Whenever you are in Andalusia, I think you should definitely make a trip to Córdoba. So did we (the boyfriend and I) when we were spending a month in Jerez de la Frontera. As we only had one day to visit, we tried to see as much as possible and I think we did a pretty good job. Therefore I want to share our plan for that day with you. It might help if you ever want to visit and don’t have that much time either!
Córdoba is a really old city with a multicultural history. During the centuries, the city has been a home for Romans, Muslims, Jews and in the 13th century Córdoba was conquered by a Christian king. Because of this rich, cultural history there are lot of interesting places to visit and fortunately the old buildings have been preserved.
Now let me take you back to the day I was there. It was a warm, lovely November day and we arrived at the bus station (next to the train station) around noon. When you leave the station (1) (you will find the numbers on the map below) on the left, you will soon see a park, which is a nice way to start the route and following the park will lead you to the old city wall and gate (2) and a statue of Seneca (an important Roman philosopher, born in Córdoba).
The next thing we did was entering through the gate and there we found the Jewish Quarter, the neighbourhood were all Jews used to live together. An important building here is the synagogue (3), dating from 1315. You can enter for free! You arrive via a small yard and then you get to the entrance of the sinagogue, leading to the prayer room. After the Jews were expelled from the city, the synagogue has had various functions. But since 1885 it is considered a National Monument.
We continued our trip, heading down, to El Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos (4) (The castle of Christian Kings). Here we had to pay a little for entering, but when you are a student it is cheaper. In the castle we spent quite some time in the old rooms, hallways and we went up in a tower where you had a nice view over the gardens. The gardens of the Alcázar are really beautiful and I think in spring they look amazing with a lot of flowers, trees and fountains. Afterwards we went up to possibly one of the oldest structures in Córdoba: The Roman bridge (5), built in the 1st century BC.
And then it was time for probably the most famous building in Córdoba: La Mezquita-Catedral (6) (The Mosque-Cathedral). Originally it was a Christian church, in 785 the Muslims built a mosque over this church. And then, in 1238, the mosque was reconverted in a Catholic cathedral, preserving the Moorish architecture. In the beginning of the 16th century there were some additions inside the cathedral, following the Renaissance style. Really impressive!
Afterwards we continued our way and found this Roman temple (7) in the middle of the city. Unfortunately it was time already for us to head back to the bus station, but we made sure that we would find Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, El Gran Capitán (8) (The Great Captain), because I just needed to see his statue after watching the Spanish TV series Isabel (I had a little crush on him). We found him on Plaza de las Tendillas. Besides finding thé statue there, it is also a cute square to spend some time drinking and shopping.
When walking around the old part of Córdoba you will see a lot of cute, small inner yards (Patios). You can find some that are open for public, but most of them are private, however some days per year they will open for everybody. These days are during the second half of May and it actually is a contest called the Festival de los Patios Cordobeses. During the festival all the participants open their patios to the public for free and they try to make them look as beautiful as possible, at the end there will be announced a winner. This great tradition was considered as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2012.
I am not going to tell you where to have lunch, that is completely up to you. BUT when you are in Córdoba I recommend you to have Salmorejo for lunch, as this meal originates from this area. Salmorejo is a cold purée that consists of tomatoes, bread, oil, garlic and vinegar. It is usually served with ham and diced boiled egg. Because as it is cold, it is a perfect, fresh plate for the hot days in Córdoba.
Forgive me for the overload of pictures, but that day it was just impossible to stop taking them! I want to conclude with showing you our route on the map. I hope you will find it useful if one day you are going to visit Córdoba. I think you should!