Though it is one of the furthest city trips, Córdoba’s heritage sites make it worth considering – they tell the story of the many different peoples who have occupied the land throughout the centuries. The Historic Centre of Córdoba, including the Jewish Quarter, Mezquita, and Alcázar, has been declared a World UNESCO Heritage site.
The enchanting Mezquita is Córdoba’s most famous attraction – a huge mosque converted into a Roman Catholic Church when Spain returned to Christian rule. Its unusually wide ceiling is supported by hundreds of columns joined by arches. From the golden decoration to the 22,784 sq metre floor space, there’s a reason why so many tourists come to admire the Mezquita.
The Mezquita offers a romanticised view of the coexistance of Jews, Muslims and Christians in the past. If you’re visiting Córdoba, it is the number one not-to-be-missed attraction.
The Alcázar (palace or fortress) of Córdoba has served as the home of Roman governers, Moorish caliphs, King Fernando and Queen Isabella, the Spanish Inquisition and later a prison.
The rooms of the Alcázar are contained between four towers of different shapes. Inside one, the circular ‘Tower of the Inquisition’, visitors can view Roman mosaics and a Roman sarcophagus. Other areas include the magnificent Hall of Mosaics, which is in high demand as a wedding venue and the ‘Womens’ courtyard’ which takes its name from the fortress’s years serving as a prison, when it acted as the female wing.
Much of the Alcázar was adapted used as torture chambers by the Spanish Inquisition.
Here students witness the remains of several distinct periods of history which have left their mark on Córdoba; the Romans, the Moorish times, the Spanish Inquisition in the 1400s, as well as the rules of various Christian monarchs.
The Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter is the area of the city where the Jewish population lived under the Caliphate of Cordoba and until they were expelled from Spain in 1492. Of note are its narrow medieval streets, statue of influential Jewish astronomer and physician Maimonides, the synagogue and Souk (traditional artisan market selling jewellery, ceramics, and leather goods).
Journey time: 3 hours by coach