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The capital of the province by the same name, Cordoba sits in Andalusia, the southern part of Spain. Once a major Roman city and an Islamic center during the Middle Ages, the city lives in the shadow of its monumental past. Conquered by Muslim armies in the 8th Century, it became the capital of the Islamic Emirate and then Caliphate of Cordoba. An educational hub with an historical center named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the town comes to life every year from mid-April to mid-June during a mind-blowing festival time.
Known for the city's huge mosque from 784 AD, La Mezquita, with its dynamic columned prayer hall and Byzantine mosaics; it is one of the world's greatest Islamic buildings and a sight to behold. Cordoba is a city to embrace whilst riding a bicycle or treading its ancient thoroughfares through narrow streets adorned in old buildings with patios, quaint wine bars and the boisterous Plaza de las Tendillas packed with restaurants. Meander along the riverbanks of the Guadalquivir in front of the Mezquita and get caught up in the revelry of a tourists' mayhem.
Famous for its leather artisans, fine art and bullfighting paraphernalia, the town is littered with posters depicting the controversial art work of Julio Romero de Torres of flamenco dancers, gypsy women, bullfighters and plenty of nudes staring at you. His family home is now a museum attached to the Museo Bellas Artes that is worth poking your nose into. Oozing tradition and history, the town is a living museum of treasures to meander around, cafes to sip espresso in and flamenco dancing to watch. The Plaza de Potro is where animal markets were held in medieval times and Don Quixote referred to the former inn sitting in the plaza, the 15th Century Posada del Potro, as a “den of thieves”.
The city may not be so well known for is its unusual museums such as the Galeria de la Tortura located in the Jewish Quarter where you can check out the torture instruments used during the 700-year Inquisition's inventive methods of forcing confessions out of harmless souls. Check it out if you are into a bit of blood, sweat and fears.
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