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Historic Sightseeing in Cordoba City
When it comes to getting to know Cordoba city there is plenty of interesting historic alternatives to explore. Granada, Seville & Cordoba [Paperback]
Dana Facaros (Author)
(Author), Michael Pauls (Author) Product Description
This title includes a dynamic two-colour layout for easy navigation of Cordoba, Spain. Brand new colour section gives a photographic overview of the region, together with special features of the region, tailored itineraries and lists of the best things to do. This title includes full-colour touring maps of the whole region. It provides extensive listings of hotels and restaurants - all personally recommended for a really local flavour. It also includes Top Don't Miss sights for each regional chapter, plus Author Choices of personal favourite places to stay and eat. It explores the lost world of al-Andalus, taking in the three hot-blooded cities at the tip of southern Spain. It helps discover everything from Moorish and Christian architecture to sherry and gazpacho, flamenco and bullfighting. It includes detailed coverage of nearby day-trip destinations from each of the three cities, including the snowcapped peaks of the Sierra Nevada, fascinating Roman-Moorish Carmona, the Alpujarras and the graceful Renaissance palacios in Ubeda
San Martin is the main square of the city, where the typical idiosyncrasy of the people from Cordoba can be found... Read More
Spain's World Heritage Cities - And Their Paradors
There are certain cities and places in the world that are so special, so emblematic of a particular kind of cultural wealth and uniqueness - that they have been declared as part of the 'Heritage of Mankind' by UNESCO. These places contain an "invaluable and irreplaceable heritage of not only each country, but of Mankind as a whole."
Spain holds an esteemed position in this regard - as it possesses one of the longest lists of these World Heritage sites of any of the world's countries. This list (and the names roll sweet off the tongue - for these are truly special places) include the cities of; Avila, Caceres, Cordoba, Cuenca, Salamanca, Santiago de Compostela, Segovia, and Toledo.... Read More
More than 2,000 years are contained in this city's history. Romans and Muslims elected it as their capital elevating it as such. The different cultures that throughout the centuries have met in this city have enriched it and left a definite mark. The Mosque of Aljama, with the Christian cathedral in its heart, crowns the jewel that makes up the colorful and the whitewash houses of its historical center.
Its winding and narrow streets leads us to discover the marvellous monuments that the different cultures, as a perfect symbiosis, have enriched the city. Within its streets, we shall roam and find ourselves renewed in its varied and numerous silent, and some hidden, Cordobesian plazas. Little by little we shall find with still remaining inns from centuries ago that will tempt us to stop and taste the great wines of the land, accompanied by a wide variety of tapas, some unique to each.
These streets will not stop amazing us as we seep through the soul of the traditional Cordoba: Its patios. Principal part of each home, the daily life of the neighbors turns around it, making the "patio" as one of the most valued treasures with its care and decorations. The game of lights and shadows is unique, the permanent bubbling of the water from its multiple fountains, the symphonies of smells and colors of the vegetation with which the city is filled will siege your senses and require your surrender, making Cordoba an unequalled visitation.
Strolling Cordoba's back streets
If you wander the art deco streets of Cordoba in southern Spain, you will find a beautiful square. It's almost midnight but the square will be crowded everyone's out, savouring the lovely evening. Short men with raspy tobacco voices and big bellies -- called "curva de la felicidad" (curve of happiness) -- jostle and bark as a dozen little schoolgirls rattle a makeshift stage, working on their sultry dance moves. Even with cell phones, iPods, and straight teeth, Andalucia's flamenco culture survives.
Cordoba -- the number three city in Andalucia (after Granada and Sevilla) for sightseeing -- is visited mostly for its Mezquita -- a vast mosque with a cathedral built in its middle. A touristy zone of shops and tour group-friendly restaurants surrounds that Mezquita, one of the glories of Moorish Spain. Beyond that, there are almost no crowds. And late at night there are fewer tourists yet.
Avoiding tourist crowds is important these days, especially when travelling in peak season to popular destinations like Cordoba. If you eat late and don't mind the smoke, only happy locals surround you. In Spain, a restaurant recommended in all the guidebooks may feel like a tourist trap -- at eight or nine o'clock, but by 11 p.m., tourists head for their hotels and the locals retake their turf. Some restaurateurs are pleased to have their best eating zone be the smoking zone -- the intended result: a hardy local following -- with very few tourists. Any traveller willing to brave the smoke, which isn't that bad, will do well here.
And, as anywhere, just wandering the back streets gets you all alone with the town. Exploring the residential back lanes of old Cordoba you can catch an evocative whiff of the old town before the recent affluence hit. As you explore, be a keen observer.
Streets are narrow -- designed to provide much appreciated shade. To keep things even cooler, walls are whitewashed and thick -- providing a kind of natural air-conditioning. To counter the boring whitewash, doors and windows are colourful. Iron grills cover the windows. Historically these were more artistic, now more practical -- a reminder of the persistent gap through the ages between rich and poor.
Stone bumpers on corners protected buildings against reckless drivers. As you'll see, scavenged secondhand ancient Roman pillars worked well. Lanes are made of river-stone cobbles: cheap and local. They provided drains down the middle of a lane while flanked by smooth stones that stayed dry for walking. Remnants of old towers from minarets survive, built into today's structures. Muslim Cordoba peaked in the 10th century with an estimated 400,000 people, and lots of now-mostly-gone neighborhood mosques.
In Cordoba, patios are taken very seriously. That's especially clear each May when a fiercely competitive contest is held to pick the city's most picturesque. Patios, a common feature of houses throughout Andalucia, have a long history here. The Romans used them to cool off, and the Moors added lush, decorative touches. The patio functioned as a quiet outdoor living room, an oasis from the heat. Inside elaborate ironwork gates, roses, geraniums, and jasmine spill down whitewashed walls, while fountains play and caged birds sing. Individuals own some patios; some are communal courtyards for several homes and some grace public buildings like museums or convents.
Today, homeowners take pride in these mini-paradises, and have no problem sharing them with tourists. Keep an eye out for square metal signs that indicate historic homes. As you stroll Cordoba's back streets, pop your head into any wooden door that's open. The owners (who keep their inner black iron gates locked) enjoy showing off their picture-perfect patios. A concentration of Cordoba's previous patio-contest award-winners runs along Calle San Basilio and Calle Martin Roa, just across from the Alcazar's gardens.