A trip to Córdoba, an ancient city in the sun-baked Spanish region of Andalusia, is a trip through the ages. The city has served as the crossroads of Spanish history, and among the narrow, whitewashed streets of modern Córdoba, visitors will find Roman ruins and Moorish architecture left behind by the past rulers of Spain.
Stroll through the Islamic splendour of Córdoba's Great Mosque, lose yourself in the city's lush gardens and charming courtyards, and take it all in from luxury hotel Parador Córdoba, which offers panoramic views and easy access to all of the city's points of interest.
Ancient capital city
Already a powerful, provincial capital in the time of Julius Caesar, Córdoba features an incredible range of archaeological wonders, from its Roman Bridge - which has been in continuous use for two millennia - to its delicate temple ruins, where citizens once gathered to worship Emperors Claudius and Domitian.
The city's historical height, however, came during the 10th century, when Córdoba is believed to have been the world's most populous city under the domain of Caliph Al Hakam II, who made it the capital of the Islamic Caliphate, which then covered most of the Iberian Peninsula. During this period, it was the intellectual centre of Europe, gathering Muslims, Christians and Jews in numerous universities, medical schools and libraries. The city's most well-known monument, the Mezquita - the Great Mosque which now serves as Córdoba's Cathedral- dates back to this time, and is famous for its iconic hypostyle hall with red and white arches, today considered to be a masterpiece of Moorish art.
With the city's conquest by the kings of Spain during the 13th century, the nearby castle was built to serve as Isabella I of Castille and Ferdinand II of Aragon's main palace. Don't miss its garden by the Guadalquivir River, as well as its beautiful mosaic room.
Flamenco in the Jewish district
In the evening, take a relaxing stroll through the judería, the city's Jewish district, which features a well-preserved 14th century synagogue, built in the elaborate Mudéjar style with grand geometric patterns. Among the narrow streets of this area is the beloved Calleja de las Flores, a street covered with a great number of hanging, potted flowers.
Take in some Spanish nightlife at Tablao 'El Cardenal', an institution that dates back over 25 years and features the most authentic flamenco dancing in the city, earning special recognition by Córdoba's Tourism Heritage Board in 2008.
Built upon the ruins of an ancient Moorish summer palace at the foot of the nearby mountains, Parador Córdoba is the ideal place to stay while in the city of flowered streets. Surrounded by orange gardens and palm trees, this oasis from the Andalusian heat features a refreshing pool and incredible views of the landscape.
While here, make sure to sample the region's delicious Spanish cuisine, including white almond gazpacho and the customary tomato purée salmorejo, in the hotel's restaurant.
Want to discover more about Córdoba? Contact Paradores today.