Córdoba city, capital of Muslim Spain, is the main city in a territory located in the centre of Andalusia. Córdoba is known worldwide for its famous and breathtaking Mosque-Cathedral, Cordoba is a city rich in history, architecture and Spanish charm. It has a monumental historic center declared World Heritage and full of little streets where one would want to stay, patios full of flowers, pleasant squares and lively taverns where you can enjoy a good flamenco show or taste the typical gastronomy.
A city having been the capital of a Roman province (Hispania Ulterior), also the capital of an Arab State (Al-Andalus) and a Caliphate. A great cultural reference point in Europe, this ancient city has been declared a World Heritage Site and contains a mixture of the diverse cultures that have settled it throughout history. Córdoba also has much to offer in terms of art, culture and leisure, thanks to a myriad of cultural events that are organized here throughout the year: Flamenco festivals, concerts, ballet and other activities. These events are complemented by a number of museums and a good nightlife scene.
One of the world’s greatest Islamic buildings, the Mezquita is a symbol of the worldly, sophisticated culture that flourished here more than a millennium ago when Córdoba was capital of Islamic Spain and western Europe’s biggest, most cultured city. Home to the largest old town in Spain and the only city in the world to have four Unesco-protected sites, Córdoba is a must-visit for any traveller.
Nowhere is Andalucia’s Moorish-Christian heritage more powerfully on display than in Córdoba, with the star attraction being the Mosque-Cathedral, the only building of its kind in Spain. With its fascinating “forest” of ancient Roman columns supporting the iconic red and white brick arches, one of the most impressive mosques in the world. But it is not only its beauty that is impressive, but also its monumental proportions, covering an area the size of four football fields.
Córdoba’s real charms unfold as you explore the winding, stone-paved lanes of the medieval city to the west, north and east of the gaudy touristic area immediately around the Mezquita, wandering between wrought-iron balconies and lamps, potted plants, overhanging trees, golden-stone buildings and verdant interior patios, emerging every few minutes on yet another quaint little hidden plaza. Get lost wandering the streets and alleys, soaking up the heat and atmosphere, whilst stumbling upon hidden corners, gorgeous squares and cool bars.
Today, there’s a modern commercial center, but most travelers love strolling the town’s ancient cobblestone streets, peeking through gates for glimpses of lush flowers and beautiful tiled fountains. Spring is its stellar moment, when the fragrance of flowers such as orange blossom and jasmine always accompany you, especially in a month of May brimming with traditional festivals in Córdoba. Every May, it’s also the setting for the Feria de los Patios, the flower-centred festival celebrated nowhere else in the country.
Córdoba is home to notable examples of Moorish architecture such as the Mezquita-Catedral, which was named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 and is now a cathedral. The UNESCO status has since been expanded to encompass the whole historic centre of Córdoba, Medina-Azahara and Festival de los Patios.
A tangle of narrow medieval streets surrounding the Mezquita, the Old City sits just uphill from the muddy Guadalquivir River and contains the vast majority of Córdoba’s tourist attractions. Surrounding the large Old town are the Roman walls: gates include the Puerta de Almodóvar, the Puerta de Sevilla and Puerta del Puente, which are the only three gates remaining from the original thirteen. Towers and fortresses include the Malmuerta Tower, Torre de Belén and the Puerta del Rincón’s Tower. North and west of the Mezquita sits the Jewish Quarter, a neighborhood which dates from the late Middle Ages and offers an interesting stroll, some lovely patios and a few scant reminders of the Jewish population that once lived here.
In the south of the Old town and east of the great cathedral, in the Plaza del Potro, is the Posada del Potro, a row of inns mentioned in literary works including Don Quixote and La Feria de los Discretos, and which remained active until 1972. Both the plaza and the inn get their name from the fountain in the centre of the plaza, which represents a foal. Not far from this plaza is the Arco del Portillo. In the extreme southwest of the Old Town is the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, a former royal property and the seat of the Inquisition; adjacent to it are the Royal Stables, where Andalusian horses are bred. Palace buildings in the Old Town include the Palacio de Viana and the Palacio de la Merced among others.
Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba
The Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba (World Heritage Site since 1984) is the most important monument in the entire Islamic West and one of the most amazing in the world. Its history summarizes the complete evolution of the Umayyad style in Spain, as well as the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles of Christian construction. The mosque structure is an important monument in the history of Islamic architecture and was highly influential on the subsequent “Moorish” architecture of the western Mediterranean regions of the Muslim world. It is also one of Spain’s major historic monuments and tourist attractions, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.
The Great Mosque of Córdoba held a place of importance amongst the Islamic community of al-Andalus for centuries. In Córdoba, the Umayyad capital, the Mosque was seen as the heart and central focus of the city. The great Mosque consists of two distinct areas, the porticoed patio or sahn, where the minaret stands (under the Renaissance tower), the only intervention by Abd al-Rahman III, and the prayer room or haram. The interior space is arranged on a concert of columns and two-tone arcades with a great chromatic effect. There are five zones into which the enclosure is divided, each corresponding to the different extensions carried out.
The mosque was converted to a cathedral in 1236 when Córdoba was captured by the Christian forces of Castile during the Reconquista. The structure itself underwent only minor modifications until a major building project in the 16th century inserted a new Renaissance cathedral nave and transept into the center of the building. The former minaret, which had been converted to a bell tower, was also significantly remodelled around this time. Starting in the 19th century, modern restorations have in turn led to the recovery and study of some of the building’s Islamic-era elements. Today, the building continues to serve as the city’s cathedral and Mass is celebrated therein daily.
After all of its historical expansions, the mosque-cathedral covers an area of 180 m × 130 m. The building’s original floor plan follows the overall form of some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. Some of its features had precedents in the Umayyad Mosque of Damascus, which was an important model built before it. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. It has thick outer walls with a somewhat fortress-like appearance. To the north is a spacious courtyard (the former sahn), surrounded by an arcaded gallery, with gates on the north, west, and east sides, and fountains that replace the former mosque fountains used for ablutions. A bridge or elevated passage (the sabat) once existed on the west side of the mosque which connected the prayer hall directly with the Caliph’s palace across the street.
The Christian-era additions (after 1236) included many small chapels throughout the building and various relatively cosmetic changes. The most substantial and visible additions are the cruciform nave and transept of the Capilla Mayor (the main chapel where Mass is held today) which were begun in the 16th century and inserted into the middle of the former mosque’s prayer hall, as well as the remodelling of the former minaret into a Renaissance-style bell tower.
The biggest attraction in Córdoba and a truly must-see building, the Mezquita is a massive former mosque-turned-cathedral famed for its “forest” of columns topped with Islamic-style red and white striped arches among its other many architectural highlights and serves as a reminder of the glory and importance Córdoba held in medieval times. Approaching the Mezquita, the first thing you will notice is the massive bell tower on the building’s north side which looms over the surrounding buildings. Built in the 1600s the tower replaced a minaret previously on the site. Along the outside of the building the wall takes on the appearance of a fortress, with an elaborate set of Moorish-style archway and windows spaced every so often.
Stepping through one of the doors you’ll enter the Patio de los Naranjos, or Court of the Orange Trees, which true to its name contains a grove of orange trees, planted in symmetrical rows that replicate the forest of columns within the building. A large fountain drips pleasantly in the middle, and the views of the bell tower framed by trees are excellent. The Patio is free to enter and is open during the day as a public park – the ticket booths are located on the bell tower side of the courtyard. Entering the interior you’ll immediately be standing before the forest of columns which recede into the distance, topped with their dazzling horseshoe arches. The light in the space will play interesting tricks with the arches and varies pretty dramatically, going from rather dark when you enter to very bright at the cathedral in the middle and back.
Opposite the room from the entrance is the Mihrab, a spectacular archway decorated with Arabic writing which was the focus of the mosque, as it faced in the direction of Mecca and was what every Muslim faced as they knelt on the floor to pray. In the corner of the building nearby are glass cases with artifacts excavated from beneath the Mezquita, and the walls along the side of the building are lined with chapels, each one with an intricate piece of artwork.
At the centre of the building, the Cathedral towers over the rest of the building, and the transition from the impressive-but-intimate mosque structure to the overwhelming awe of the cathedral, with its rich decoration and well-illuminated interior, standing to suggest triumph over the Muslims who previously used this building. The presence of the cathedral also offers the unique opportunity to so easily compare the differences between Muslim and Christian architecture.
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
The Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, a fortress and palace with solid walls, encloses a large part of the architectural evolution of Córdoba inside. It is a building of military character whose construction was ordered by the King Alfonso XI of Castile in the year 1328, on previous constructions (the Islamic-era Umayyad Alcázar, also the previous residence of the Roman Governor and the Customs). The architectural ensemble has a sober character in its exterior and splendid in its interior, with the magnificent gardens and courtyards that maintain a Mudéjar inspiration. Roman and Visigothic remains coexist with those of Arab origin in this majestic site, since it was the favorite place of the different rulers of the city. It forms part of the Historic Center of Córdoba that was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994.
The outdoor area of the Alcázar is situated within the walls of the four towers (Paloma, Leones, Homenaje and Inquisición), this creating an almost square shape to the building. This fortress with extensive stone ashlar walls and four towers that outline the angles (Los Leones, Tribute, Inquisition and Las Palomas) Inside, the different dependencies are articulated around patios with exotic and beautiful flowers, aromatic herbs and leafy trees. The rooms and corridors are closed with Gothic stone domes. In one of the access galleries there is a pagan sarcophagus from the first quarter of the 3rd century. On its front it shows a high relief on an allegory of the passage of the deceased towards the afterlife through a half-open door.
Of all the rooms, a small Baroque chapel stands out: the Salón de los Mosaicos, in which Roman pieces of this type from the Corredera subsoil are exhibited. Under this room are the Arab-inspired baths, divided into three vaulted rooms with starry skylights. These communicate with the boiler located under the Tower of Homage. Of the two courtyards, the Mudejar draws attention for its beauty. Paved in marble, the murmur of water running through the canals and pools refreshes the environment and relaxes the weary visitor. The extensive gardens that close the complex show the monumentality and splendor of this Córdoba Alcázar.
The Spanish city of Córdoba has the remains of a Roman temple, which was discovered in the 1950s during the expansion of City Hall.It is located in the angle formed by the streets Claudio Marcelo and Capitulares. Dedicated to the imperial cult, it amazes for its large dimensions. He was part of the Provincial Forum together with a circus. Originally it was raised on a podium and had six Corinthian-type free-standing columns at its entrance. In front of it stood the ara or altar. The reconstruction, carried out by the architect Félix Hernández, has provided Córdoba with another example of the grandeur of this city in Roman times. Some of the original pieces of the temple are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum or in unusual and beautiful corners of the city, such as the fluted column in the Plaza de la Doblas.
The building was situated on a podium and consisted of six columns on its front facade and ten columns on each side. Currently, the only remains left of the building are its foundation, the stairs, the altar and some shafts of columns and capitals. In the area had already been found architectural elements, such as drums of columns, capitals, etc. all in marble, so the area was known as los marmolejos. This area of Córdoba could become between the 1st century and the 2nd century, as the provincial forum of the Colonia Patricia, title that received the city during the Roman rule.
The highlight of the set are the foundations: those that support the building itself and the front counters, arranged in a fan shape and supported on a wall (part of which is visible today at City Hall), which created a stand to prevent it being displaced by the weight of the set, built entirely of marble. This type of fastening, called anterides, was rare in the Empire, which adds value to Cordobese set. The anterideses next to the massive foundations of the temple tell us about the magnitude that the temple could have had, widely visible from the Via Augusta, the main entryway to the east, running parallel to the circus. Some original fragments of the temple, such as parts of drums or capitals, can be seen. Other remains were taken to the Archaeological and Ethnological Museum of Córdoba for better preservation, as some relief that there are exposed, and which also includes some of its capitals, while several shafts of columns can be seen in the Plaza de las Doblas.
The Roman bridge of Córdoba is a bridge in the Historic centre of Córdoba, Andalusia, southern Spain, originally built in the early 1st century BC across the Guadalquivir river, though it has been reconstructed at various times since. It is also known locally as the Old Bridge as for two thousand years, until the construction of the San Rafael Bridge in the mid-twentieth century, it was the city’s only bridge across the river. The set of the Cathedral Mosque, the river, the Puerta del Puente and the Roman Bridge of Córdoba itself, make up one of the most exquisite views of the city, especially if it is visited at sunset, at that uncertain hour in which the last sunbeams gild the surfaces.
Most of the present structure dates from the Arabs reconstruction in the 8th century. The main structure dates from the Middle Ages, the most recent intervention being 1876. It consists of sixteen arches, four pointed and the rest semicircular. In the center of the parapet there is a sculpture of San Rafael, a work from the 16th century, made by Bernabé Gómez del Río. It is included in the small preserved area known as Sotos de la Albolafia. Since 1931, the bridge, together with the Puerta del Puente and the Calahorra tower, has been declared a Bien de Interés Cultural in the monument category. It also part of the historic centre of Cordoba, declared a World Heritage Site in 1984.
Royal Stables are a set of stables in Córdoba, Spain. The building is situated in the historic centre and borders the Guadalquivir. Felipe II, the King on whose empire the sun did not set, founded the Royal Stables of Córdoba in 1572 “with the aim of breeding good horses for the service of the Royal Household”. D. Diego López de Haro, Mayor Equestrian, was in charge of its construction. The stables housed the best stallions and mares of the royal stud breed Andalusian horse. The brand contained an “R” for Real (“royal”) inside a C for Córdoba with a corona (crown) on top of the C; the royal stamp was placed on horses produced in the Royal Stables, being the “first brand used on the first horses of the now organized breed”.
The building design is characterized by a distinct military style in keeping with its location by the Alcázar fortress. The main area features a cross-vaulted roof which is supported on sandstone columns and is divided into small stables. The building features a permanent equestrian display. Of the great building, the stable stands out, which García Lorca compared to a “Cathedral for horses”, organized in three naves with a corrugated floor with a groin vault, supported by brick arches and strong stone columns delimiting the boxes located on both sides.. Currently the Royal Stables host and are the scene of the Equestrian Show “Passion and duende del Caballo Andaluz”, recommended for all types of public.
Hospital del Cardenal Salazar
Hospital del Cardenal Salazar was a general hospital located in Córdoba, Spain. It was founded in 1703 in the historic centre by Cardinal Pedro de Salazar Gutiérrez de Toledo, Bishop of Cordoba. The building was designed by Juan Antonio Camacho de Saavedra. The stately building of the Hospital del Cardenal Salazar in Córdoba has performed, since its projection, different functions. It has served as a school, a hospital for the terminally ill, and is currently home to the University of Cordoba’s Faculty of Philosophy and Arts.
It has great architectural beauty, with a facade of columns with Doric capitals flanking the arched entrance. The rooms surrounded patios that brought them light and air. It was designed in the 18th century by Francisco Hurtado Izquierdo. The imposing Baroque façade gives way to the different rooms articulated around two patios with arches, the main one with a precious marble fountain. From the main staircase you access the second floor. The long corridors open with small windows in which, even today, the names and dates of the inmates of the old hospital can be seen engraved. The chapel of San Bartolomé, an example of Gothic-Mudejar architecture, is integrated into the complex.
Minaret of San Juan
The Alminar de San Juan in Córdoba draws attention for preserving almost its entire Arab appearance from the 10th century despite having been ceded after the reconquest, together with the mosque that housed it, for the construction of a church of the Order of San Juan. With a square plan and ashlars, the most striking are the twin horseshoe arches with marble columns that decorate the tower. Currently the temple houses the order of the Handmaids of Jesus.
Grim Death Tower
Grim Death Tower was built on a previous Islamic construction, was built in the 15th century. It is attached to the wall through a semicircular arch, under which an inscribed legend can be seen with data alluding to its construction. Inside, various stairs lead to the walkway and, further up, to the only room in the building, with a vault and open to the outside through arrow slits.
The Roman Mausoleums of Córdoba are the most important Roman funerary constructions in the city. Its cylindrical structure and its large dimensions, as well as its arrangement at the entrance to the city next to the main Corduba-Híspalis road. It could have been designed by an Italian architect, taking other mausoleums in the imperial capital as a reference. The mausoleums were discovered in 1993 during archaeological surveys. Today it can be seen its interior, where the Funeral World Interpretation Center has been arranged.
Baths of the Alcázar Califal
Built under the Caliphate of Alhakem II, they form a set of rooms with masonry walls. They are closed with vaults (where the characteristic star skylights appear), supported by ultra-semicircular arches on capitals and marble columns. These baths or hammam, next to the disappeared Umayyad Alcázar, to which they most certainly belonged, were possibly the most important in the city. Ablutions and bodily cleansing were an essential part of Muslim life. They were mandatory for prayer, as well as constituting a social rite. During the 11th to the 13th centuries, they were reused by the Almoravids and Almohads, proof of this are the carved plasterwork with ataurique motifs and epigraphic stripes from the period that are kept in the archaeological museum.
Arab baths of Santa Maria
Arab baths on Velázquez Bosco street, very close to the Alhama Mosque, possibly built during the Mudejar era on top of a 10th century washbasin related to the Great Mosque of Cordoba. Currently they are part of a house, being possible to visit them after purchasing the relevant ticket. The small bathrooms are a perfect example of this type of Hispano-Muslim construction. The current vestibule was once the dressing room or rest room, bait al-maslaj, and gave way to the cold water room. After different interventions, today, the al bait al-bárid (cold room), is an open patio. After removing the vault and the pond, the original galleries with horseshoe arches and Caliphate capitals still remain. The hot room, al bait al-sajin, has a rectangular plan with a barrel vault and preserves the openings that housed the hot and cold water basins. From this room you can access an elliptical cistern located more than ten meters deep.
Madinat al-Zahra or Medina Azahara was a fortified palace-city on the western outskirts of Córdoba in present-day Spain. Its remains are a major archaeological site today. The city was built in the 10th century by Abd ar-Rahman III (912–961), it served as the capital of the Caliphate of Córdoba and its center of government. The city included ceremonial reception halls, a congregational mosque, administrative and government offices, aristocratic residences, gardens, a mint, workshops, barracks, service quarters, and baths. Water was supplied through aqueducts. On July 1, 2018, the site was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the inscription name “Caliphate City of Medina Azahara”.
The city is arranged in three terraces surrounded by a wall, located the royal Alcázar in the uppermost and intermediate. The lowest zone was reserved for houses and the mosque, built outside the walls. Historical sources point to the participation of some ten thousand people who worked daily in its construction. Abd al-Rahman did not skimp on materials to achieve the desired effect: the insignia of the powerful kingdom that he ruled. Rich purple and red marble, gold and precious stones, in addition to the careful craftsmanship of the best stonemasons and the legendary Byzatine contributions, helped to elevate this precious project.
The city covered an almost rectangular area measuring 1.5 km long (roughly from east to west) and 750 wide (roughly from north to south). Part of the fortress was public and was where official visits took place. In the highest part is the Salón Alto, arranged in five naves with arcades. Below is the Salón Rico. The room is divided into three naves with red and bluish marble arches, the side ones being blind and the central one open. The ataurique decoration (carved plant motifs) and the richness of the materials have shaped the name of the decorated enclosure, complete with bathrooms and open to the High Garden, of great beauty.
This garden is developed in four zones, leaving the point of intersection occupied by a pavilion and four pools. One of these, the one facing the Salón Rico, has become a legend for sheltering mercury inside and bathing the magnificent venue with flashes of a thousand colors. A complex of streets on a steep ramp lead us to the great eastern portico, through which the great embassies received by the Caliph entered. In front of it there was a large square where the troops and the personnel of the protocol ceremonies were concentrated. The mosque was located outside the walls of the medina, built in just over a month.
The city is home to 12 Christian churches that were built (many as transformations of mosques) by Ferdinand III of Castile after the reconquest of the city in the 13th century. They were to act both as churches and as the administrative centres in the neighborhoods into which the city was divided in medieval times. The Route of the Fernandinas Churches consists of the enhancement of 11 churches that Fernando III the Saint ordered to be built between the mid-13th century and the beginning of the 14th century in different areas of the city, which is why they are known as Fernandinas Churches.
The relevance of these temples lies not only in the singularity of their medieval architecture but also in their function as centers of repopulation of the urban fabric, through the organization in collations. Faced with living buildings, which maintain their liturgical function and have known how to collect the plastic contributions of all ages, to become the singular and unique monuments that we enjoy today. To these is added the Nuestra Señora del Carmen de Puerta Nueva Parish, which houses a significant example of Baroque painting by Juan de Valdés Leal and the city’s main temple, which acts as a reference point for this interesting heritage legacy that it treasures.
Church of the Madeleine
Near the neighborhood of San Lorenzo we find a building of great historical value, the church of La Magdalena, one of the first to be built and a model for other parishes in Cordoba. In its artistic style, Romanesque, Gothic and Mudejar are mixed. The main doorway is the one located at the foot and has a beautiful rose window. Of the side entrances, the one on the right stands out, decorated with a diamond tip, dated as the oldest door of the churches of Córdoba. The tower, from the 17th century, develops in decreasing bodies.
Saint Augustine Church
Located near San Lorenzo, the original construction of the church dates to 1328 and, like many of them, Baroque interventions cover the medieval work. San Agustín is one of Cordoba’s baroque jewels. The main façade is the result of contributions made in the 16th and 17th centuries, resulting in an interesting succession of Corinthian arches and columns with a split pediment, which house the very famous image of Nuestra Señora de las Angustias, made by Juan de Mesa in the XVII century. Inside, with three floors and a transept, interesting murals and frescoes were discovered during the restoration to which the building.
Saint Andrew’s Church
Close to the church of San Pablo, in the Plaza de San Andrés, we can visit the church of the same name. Founded in the 13th century, it could have been built on top of a Visigothic basilica, although interventions in the 17th and 13th centuries masked all previous vestiges. The tower preserves its lower part from the 16th century, the upper part being from the following century. The main doorway, from the 17th century, bears the coat of arms of Bishop Siuri. Inside, there is a beautiful baroque altarpiece in the Churrigueresque style drawn by Pedro Duque Cornejo, as well as numerous paintings of great artistic value, such as those made by Antonio del Castillo or Palomino.
Church of San Francisco and San Eulogio de la Axerquía
The partially restored remains of the cloister of this convent church envelop this part of Córdoba in an almost romantic atmosphere. Founded in the 13th century, the Baroque renovations flooded the convent and temple, destroyed after the confiscations of the 19th century. The access doorway, made of marble and with a baroque aesthetic, houses a niche with the image of Fernando III el Santo. The church, with a single nave and transept, houses a beautiful eighteenth-century altarpiece.
Church of San Lorenzo
Located in the neighborhood of the same name, this church is one of the most exquisite jewels of Cordoba’s medieval architecture. Despite the renovations, the turn-of-the-century restorations have restored part of its original aesthetics. Its originality lies in the portico with three arches that precedes the main entrance, with the tower on the left side, and the imposing rose window in the center. The tower was built on the minaret of an old mosque, the remains of which can be seen in the main body, the last three being added in the 16th century by Hernán Ruiz II. The movement of the upper prisms precedes the Seville Giralda in aesthetics. Inside, the headpiece, covered with Italogothic paintings, and the Baroque main altarpiece, housed today at the foot of the church, near the imposing baptismal font, stand out.
San Miguel’s Church
Located in the center of the city, close to Cruz Conde street, the church of San Miguel is a medieval Gothic construction with Baroque remodeling. On the cover, the beautiful rose window with intertwined columns draws attention. The interior, divided into three naves by pillars, leads to the presbytery, decorated with a marble altarpiece from the 18th century. The various canvases and baroque carvings coexist with works from the 19th century. It has an interesting baptismal chapel covered with a beautiful Mudejar dome.
Church of San Nicolás de la Villa
Right in the center of Córdoba, on Bulevar del Gran Capitán, stands this magnificent construction founded in the 13th century and rebuilt in the 15th century following a Gothic-Mudejar aesthetic. It has one of the most beautiful towers of the Fernandina churches, polygonal in shape and built on a minaret. Its north doorway, built in 1555 by Hernán Ruiz II, is also of great beauty. Several elements of great artistic value stand out inside, such as the Baptism Chapel from the 16th century, the main altarpiece, in Baroque style, the Eucharistic urn of the goldsmith Damián de Castro and the coffered ceiling of the main nave.
St. Paul’s Church
Opposite the Cordoba City Hall is the imposing church of San Pablo. Built between the 13th and 14th centuries, however, it underwent important reforms from the 18th century. The exterior façade opens onto Capitulares street with a portal of moving Solomonic columns. The tower preserves one of the three best-preserved carillon in all of Spain. Behind the compass, the Mannerist doorway can be glimpsed, giving access to the temple with three naves. Inside, the coffered ceiling with Mudejar decoration, the main altarpiece and the qubba or vaulted building stand out.
St. Peter’s Church
Located near the Corredera, the successive reforms to which it has been subjected have hidden its original architectural characteristics. Two medieval covers have been preserved, as well as the first body of the tower. The most notable interventions are those of Hernán Ruiz II in the 16th century, creating the main façade, and that of Juan de Ochoa, who built the sacristy in the 17th century. In the 18th century, plasterwork was added to the ceilings. Inside, the main altarpiece stands out, an 18th-century work by Negrete, and the altarpiece of the Chapel of the Martyrs, the work of Alonso Gómez de Sandoval.
Church of Santa Marina
In the Plaza del Conde de Priego is the parish of the neighborhood of the same name, the largest and most popular in Córdoba, and was founded by King Fernando III El Santo. Its construction began in the last decades of the 13th century and lasted through the 14th. It brings together the late Romanesque, Gothic and Mudejar styles, although it also has elements from later centuries, such as the Renaissance tower and the tabernacle, renovated throughout the 18th century. Interesting is its rose window, as well as the left side doorway, unique for its characteristics in Córdoba. The building, with a certain air of fortress, distributes its interior in three baroque-style naves. It is worth noting the Mudejar baptismal chapel from the 15th century and the funeral chapel of the Orozco family.
Saint James Church
Like most of Fernandina’s churches, it was built on the site of an old Umayyad mosque, of which the minaret has been preserved, converted into a Christian tower. Its original architectural features have been restored thanks to the restoration works that have been carried out on the building. The body of the church, rectangular in plan, is structured in three naves. It contains numerous works of artistic interest, such as the image of Cristo de las Penas, an anonymous carving from the 15th century.
Monastery of San Jerónimo de Valparaíso
Facing the impressive Medina Azahara, also sheltered by the Sierra de Córdoba and surrounded by native vegetation, is the Monastery of San Jerónimo de Valparaíso, an imposing building from the 15th century. Its Gothic origin has been enriched thanks to successive Renaissance and Baroque interventions. The great façade is impressive, with balconies and windows, in the center of the doorway there is a white marble medallion with relief of Saint Jerome. Inside, the main patio is cloistered with Doric columns and Gothic vaults. There are several chapels in these cloisters. Currently its owners, the Marquises of Mérito, have done a stupendous restoration work, carried out over several generations.
Córdoba Synagogue is a historic edifice in the Jewish Quarter of Córdoba. The synagogue was decorated according to the best Mudejar tradition. Unique in Andalusia and third of the best preserved from medieval times in all of Spain, the Synagogue of Córdoba is located in the Jewish quarter. Built between the years 1314 and 1315 according to the inscriptions found in the building, it served as a temple until the final Jewish expulsion. Through the patio there is access to a small hall. To the right of this go up the stairs that give access to the female area. In front is the main room. With a quadrangular plan, it is decorated with Mudejar atauriques. The wall that supports the women’s tribune opens with three arches decorated with plasterwork of great beauty. In 1492 the Jews were expelled, the temple being used as a hospital, later becoming the hermitage of San Crispin and, finally, a children’s school. At the end of the 19th century it was declared a National Monument.
Art galleries and Museums
The Archaeological and Ethnological Museum of Córdoba is a provincial museum located near the Guadalquivir River. The museum was officially opened in 1867 and shared space with the Museum of Fine Arts until 1920. In 1960, the museum was relocated to the Renaissance Palace of Páez de Castillo where it remains to present day. The Archaeological and Ethnological Museum has eight halls which contain pieces from the middle to late Bronze Age, to Roman culture, Visigothic art, and Islamic culture. The Julio Romero de Torres Museum is located next to the Guadalquivir and was opened in November 1931. The home of Julio Romero de Torres, has undergone many renovations and been turned into a museum and it has also been home to several other historical institutions such as the Archaeological Museum (1868-1917) and the Museum of Fine Arts. Many of the works include paintings and motifs done by Julio Romero de Torres himself.
The Fine Arts Museum of Córdoba is located next to the Julio Romero de Torres Museum which it shares a courtyard with. The building originally was for the old Hospital for Charity but after that the building went under many renovations and renewals to become the renaissance style building it is today. The Museum of Fine Arts contains many works from the baroque period, medieval renaissance art, work from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, drawings, mannerist art and other unique works. The Diocesan Museum is located in the Córdoba’s Episcopal Palace which was built upon the former Umayyad alcázar. The collection within houses many paintings, sculptures and furniture.
Since 1965, the Renaissance-style palace of the Páez de Castillejo family has housed one of the most complete archaeological museums in Spain: The Archaeological Museum of Córdoba. It is the institution in charge of conserving, investigating and disseminating the material remains belonging to the archaeological heritage of Córdoba and province, from prehistory to Al-Andalus. Its many rooms and courtyards collect samples from different periods and architectural styles. Throughout three patios and eight rooms, History seems to speak from the exhibited pieces, transporting us, from room to room, from patio to patio, to that Córdoba of memory.
In addition, in January 2011 a new building was inaugurated next to the existing one. This extension, in a contemporary architectural language, accompanies the Renaissance Palace of Jerónimo Páez. The new building offers modern, attractive and functional museum spaces, which provide the Archaeological Museum of Córdoba with the growing spaces and services that its projection in today’s society demands. This new building also presents an exceptional piece, the archaeological site of the city’s Roman theater, which was found on the site of the building and which is open to the public in its basement, restored, museumized and accessible.
In Maimonides Square, very close to the Hospital del Cardenal Salazar, is the Bullfighting Museum of Córdoba, located in an old stately mansion from the 16th century. The strong Cordoba bullfighting tradition has managed to gather part of the huge heritage dedicated to the five caliphs of bullfighting, Lagartijo, Guerrita, Machaquito, Manolete and Manuel Benítez, El Cordobés. The journey through photographic material, bullfighting costumes, old fair posters, engravings, fighting instruments, sculptures and paintings, brings the history of bullfighting closer to the visitor.
Fosforito Flamenco Center
This building located in the square of the same name is the prototype of a popular house from the 14th and 15th centuries. Colloquially called corrales, the rooms are arranged around a common patio presided over by a well. It is one of the places in Cordoba preferred by Cervantes both in his life and in his work, because in addition to staying there, it served as a stage for developing some of his works. Today, the Posada del Potro-Centro Flamenco Fosforito is a new space for the interpretation, production, research and dissemination of flamenco. The exhibit space, the Posada del Potro, the 15th century neighborhood corral used as an inn until 1972, with a long and extensive life, as well as a cultural and historical value. The Center is articulated around Cordovan singer, Antonio Fernández, Fosforito, one of the most important figures of universal flamenco.
La Posada del Potro–Centro Flamenco Fosforito is the only center in Andalusia dedicated to Flamenco of these characteristics, being at the same time a place of interpretation, promotion and museum exhibition. A journey through time allows you to discover the birth and evolution of flamenco up to the present, through the different elements that make up the cultural singularity of Flamenco. The objective of the Interpretation Center is for the visitor to leave the building with more knowledge about Flamenco and above all with curiosity and interest in learning more. The room covers topics such as: the origin of Flamenco, styles, types, instruments, artists, costumes and relationships with other cultural aspects.
House of Sepharad
The Casa de Sefarad – House of Memory, is a cultural center located in the heart of the Jewish quarter of Córdoba. Its permanent exhibition and its cultural activities aim to arouse interest in a hidden legacy and recover the memory of a tradition that is part of our identity: the Sephardic/Judeo-Spanish tradition. The permanent exhibition, Memories of Sepharad, is divided into nine thematic rooms: Diaspora Room, Synagogue Room, Judeo-Spanish Room, Maimonides Room, Inquisition Room, Domestic Life Room, Women & Sepharad Room, Hall of the festive cycles and Hall of Sephardic music.
Diocesan Museum (Episcopal Palace)
On the second floor of the historic Episcopal Palace, on Calle Torrijos, is the Diocesan Museum, which houses a large collection of artistic pieces brought from churches throughout the Diocese, as well as from the Cathedral and the Episcopal Palace. Along with sculptures and paintings, different types of furniture can be seen, all pieces dating from the 13th to the 18th century. Located on top of the old Umayyad Alcázar, the layout of this magnificent building is structured around a patio from which an exquisite Baroque staircase with a polychrome plasterwork vault starts.
Calahorra Tower (Living Museum of Al-Andalus)
At the southern end of the Roman Bridge stands the Torre de la Calahorra de Córdoba, an enclave of control and defense since antiquity, mentioned in some Arab source about al-Andalus, and in numerous historical references from the Christian conquest of Córdoba to the present day.. Its architecture reflects its successive renovations. The horseshoe arch would function as a gate attached to the bridge, and its rectangular enclosure flanked by towers would be reinforced in the 12th century. At the beginning of the 20th century it was declared a historical-artistic monument. After various uses, it currently houses the Living Museum of al-Andalus, on the coexistence between Jewish, Christian and Muslim cultures.
Next to the Synagogue, in the center of the Jewish quarter, we find a small jewel set in time, the Casa Andalusí. Attached to the parapet of the old wall, when we cross the entrance door we immerse ourselves in a typically Moorish atmosphere. In its different rooms and patios we will appreciate collections of old coins and a model of the first paper-making machines that arrived in the West.
House of Water
La Casa del Agua is an Interpretation Center that bases its thematic project on the representation of the natural and historical cycle of water in the city of Córdoba as a vital element, which serves as a common thread to understand the uses and customs of its inhabitants, its evolution in time and the difficulties to access its consumption. This historic building, in addition to housing a section of Roman wall and sewer inside, has a courtyard, a well and a cistern, and was a lifelong prison for women during the Inquisition. In the exhibition tour that you will find in the Casa del Agua, you will be able to contemplate archaeological remains and infrastructures belonging to different periods, ethnographic collections and abundant graphic information, so that you will obtain a complete image of the whole.
Al-Iksir, the Museum of Alchemy
The Alchemy Museum is an open door to a fascinating world. Alchemy, the ancient art of transmuting matter, is also an art of spiritual transformation. Located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter, in a completely renovated 13th century house, the museum offers different objects such as alchemy stones, elixirs, medicines and mortars, as well as several explanatory videos. On the upper floor you will find an alchemical laboratory, stills, a lapidary and even a small observatory.
House of the Umayyad Guadamecí
A unique exhibition in the world, made with Umayyad techniques, according to the original guadamecíes, which were carried out along with other arts in Medina Azahara, when Córdoba was the adornment of the world. All this thanks to the work carried out by Ramón García Romero and Jose Carlos Villarejo García, artists who investigate caliphal and sumptuary techniques that were carried out in Córdoba (Spain) in the 10th century. The house-museum has a shop inside that specializes in caliphal techniques on guadamecí and cordoban. In addition, it offers the possibility of hiring a tour guide to accompany visitors throughout the permanent exhibition and its restoration workshop and artistic studio.
Hydraulic Museum-Molino de Martos
The Hydraulic Museum integrates in the Molino de Martos the interpretation of history through culture, water management and tradition in the use of plants: food source (cereal flour), dyeing (cloths and fabrics), pickles (skins) or vegetable fibers. Being the original structure of the 12th century, the reforms carried out in the Molino de Martos during the 14th and 16th centuries have inevitably transformed its previous appearance. It had three fulling mills, a grinding room and a jetty. It maintained special importance in the city in the process of grinding the cereal.
In 1987, this museum, center of plant culture, was inaugurated. The different areas of which the tour is made up show us the various collections of the enclosure. The tour begins in the arboretum, which simulates a natural forest, going through the different greenhouses, the agricultural school, the rose garden, its gardens and, of course, the Paleobotanical Museum, which offers us information on the different floras that have existed throughout throughout history.
The Ethnbotanical Museum has a permanent exhibition in which the society/plant relationship is studied through different modules and instruments. Finally, the Hydraulic Museum, integrates in the Martos Mill the interpretation of history through culture, water management and tradition in the use of plants: food source (cereal flour), dyes (cloths and fabrics), pickles (skins) or vegetable fibers. The Garden looks out and bathes in the Guadalquivir through its mills, facilitating the visit and understanding of the flora and vegetation of our groves and banks.
Museum of Fine Arts
Located in Plaza del Potro, it opened its doors to the public in 1862, at the hands of its first director, Rafael Romero Barros, father of the famous Cordovan painter Julio Romero de Torres. It occupies different rooms of what was the old Hospital de la Caridad, in Plateresque style. After successive extensions, in 1936 its current state was configured following the Renaissance style. Although paintings by Italian Renaissance masters can be found on its walls, its main and most numerous collections are from the Baroque period and from the 19th century. Works by Bartolomé Bermejo, Luis de Morales, Valdés Leal, Ribera, Zurbarán, Murillo, Antonio del Castillo and the Cordovan sculptor Mateo Inurria stand out. The building itself is worth a visit, with its secluded patio dotted with orange trees and a baroque staircase with an octagonal wooden coffered ceiling.
Julio Romero de Torres Museum
Located in the same building as the Fine Arts building, opposite the Posada del Potro, it was created in 1931, one year after the death of the painter Julio Romero de Torres. Dedicated to his work, it allows us to take a tour of his life, from his beginnings to his most splendid and well-known works: La Chiquita Piconera, Naranjas y Limones, Cante Hondo, Poema a Córdoba, etc.
Center for Contemporary Creation of Andalusia (C3A)
The Center for Contemporary Creation of Andalusia (C3A) is a space dedicated to contemporary production and creation in which artists can make their projects come true, researching, experimenting, generating their works and exhibiting them. It is a place for meeting and dialogue between disciplines, for specialized and initial training and for citizen participation. One of the main objectives of the C3A is to bring contemporary artistic languages closer to the public, so that not only finished works are shown, but also the creative process. To this end, it carries out a program of exhibitions, activities, workshops, etc. Oriented to all audiences and in which all artistic disciplines have a place: visual and audiovisual arts, the scenic environment, dance or contemporary circus. It has workshops for visual creation and audiovisual laboratories, areas for meeting with other disciplines, particularly in the field of live arts.
Rafael Boti Art Center
The Rafael Botí Art Center is an exhibition space and a place for creation, reflection, dissemination and debate around contemporary artistic manifestations, structured around plastic and visual arts. Located in the heart of the Jewish quarter of Córdoba, it has two large rooms for temporary exhibitions, a room dedicated to the permanent exhibition of the work of Rafael Botí and various multipurpose spaces such as the patio and the terrace. In this art center, in addition, valuable documentary and bibliographic collections are preserved, as well as a collection of plastic and audiovisual works.
Pepe Espaliu Art Center
The Pepe Espaliú Art Center, located in a recently restored 18th century house-patio, has a permanent exhibition of almost 40 works by the Cordovan creator that allows us to get closer to the artist and his personal career. Pepe Espaliú is one of the most outstanding personalities of the second generation of Spanish artists of the eighties. He was born in Córdoba in 1955 and died in the same city in 1993 due to AIDS, a disease that largely marked the last stretch of his work. A very versatile man, he carried out creations of sculpture, painting, poetry and public actions (performances).
Antonio Gala Foundation
The permanent exhibition Memories of Antonio Gala is located in Antonio Gala Foundation’s headquarters, precisely in the Chapter House of what was once the Corpus Christi convent. The exhibition covers the life and professional career of the writer Antonio Gala, showing, among others, first editions of his work, unpublished manuscripts, interviews, photographs, prizes and the author’s personal belongings. Visitors to the exhibition will also be able to see, before entering the room, an audiovisual montage that serves as a presentation, and some panels with a list of works published by Antonio Gala. Before entering the permanent exhibition, the visitor enters the Fundación por el Compás del Corpus Christi, with an arcade with frescoes from the 17th century, and can admire the Roman mosaic that presides over the old chapel, today an assembly hall.
The historic quarter of Córdoba is a beautiful network of small streets, alleys, squares and whitewashed courtyards arranged around the Mezquita, which reflects the city’s prominent place in the Islamic world during medieval times.
The Avenida del Alcázar runs parallel to the Guadalquivir river on its right bank and is limited by the Roman Bridge and the San Rafael Bridge. Its name is due to the fact that a good part of the avenue borders the south wall of the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. Currently, you can enjoy a wide canvas of wall that constituted the southern closure of the fortress itself. The promenade that runs next to the Guadalquivir is especially noteworthy, with a magnificent perspective of Los Sotos de la Albolafia.
Boulevard of the Great Captain
What is currently known as Bulevar de Gran Capitán was laid out as a pedestrian promenade, opening up to traffic over the years. Later, it was re-adapted to the original project, being today a large social center where different events take place. Among its buildings, the Gran Teatro stands out, a work from the 19th century where numerous performances of the International Guitar Festival are held annually, in addition to having a very complete agenda throughout the year.
Cuesta del Bailío
From the central Alfaros street we access the street called Cuesta del Bailío, one of the entrances of the wall that connected the Ajerquía with the Medina. At the bottom of it you can see the Casa del Bailío, with a beautiful Renaissance façade. From this well-known street, you can access the Plaza de Capuchinos, presided over by the famous Cristo de los Faroles.
Square of the Tendillas
Considered the most central square in the city, its current configuration dates from the twenties of the last century. Located in the commercial center of Córdoba, in 1999 the new remodeling of this charismatic square and the fountain it houses was inaugurated. The innovative design and the correct lighting of the latter go hand in hand with respect for tradition, thus conserving, on the circular and quadrangular basins, the equestrian statue of the Great Captain, the work of the sculptor Mateo Inurria. On both sides and thirty-two water jets are arranged on the ground to appease the summer heat and amuse the little ones.
Plaza of the Aguayo
Located on the side façade of the church of San Pedro, this square opens up, the layout of which dates back to the 16th century. The ancestral home of Los Aguayos is from this same period, which gives its name to the current religious school square. In the center of the square stands a Triumph of San Rafael from 1763.
Plaza of the Merced Palace
Near the Plaza de Colón we find this old Mercedarian convent, current headquarters of the Diputación de Córdoba. It is a very unique building, a representative example of the Cordovan baroque. Built in two phases during the 18th century, its dividing axis is a main church built in 1745 with excellent plasterwork and the best Baroque altarpiece in Córdoba. Throughout the year, the Palace hosts interesting national and international exhibitions organized by the Diputación de Córdoba in its patios and rooms.
Plaza of the Páez de Castillejo Palace
Nestled in the historic center of Cordoba is this majestic Renaissance palace, today the headquarters of the Archaeological and Ethnological Museum of Córdoba. It was designed by the architect Hernán Ruiz II in the 16th century. The main one recalls in its design the magnificent Puerta del Puente. Inside, the three beautiful patios, full of archaeological pieces, stand out for their beauty. The architecture of its rooms, patios, stairs and coffered ceiling, its fountains and vegetable ornamentation, lend the whole an attractive atmosphere that is purely Cordovan. its patios, emerging from memory, the terraces are preserved as stands that gave entrance to a Roman theater.
Courtyard of Municipal Archive
In the heart of the Jewish quarter is the Municipal Archive, an old manor house, supposedly belonging to the Guzmanes family, although on the cover the coat of arms that can be seen belongs to the Hoces family. The building has a stone portal with a Mudejar-type alfiz. And some beautiful interior patios. The staircase, from 1609, has a beautiful dome and a careful handrail.
Plaza de Don Gome
In the Plaza de Don Gome stands this majestic palace, whose rooms are developed around twelve magnificent patios and a fantastic garden. The different floral species decorate and perfume every corner of the bombastic museum. The last Marchioness of Viana, Sofía de Lancaster, knew how to maintain the exquisite origin of this 14th century palace.
The many rooms of the Palacio de Viana house numerous collections of all kinds (paintings, crockery, mosaics, tapestries, tiles, firearms). The fabulous works of art on display in this venue make this visit one of the most constructive in Córdoba. The collection of guadamecíes and the great library from the 16th to the 18th centuries stand out.
Interpretation Center of the Fiesta de los Patios Barter Four
The Interpretation Center of the Fiesta de los Patios Trueque Cuatro is an emblematic house-patio of the festive tradition of Córdoba, a place to disseminate that the Fiesta de los Patios de Córdoba is the festival of an entire town, which lives its patios, of a town that is expressing its identity throughout the centuries. The Interpretation Center of the Fiesta de los Patios Trueque Cuatro focuses on people. The intangible culture declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, is based on the recognition of human values that have to do with a way of life around the patio, and the expression of a people before a festive event that is part of their identity.
The Córdoba calender has a succession of unrivalled celebrations in May. Cruces de mayo (May crosses), courtyard competition and the fair are what’s offered by this beautiful city during an especially intense month of May. Strolling through the neighbourhoods of San Basilio, San Andrés, Santa Marina and San Agustín gives the tourist a perfect view of Cordoba in May. Neighbourhood associations and local clubs install bars to serve typical tapas and drinks that are a comfort to the visitor. Everything is livened up by Sevillanas music and night-time dance performances. The climax of these parties is reached with a set Battle of the Flowers, a spectacular parade of flower-decorated floats which passes through Cordoba to greet the Spring. Huge crosses decorated with Manila shawls, flower pots and flowers are raised in patios and plazas.
Las Cruces de Mayo (The May Crosses of Córdoba). This festival takes place at the beginning of the month. During three or four days, crosses of around 3m height are placed in many squares and streets and decorated with flowers and a contest is held to choose the most beautiful one. Usually there is regional food and music near the crosses. Los Patios de Córdoba (The Courtyards Festival of Córdoba – World Heritage). This festival is celebrated during the second and third week of the month. Many houses of the historic center open their private patios to the public and compete in a contest. Both the architectonic value and the floral decorations are taken into consideration to choose the winners. La Feria de Córdoba (The Fair of Córdoba). This festival takes place at the end of the month and is similar to the better known Seville Fair with some differences.
The province of Córdoba is located in the north-central part of the autonomous community of Andalusia. It limits with the provinces of Malaga, Seville, Badajoz, Ciudad Real, Jaen and Granada. The glamorous history of the capital Córdoba, which goes back to Roman times, outshines the entire province. As a caliphate an important and independent administrative center as well as a melting pot of Moorish, Christian and Jewish cultures, which makes the Mezquita of Cordoba such a unique example of cultural crossings. Because of its preserved small-town flair, Córdoba is almost more than Granadaone of the most beautiful examples of still being able to understand this cultural mix up close.
The Guadalquivir, which pools in its middle course, crosses his province from east to west and fertilizes a wide plain where cereals, vines and olive trees bear fruit. To the north, the Campiña winds up and reaches the last peaks of the Sierra Morena, with thick forests and intense hunting activity. To the south, the Campiña is gaining height until it reaches the mountains of Subbética. Olive groves stretch out on these limestone lands and white, stately towns with careful Baroque architecture settle.
The mountainous landscape shelters a varied fauna. The province of Cordoba, which preserves traces of the Iberian, Roman and Muslim past, is rich in traditions; It has an impressive monumental heritage and its gastronomy has experienced a notable boom, recovering a varied recipe book of traditional cuisine. The lands of Cordoba extend between fields of olive trees and vineyards bathed by the tributaries of the Guadalquivir, a river that runs through the province from one side to the other and separates it into two: the mountainous area of Sierra Morena and the flat countryside of the Guadalquivir. To the south we find another zone of smaller extension but of greater height: the Serranías Subbéticas.
Since the Paleolithic, the province of Córdoba has been marked by the footprint of man. Tartessians and Oretanos disputed the possession of these lands and the exploitation of their iron, lead and copper mines. The Romans conquered it, fascinated by the beauty of its landscape and the fertility of its valley. The innumerable constructions that cover the province bear witness to its presence. After the Muslim expansion through the Iberian Peninsula, the territory of Al-Andalus in Córdoba became the main source of cultural and economic radiation in medieval Europe.
With the independent Emirate established by Abderramán I and the Umayyad Caliphate of Abderramán III, Córdoba lives its greatest historical role. After the Christian conquest, the repopulation of the Guadalquivir valley by Carlos III and the social upheavals of the 19th century, the province embarked on a new historical path. Today, this privileged Andalusian enclave treasures a monumental heritage, capable of captivating the most demanding traveler.
Efforts to upgrade the province for tourism are not limited to Córdoba. In the Sierra Subbética in particular, a lot has been done to make this area more interesting by means of very interesting themed hiking trails along disused railway lines. In the meantime, a high-grade infrastructure has been created here without damaging the originality of the localities. Sierra Subbética south of Córdoba offers great hiking opportunities. Beyond the main towns are uniquely situated white villages such as Zuheros, which are worth a visit for their magnificent view alone.
The reservoir of Iznajar at the southwest end of the Sierra Subbética offers all possible inland water sports and is a popular holiday centre for Spanish vacationers. The spectacular location of the medieval town is an attraction. North of the Guadalquivir, two nature parks offer hikers and nature lovers absolute peace from the hustle and bustle and tourism: The Parque natural de la Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro in the east, which borders the Natural Park of the Sierra Andujar in the province of Jaén, as well as the Parque natural Sierra de Hornachuelos in the west of the province.
Wine connoisseurs will find a very special specialty here. The Ximénex grape is grown near Montilla, an offshoot of Riesling probably introduced in the 16th century, from which sherry-like variations of sweet wines are developed, only that they develop their alcohol content naturally and without additives.