Cordoba

Birthplace of Seneca, Lucan, Averroes and Maimonides, the city of Cordova at the time of the Caliphate had nearly 250,000 inhabitants and 300 mosques, rivalling in splendour with Constantinople, Damascus and Baghdad.

The Great Mosque, which after the Christian conquest of the city in 1236 was consecrated as the Cathedral, is perhaps the most emblematic of city's monuments. Nevertheless, the Jewish Quarter, with its synagogue, all of which has been declared a World Heritage Site, the Roman Bridge over the Guadalquivir, and the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, to name just a few the magnificent monuments and buildings to found in this timeless city, are all worthy rivals.

The Cordovan countryside of the Guadalquivir Valley is characterised by olive groves and pastures. Cordova itself is located at the foot of Sierra Morena, an area embracing part of two natural parks, those of Hornachuelos and Cardeña-Montoro. Here, as in Los Pedroches to the far north, one of the province's most beautiful spots, Mediterranean forests alternate on the slopes of the sierras with groves of ilexes, cork oaks and wild olive trees, the habitat of lynxes, vultures, wild boar and wolves.

In the southeast corner of the province lies the delightful town of Priego, occupying a platform of rock under the shelter of the peaks of Sierra Horconera, with its exuberant Baroque churches, mansions and fountains.

Visitors to Cordova should not miss the opportunity to pay a visit to the ruins of Medina Azahara, on the outskirts of the city, which was once intended to rival the Alhambra as the Caliph's residence. Or for that matter the enchanting Cordovan patios, with their tiles, plants and fountains, a festival for which is held in May. Los Pedroches is also well worth a visit, if only to sample the area's assorted sausagesand hams, washed down with white Montilla-Moriles wine.

Some places of interest: Aguilar de la Frontera, Almodovar del Rio, Baena, Belmez, Bujalance, Cabra, Castro del Rio, Cordova, Doña Mencia, Iznajar, Lucena, Montilla, Montoro, Palma del Rio, Pedroche, Pozoblanco, Priego de Cordoba, Puente Genil, Rute, Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro, Sierra de Hornachuelos, Sierra Morena, Sierras Subbeticas, etc.

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