Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Cordoba
Córdoba, the most important city in Andalusia after Seville, lies at the foot of the Sierra de Córdoba, an outlier of the Sierra Morena, in a plain which slopes gently down to the Río Guadalquivir.
Narrow winding streets, small squares and low whitewashed houses, most of them with beautiful patios which can be admired from the street, give the town a Moorish atmosphere inherited from its past. It is still a kind of western European Mecca, with the famous Great Mosque, now the Cathedral, which in spite of later alterations ranks with the Alhambra in Granada as one of the two most splendid examples of Islamic art and architecture in western Europe. Córdoba is also famed for its silverware and its leather goods. Around the old town has grown up a modern Córdoba, with metalworking plants, factories producing electrical goods and foodstuff industries. The surrounding country is still given up to agriculture.
Already a place of some consequence in Iberian times, Córdoba became chief town of the Roman province of Hispania Ulterior in 152 B.C. Under the Empire it alternated with Hispalis (Seville) and Italica (north of Savile) as capital of the province of Baetica. In Visigothic times it became the see of a bishop, but remained a place of no great importance. After the decisive defeat of the Visigoths by the Moors in 711, however, the town enjoyed a new period of prosperity under Arab rule, particularly from 756 under the Umayyad ruler Abderrahman I after his expulsion from Damascus. As capital of an independent Spanish caliphate under the rule of Abderrah-man II and III, Al-Hakam II and Almansor, Vizier to Hisham II, Córdoba developed into one of the most brilliant cities in Europe and a center of learning which attracted students from all over the western world and promoted active exchanges between Christian, Muslim and Jewish scholars. With the fall of the Caliphate in 1031 the city's decline began. It fell successively under the control of Seville (1078), the Almoravids (1091) and the Almohads (1148); but after its capture by the Christians in 1236 the formerly flourishing city fell into oblivion. The magnificent buildings erected during the Moorish period fell into disrepair, the irrigation system was neglected, and the once fertile Campiña became an almost barren steppe. Commerce and industry collapsed, and it was three hundred years after the Christian reconquest before trade began to revive with the resumption of the production of leather wall- hangings. Córdoba was the birthplace of many famous men, among them the Roman orator M. Annaeus Seneca (54 B.C.-A.D. 39), his son L. Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C.- A.D. 65) and his grandson the poet Lucan (A.D. 39-65); the Arab scholar Averroes (Ibn Rushd, 1126-98), translator and interpreter of Aristotle, Rabbi Moses Maimonides (1135-1204), the painter Bartolomé Bermejo (c. 1430-after 1496) and the poet Luis de Góngora (1561-1627).