that can be participated by the public and it too is done throughout the city’s streets. This is celebrated annually on the second fortnight of the month of February.

Holy Week. This is observed annually and a venue where Christian’s can publicly pronounce their faith. Processions are done in the city’s streets and during this time the city is unusually solemn.

The May Crosses. Celebrated at the start of May, this festival includes the competition on the best flower-adorned crosses and also the Battle of the Flowers which is for the best flower decorated floats.

Modern Festivals

The White Night of Flamenco. This is celebrated for one whole night every June. Different artists like Jose Merce, El Pele, and Miguel Poveda perform at the different streets and squares throughout the city. It is considered as the largest Flamenco event in the world with 200,00 people attending just in the firs year.

Nights of Charm. Every July and August, Cordoba holds this festival which is a celebration of the rich culture of the city. All the nights of these two months are filled with theatre, music and dance performances as well as other artistic events.

Cordoba Dining

You can never go wrong with dining in Cordoba, with their exotic and fresh food, spicy flavors and appealing taste and aroma which just fills your stomach and make you content without feeling guilty about your diet.

Savor the delicacies and scrumptious foods of the Cordobans and taste the grand flavors of Cordoba’s finest dishes. You can go to bars, restaurants and even simple cafeterias if you want to taste their local cuisine.

If you want a sunny luncheon with a pleasing atmosphere, then the Taberna Pepe de la Juderia is the perfect cozy place for you to dine out. It’s a delightful little café located at the old Jewish Quarter not far off Mezquita. The shops’ location at the corner of the sidewalk gives you a glimpse of the streets if you just want to observe the outside activity. The inside of the restaurant has that diner’s feel to it, complete with a Hall-of-Fame, photos and memorabilia of famous patrons lining it’s wall.

They pride themselves with great service, all smiles on customers and really prompt service whatever the weather. They offer the tastiest sandwiches with olives and Iberian Ham that just tingles your taste. They also have the favored Flamenquin, both loved by tourists and customers. If you’re the one to follow the guidebooks of the best restaurants in Cordoba, then this one will surely appear in the list.

The Hotel and Restaurant Vallina at the back of Mezquita, offers you fine dining at it’s best. It has a classic interior owing to the fact that the building is 1600-years-old but with some renovation and refurbished walls and décor, the place is just grand. The place is decorated with huge wine barrels, tile work and wine storage. As always, with Cordoban hospitality, the service is outstanding but the menu is even of greater significance to the diners. The house specialty is Salmorejo, an cold gazpacho soup with sliced ham and hard-boiled egg and they are always complimented for their great dessert selection.

If you want a comfortable place with a great view, then the Rincon Bar is the perfect place for you. If you want a hearty meal or just a light snack, then opt for this bar. Rincon means “corner” in Spanish. It’s a lovely place but with just enough space, they have comfortable chairs and low tables with couch-type seats along the sides. From their extensive menu, you cant try out for their “Menu del Dia”, a complete meal set to satisfy your hunger. If you just want some snacks or a quick place to stop by for some refreshments, then of course, they offer tapas with beer in their menu.

Nightlife in Cordoba

When in Cordoba, you wouldn’t want to miss out all the fun, day or night. During the day, you get to visit all the must see sights and photograph all the way. At night, it’s the time to unwind, socialize and just continue wit the fun, Cordoba style. Cordoba night outs are fun, colorful and just to put it simply, party till you drop.

There are a variety of bars, pubs and restaurants to choose from in Cordoba. You can choose from different locations, if you want it to be in the confines of the city where you can hop on bars and clubs. If you are more adventurous, there are also beach parties that you can go to. Then there are the classy bars that offer you fine dining, great wine selection, classical music; where you can just relax but still socialize with others.

They say, the real party starts at midnight. As most Cordobans tend to roam around the night, enjoying drinks and tapas, it is a golden opportunity for you to befriend them, it’s best to go out on weekends where there are day-offs for the locals.

Here are a few of Cordoba’s best night out locations:

The Taberna Casa Salinas, is one of the oldest and established pubs in Cordoba. Located at Puerto de Almodóvar, this pub has an air of nostalgia for both locals and tourists alike. They offer glasses of sherry’s, fresh tapas with spicy Andalusian sausages and buckets of olives for good measure. This pub has ran for a good four decades and still up and running. Sometimes, they stage flamenco shows and that’s something any tourist would want to see.

If you’re the type who wants to dance to the beat of independent music then you can go to Soul at Calle de Alfonso XIII, located near the city hall. Within the vicinity, there are also other clubs that you can go to such as Moloko (Alfaros 29) and la Communa (Calle Caño 1), they offer great food, great music and overall, you get to have a great night.

There is also Soho, located near the river of Calle San Fernando. They play modern and indie music too.

When you get to visit Cordoba during summertime, there is always a buzz around Vial Norte at El Brilliante. If you want to party till dawn then Chinales is the place to go. During summer, it’s the time where the bars and clubs get to be pretty crowded with all the after school parties, locals and tourists enjoying the food, drinks and social highlights brought about by the summertime heat.

Cordoba Transportation

Going around the city to visit its many tourist spots is not even difficult for any tourist. There are a number of transportations available for everyone which makes it very easy to travel for the non-locals. There are a lot of taxis available that can take you anywhere you want to go.

Just come prepared with a ready Spanish words or phrases or carry with you a Spanish-English dictionary as some of the drivers don’t speak English fluently. You can also use the coaches to get around the city. The city buses that are highly noticeable because of their vibrant hues is also another transportation option.

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