Things to see and do - Córdoba
The Golden Andalusian Triangle :
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The Golden Andalusian Triangle
The Golden Andalusian TriangleBy car, 420 km, 6 days
Cordoba, Seville and Granada inevitably conjure up images of whitewashed alleys, picturesque flower-filled patios, romantic plots, but also the soft murmur of garden fountains, the fragrance of orange blossom... Three cities where memories of Al-Andalus remain intact.Customise this route and add it to My travel book
The architecture of this monument, the only one of its kind in the world, tells a fascinating story. It is living testimony to the Muslim and Christian faiths. The mosque was built from the 8C to the 10C on the site of the Visigothic Church of St Vincent. After the Reconquista, it was dedicated to the Catholic religion, and, in the 16C, the Christians built a Gothic cathedral inside, right in the middle of its arches, and by enclosing one in the other they created one of the most original buildings in the world.
With its whitewashed alleyways, flower-decked patios, ornamental wrought-iron work and typical bars, it is impossible to resist the charms of the Judería. Step away from the Mezquita and its hordes of tourists to explore one of Spain's most beautiful medieval districts. Highlights include the Almodóvar gate, the Calle Judíos, the district's most famous street, an Andalucian house (at n°12), and the Casa de Sefarad, a cultural centre dedicated to the memory of Sephardic Jews.
This palace was extended on several occasions between the 14C and the 19C, which gives you an idea of the changes in civil architecture in Córdoba during this period. This unique and surprising complex of buildings covers an area of about 6 500m2, mostly taken up twelve magnificent patios and a garden. Admire the palace's beautiful interior, in particular the Salón de los Sentidos, decorate in mother-of-pearl, and a collection of embossed Cordoban leather (15C-19C).
"Let us build a church so grand that those who see it will think we are mad": that is what the cathedral chapter decided in 1401 when the mosque had to be knocked down. It is one of the last Spanish Gothic cathedrals and the third largest in size in the Christian world. You will find a Pardoner's door, the peaceful Patio de los Naranjos (courtyard of orange trees), the Capilla Mayor and its huge Flemish retable, the tomb of Christopher Columbus, the impressive Capilla Real, paintings by renowned artists and many other treasures.
Emblem of Seville; a masterpiece of Almohad art, the minaret (96 m) of the old mosque was built in the12C. In the 16C the Cordovan architect Hernán Ruiz gave it its current appearance of a belfry by adding the bell chamber and four upper rooms and by adding the balconies. The whole is topped by a statue symbolising Faith and acting as a weathervane (giralda). The panoramic view over Seville is worth the effort of climbing it.
Modified and added to over the centuries, these stunning palatial buildings, first built in the 10C, are notable for their architectural diversity. Highlights here include Charles V's room, originally built in the 13C by Alfonso X the Wise; superb 18C tapestries; the palace of Peter the Cruel, a masterpiece of Mudéjar art started in 1362; the spectacular Ambassadors' hall; and the delightful gardens, where water plays an all-important role.
This is the heart of Seville: it is impossible not to fall under the spell of this neighbourhood that extends up to the church of Santa María la Blanca, with its winding little roads, picturesque whitewashed houses, secret flower-decked patios and tiny squares. Everything is of a manageable size here. As the Jewish district during the Middle Ages, it enjoyed the protection of the Crown after the Reconquista, but in the late 14C it was taken over by the Christians, who transformed all the synagogues into churches. Today, coming here feels like stepping back in time... even if, in high season, it isn't uncommon to get caught up in a tangle of tourists. Nonetheless, in the daytime, its charm under the Andalusian sun is undeniable and, come evening, there's nothing like a stroll by the light of the street lamps when the bars and restaurants open and the streets come to life.
With its fascinating architecture, sumptuous gardens and delightful water features, the Alhambra is the embodiment of refinement, where words fail to do justice to this paradise created by the Nasrid princes as the ultimate expression of a civilisation in decline. Both a fortress and a royal city, this architectural masterpiece is considered one of the most beautiful and best-preserved Arab palaces ever built in the world.
This district, which is quite typical of the town, bears the name of the hill on which it is situated and is a preferred viewpoint over the Alhambra. There the first Arab fortress in Granada was built. Today only the walls remain. Narrow streets interspersed with small pretty squares climb the hill lined with wealthy villas the carmens. Make this visit on foot to grasp all the charm of this Arab origin district.
A masterpiece of Isabeline Gothic both for the unity of style as well as the richness of its ornamentation, the chapel is by Enrique Egas. Inside, of particular interest is the spectacular Bartolome of Jaén railing which closes off the transept in which can be found the mausoleums of the Catholic Monarchs and their daughter Juana the Mad and her husband. Note also the magnificent Plateresque retable of the high altar. The museum has objects of exceptional historical worth and an extraordinary collection of works by Spanish, Flemish and Italian masters.