When I arrived in Cordoba, it seemed like other European cities, part modern and part old. However, as I made my way to my hostel, in the Old City, it was then I realized why I would love this city. I walked through an ancient stone gate and felt surrounded by beauty and strength. Stone buildings, homes painted white with yellow trim and patios filled with fountains and plants. I could have stayed in my hostel for the entire 5 days, the patio was so cozy.
Then I realized: The city awaits!
There is much to do in this city if you want to be busy. There is also a way to not be busy at all. That is what I chose. There is one thing you MUST do. You MUST see the Mesquita.
The Mesquita, an Islamic structure, originally built in 785, altered to be a church in 1500, with many alterations following. This is the only mosque that survived the Christian invasion, due to it’s beauty. It was decided that it would become a Cathedral. Well worth the early morning wake up to take advantage of free entry and reduced crowds, this Mosque/Cathedral is awe inspiring, even from an experienced traveller of Europe. When you arrive inside, take advantage of it. Relax, take pictures, and explore each and every diverse corner in this stone and marble forest of white and red archways. Look up, look down, and all around you. There is much to see. The centre is the cathedral, tall and white, with lovely works of art. Then find the ‘mirab’ and make sure to look closely at the archways, exquisitely crafted with colourful mosaics of patterns and scripts.
Once you are outside, the courtyard is free to sojourn in. Take out a book to read, sit in the sun and watch tourists ebb and flow through the courtyard.
Much like other cities in this part of Spain, Cordoba has an interesting history of Christians, Muslims and Jewish people living together in and out of harmony throughout their history. The Jewish Quarter tour is worth it, just to hear stories of Muslims building Jewish Synagogues.
There are free city tours available, just be ready to tip your tour guide at the end of the tour. It is worth your time, as you get a brief overview of the city. The tour guides are knowledgeable and friendly.
I was off season for the Patio tour, so I mainly took advantage of the views and the food. Paella, Ajo Blanco, and the Manchego cheese were my highlights. For breakfast I made sure to enjoy a Cafe con Leche (coffee with milk) with a Tostada con Tomate frotado y Queso (toast with crushed tomatoes and cheese). More on the food later. I will write about the food in detail in a later post.
Cordoba is a city of wonder, as there is much to see and take in. With a diverse history including Muslims, Christians and Jewish people, the city has many stories to tell. I hope you get a chance to wander over the Roman bridge, eat the food, and read a book inside the courtyard of the Mesquita. It is well worth your time.