View of Jardines de la Victoria (Victoria Garden of Córdoba) area
|• Type||Mayor-council government|
|• Body||Ayuntamiento de Córdoba|
|• Mayor||Isabel Ambrosio Palos (PSOE)|
|• Total||1,255.24 km2 (484.65 sq mi)|
|Elevation||120 m (390 ft)|
|• Density||260/km2 (670/sq mi)|
|Demonym(s)||Cordobés/sa, cordobense, cortubí, patriciense|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
Córdoba (//, Spanish: [ˈkoɾðoβa]), also called Cordova (//) in English, is a city in Andalusia, southern Spain, and the capital of the province of Córdoba. It was conquered by Muslim armies in the eighth century, and then became the capital of the Islamic Emirate and then Caliphate of Córdoba, including most of the Iberian Peninsula.
Caliph Al Hakam II opened many libraries in addition to the many medical schools and universities which existed at the time, making Córdoba a centre for education. During these centuries, Córdoba became a society ruled by Muslims, in which all other groups had a second-class status. It returned to Christian rule in 1236, during the Reconquista. Today it is a moderately sized modern city; its population in 2011 was about 330,000. The historic centre was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Córdoba has the warmest summer high temperatures in Spain and Europe with average high temperatures around 37 °C (99 °F) in July and similar heat in August.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Climate
- 4 Main sights
- 5 Politics and government
- 6 Museums
- 7 Theatres
- 8 May celebrations
- 9 People
- 10 Transport
- 11 Twin towns – sister cities
- 12 References
- 13 Further reading
- 14 External links
Prehistory and antiquity
See also: Corduba (Roman city)
The first trace of human presence in the area are remains of a Neanderthal Man, dating to c. 42,000 to 35,000 BC In the 8th century BC, during the ancient Tartessos period, a pre-urban settlement existed. The population gradually learned copper and silver metallurgy. The first historical mention of a settlement dates, however, to the Carthaginian expansion across the Guadalquivir, when the general Hamilcar Barca renamed it Kartuba, from Kart-Juba, meaning "the City of Juba", the latter being a Numidian commander who had died in a battle nearby. Córdoba was conquered by the Romans in 206 BC. In 169 the Roman consul Marcus Claudius Marcellus founded a Latin colony alongside the pre-existing Iberian settlement. Between 143 and 141 BC the town was besieged by Viriatus. A Roman Forum is known to have existed in the city in 113 BC. The famous Cordoba Treasure, which mixes local and Roman artistic traditions, was buried in the city at this time. It can now be found in the collections of the British Museum.
At the time of Julius Caesar, Córdoba was the capital of the Roman province of Hispania Ulterior Baetica. Great Roman philosophers such as Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger, orators such as Seneca the Elder and poets such as Lucan came from Roman Cordoba. Later, it occupied an important place in the Provincia Hispaniae of the Byzantine Empire (552–572) and under the Visigoths, who conquered it in the late 6th century.
Córdoba was captured in 711 by a Moorish army. Unlike other Iberian towns, no capitulation was signed and the position was taken by storm. Córdoba was in turn governed by direct Moorish rule. The new Moorish commanders established themselves within the city and in 716 it became a provincial capital, subordinate to the Caliphate of Damascus; in Arabic it was known as قرطبة (Qurṭubah).
Different areas were allocated for the services in the Saint Vincent Church shared by Christian and Moors, until the former Mosque started to be erected on the same spot under Abd-ar-Rahman I. Abd al-Rahman allowed the Christians to rebuild their ruined churches and purchased the Christian half of the church of St Vincent. In May 766, it was chosen as the capital of the independent Muslim emirate of al-Andalus, later a Caliphate itself. During the caliphate apogee (1000 AD), Córdoba had a population of roughly 500,000 inhabitants, though estimates range between 350,000 and 1,000,000. In the 10th and 11th centuries, Córdoba was one of the most advanced cities in the world as well as a great cultural, political, financial and economic centre. The Great Mosque of Córdoba dates back to this time. Upon a change of rulers, though, the situation changed quickly. "The vizier al-Mansur–the unofficial ruler of al-Andalus from 976 to 1002—burned most of the books on philosophy to please the Moorish clergy; most of the others were sold off or perished in the civil strife not long after.
In the ninth and tenth centuries, Córdoba was “one of the most important cities in the history of the world.” In it, “Christians and Jews were involved in the Royal Court and the intellectual life of the city.”
Regarding Córdoba's importance, Reinhardt Dozy wrote:
The fame of Córdoba penetrated even distant Germany: the Saxon nun Hroswitha, famous in the last half of the 10th century for her Latin poems and dramas, called it the Ornament of the World.— Reinhardt Dozy
Córdoba had a prosperous economy with its “skilled artisans and agricultural infrastructure,” The manufactured goods for sale included “leather and metal work, glazed tiles and textiles.” The agricultural produce included fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, and raw materials such as “cotton, flax and silk.”
Córdoba was also famous as “a centre of learning.” Education was “taken seriously.” Al-Hakam II had a large library. Knowledge in the fields of “medicine, mathematics, astronomy, botany” exceeded the rest of Europe.
The Arab conquest created the conditions for a state of almost permanent warfare in the Iberian Peninsula ... and in scale and intensity exceeded anything to be found elsewhere in Western Europe in these centuries.— Roger Collins in "Caliphs and Kings: Spain, 796-1031"
In 1002, Al-Mansur was returning to Córdoba from an expedition in the area of Rioja when he died. His death was the beginning of the demise of Córdoba. Abd al-Malik al-Muzaffar, al-Mansur’s older son, succeeded his father’s authority, but he died in 1008, possibly by assassination. Sanchuelo, Abd al-Malik’s younger brother succeeded him. While Sanchuelo was away fighting Alfonso V of Leon, a revolution made Mohammed II al-Mahdi the Caliph. Sanchuelo sued for pardon but he was killed when he returned to Cardova. The slaves revolted against Mahdi, killed him in 1009, and replaced him with Hisham II in 1010. Hisham II wore a veil, used makeup, kept a male harem, and was forced out of office. In 1012, the Berbers “sacked Cardova.” In 1016, the slaves captured Cardova and searched for Hisham II, but he had escaped to Asia. This event was followed by a fight for power until Hisham III, who was the last of the Umayyads, was routed out of Córdoba in 1031.
After 1031, Córdoba lost its prosperity and fame and became an isolated city. The “ruling elite” were well known for their “disinterest in the outside world “ and “their intellectual laziness.” 
During the Spanish Reconquista, Córdoba was captured by King Ferdinand III of Castile on 29 June 1236, after a siege of several months. The city was divided into 14 colaciones, and numerous new church buildings were added.
The city declined, especially after Renaissance times. In the 18th century it was reduced to just 20,000 inhabitants. The population and economy started to increase only in the early 20th century.
With the most extensive historical heritages in the world declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO (on 17 December 1984), the city also features a number of modern areas, including the districts of Zoco and the railway station district.
The regional government (the Junta de Andalucía) has for some time been studying the creation of a Córdoba Metropolitan Area that would comprise, in addition to the capital itself, the towns of Villafranca de Córdoba, Obejo, La Carlota, Villaharta, Villaviciosa, Almodóvar del Río and Guadalcázar. The combined population of such an area would be around 351,000.
The city is in a depression of the valley of the Guadalquivir. In the north is the Sierra Morena, which defines the borders of the municipal area.
Córdoba has a Subtropical-Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa). Córdoba has the highest summer average daily temperatures in Europe (averaging 36.9 °C (98 °F) in July) and days with temperatures over 40 °C (104 °F) are common in the summer months. August's 24-hour average of 28.0 °C (82 °F) is also among the highest in Europe, despite having relatively cool nightly temperatures.
Winters are mild to cool with isolated frosts. Precipitation is concentrated in the coldest months; this is due to the Atlantic coastal influence. Precipitation is generated by storms from the west that occur most frequently from December through February. This Atlantic characteristic then gives way to a hot summer with significant drought more typical of Mediterranean climates. Annual rain surpasses 600 mm (24 in), although there is a recognized inter-annual irregularity.
Registered maximum temperatures at the Córdoba Airport (located at 6 kilometres (4 miles) of the city) are 46.6 °C (115.9 °F) (23 July 1995) and 46.2 °C (115.2 °F) (1 August 2003). The minimum temperature ever recorded was −8.2 °C (17.2 °F) (28 January 2005).
|Climate data for Córdoba (1981-2010), extremes (1949-2010)|
|Record high °C (°F)||22.9
|Average high °C (°F)||14.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||9.3
|Average low °C (°F)||3.6
|Record low °C (°F)||−8.2
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||66
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)||7||6||5||7||5||1||0||1||3||7||6||8||57|
|Average relative humidity (%)||76||71||64||60||55||48||41||43||52||66||73||79||60|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||174||186||218||235||289||323||363||336||248||205||180||148||2,905|
|Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología|
Albolafia mill, one of the eleven Mills of the Guadalquivir in Córdoba
Archaeological site of Cercadilla including the remains of one of Maximian's palaces
Part of the Archaeological site of Medina Azahara
Western wall of the Synagogue of Córdoba
Córdoba has the second largest Old town in Europe, the largest urban area in the world declared World Heritage by UNESCO. The most important building and symbol of the city, the Great Mosque of Córdoba and current cathedral, alongside the Roman bridge, are the best known facet of the city. Other Roman remains include the Roman Temple, the Theatre, Mausoleum, the Colonial Forum, the Forum Adiectum, an amphitheater and the remains of the Palace of the Emperor Maximian in the Archaeological site of Cercadilla, among others.
Near the cathedral is the old Jewish quarter, which consists of many irregular streets, such as Calleja de las Flores and Calleja del Pañuelo, and which is home to the Synagogue and the Sephardic House. 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, a breeding place of the Andalusian horse. Near the stables are located, along the walls, the medieval Baths of the Caliphate. 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 such as 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 (a 14th-century arch).
Along the banks of the Guadalquivir are the Mills of the Guadalquivir, moorish era buildings that took advantage of the water force to grind flour. They include the Albolafia, Alegría, Carbonell, Casillas, Enmedio, Lope García, Martos, Pápalo, San Antonio, San Lorenzo and San Rafael mills.
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, the Belén Tower and the Puerta del Rincón's Tower, and the fortress of the Calahorra Tower and of the Donceles Tower.
Palace buildings in the Old Town include the Palacio de Viana (14th century) and the Palacio de la Merced among others. On the outskirts of the city lies the Archaeological site of the city of Medina Azahara, which, together with the Alhambra in Granada, is one of the main Spanish-Muslim architectures in Spain.
Other sights are the Cuesta del Bailío (a staircase connecting the upper and lower part of the city) and the Minaret of San Juan, once part of a mosque.
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. Some of those that remain are:
- San Nicolás de la Villa.
- San Miguel.
- San Juan y Todos los Santos (also known as Iglesia de la Trinidad).
- Santa Marina de Aguas Santas.
- San Agustín. Begun in 1328, it has now an 18th-century appearance. The façade bell tower, with four bells, dates to the 16th century.
- San Andrés, largely renovated in the 14th and 15th centuries. It has a Renaissance portal (1489) and a bell tower from the same age, while the high altar is a Baroque work by Pedro Duque Cornejo.
- San Lorenzo.
- Church of Santiago.
- San Pedro.
- Santa María Magdalena. Like the others, it combines Romanesque, Mudéjar and Gothic elements.
- San Pablo. In the church's garden in the 1990s the ruins of an ancient Roman circus were discovered.
Other religious structures
- San Hipólito. It houses the tombs of Ferdinand IV and Alfonso XI of Castile, kings of Castile and León.
- San Francisco
- San Salvador y Santo Domingo de Silos
- Shrine of Nuestra Señora de Linares
- Tower of Santo Domingo de Silos
- Shrine of Nuestra Señora de la Fuensanta
- Chapel of San Bartolomé
- Convent of Santa Clara
- Convent of Santa Cruz
- Convent of Santa Marta
- Mezquita Cristo de la Luz. A thousand year old mosque built in the Caliphate period.
Sculptures and memorials
Scattered throughout the city are ten statues of Archangel Raphael, protector and custodian of the city. These are called Triumphs of Saint Raphael and are located in landmarks such as the Roman Bridge, the Puerta del Puente and the Plaza del Potro.
In the western part of the Historic Centre are the statue to Seneca (near the Puerta de Almodóvar, a gate of Islamic origin, (the Statue of Averroes (next to the Puerta de la Luna), and Maimonides (in the plaza de Tiberiades). Further south, near the Puerta de Sevilla, are the sculpture to the poet Ibn Zaydún and the sculpture of the writer and poet Ibn Hazm and, inside the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, the monument to the Catholic Monarchs and Christopher Columbus.
There are also several sculptures placed in plazas of the Old Town. In the central Plaza de las Tendillas is the equestrian statue of the Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, in the Plaza de Capuchinos is the Cristo de los Faroles, in Plaza de la Trinidad is the statue of Luis de Góngora, in the Plaza del Cardenal Salazar is the bust of Ahmad ibn Muhammad abu Yafar al-Gafiqi, in the Plaza de Capuchinas is the statue to the bishop Osio, in Plaza del Conde de Priego is the monument to Manolete and the Campo Santo de los Mártires is a statue to Al-Hakam II and the monument to the lovers.
In the Jardines de la Agricultura is the monument to the painter Julio Romero de Torres, a bust by sculptor Mateo Inurria, the bust of the poet Julio Aumente and the sculpture dedicated to the gardener Aniceto García Roldán, who was killed in the park. Further south, in the Gardens of the Duke of Rivas, is a statue of the writer and poet Ángel de Saavedra, 3rd Duke of Rivas made by the sculptor Mariano Benlliure.
In the Guadalquivir river, near the San Rafael Bridge is the Island of the sculptures, an artificial island with a dozen stone sculptures executed during the International Sculpture Symposium. Up the river, near the Miraflores bridge, is the "Hombre Río", a sculpture of a swimmer looking to the sky and whose orientation varies depending from the current.
Gardens, parks and natural environments
- Jardines de la Victoria. Within the gardens there are two newly renovated facilities, the old Caseta del Círculo de la Amistad, today Caseta Victoria, and the Kiosko de la música, as well as a small Modernist fountain from the early 20th century. The northern section, called Jardines of Duque de Rivas, features a pergola of neoclassical style, designed by the architect Carlos Sáenz de Santamaría; it is used as an exhibition hall and a café bar.
- Jardines de la Agricultura, located between the Jardines de la Victoria and the Paseo de Córdoba: it includes numerous trails that radially converge to a round square which has a fountain or pond. This is known as the duck pond, and, in the centre, has an island with a small building in which these animals live. Scattered throughout the garden are numerous sculptures such as the sculpture in memory of Julio Romero de Torres, the sculpture to the composer Julio Aumente and the bust of Mateo Inurria. In the north is a rose garden in form of a labyrinth.
- Parque de Miraflores, located on the south bank of the river Guadalquivir. It was designed by the architect Juan Cuenca Montilla as a series of terraces. Among other points of interest as the Salam and Miraflores Bridge and a sculpture by Agustín Ibarrola.
- Parque Cruz Conde, located southwest of the city, is an open park and barrier-free park in English gardens style.
- Paseo de Cordoba. Located on the underground train tracks, it is a long tour of several km in length with more than 434,000 m². The tour has numerous fountains, including six formed by a portico of falling water which form a waterfall to a pond with four levels. Integrated into the tour is a pond of water from the Roman era, and the building of the old train station of RENFE, now converted into offices of Canal Sur.
- Jardines Juan Carlos I, in the Ciudad Jardín neighborhood. It is a fortress which occupies an area of about 12,500 square metres.
- Jardines del Conde de Vallellano, located on both sides of the avenue of the same name. It includes a large L-shaped pond with a capacity of 3,000 m3 (105,944.00 cu ft) and archaeological remains embedded in the gardens, among which is a Roman cistern from the second half of the 1st century BC.
- Parque de la Asomadilla, with a surface of 27 hectares, is the second largest park in Andalusia. The park recreates a Mediterranean forest vegetation, such as hawthorn, pomegranate, hackberry, oak, olive, tamarisk, cypress, elms, pines, oaks and carob trees among others.
- Balcón del Guadalquivir
- Jardines de Colón'
- Sotos de la Albolafia. Declared Natural monument by the Andalusian Autonomous Government, it is located in a stretch of the Guadalquivir river from the Roman Bridge and the San Rafael Bridge, with an area of 21.36 hectares. Host a large variety of birds and is an important point of migration for many birds.
- Parque periurbano Los Villares
Córdoba has a total of seven bridges.
- Roman Bridge, over the Guadalquivir River. It links the area of Campo de la Verdad with Barrio de la Catedral. It was the only bridge of the city for twenty centuries, until the construction of the San Rafael Bridge in the mid-20th century. Built in the early 1st century BC, during the period of Roman rule in Córdoba, probably replacing a more primitive of wood, it has a length of about 250 m and consists of 16 arches.
- San Rafael Bridge, consisting of eight arches of 25 m span and a length of 217 m. The width is between parapets, divided into 12 m of cobblestone for four circulations and two tiled concrete sidewalks. It was inaugurated on 29 April 1953 joining the Avenue Corregidor with Plaza de Andalucía. In January 2004, the plaques reading "His Excellency the Head of State and Generalissimo of all the Armies, Francisco Franco Bahamonde, opened this bridge of the Guadalquivir on 29 April 1953", which were in each of the entrances of the bridge, each in its own direction, were removed.
- Andalusia Bridge, a suspension bridge.
- Puente de Miraflores, known as "the rusty bridge". This bridge links the Street San Fernando and Ronda de Isasa with the Miraflores peninsula. It was designed by Herrero, Suárez and Casado and inaugurated on 2 May 2003. At first, in 1989, had considered the proposal of the architect-engineer Santiago Calatrava, that would looks like the Lusitania Bridge of Mérida, but was eventually discarded because of is potential impact on the artistic whole of the historic, because with its height could cover the view of the Great Mosque.
- Autovía del Sur Bridge.
- Abbas Ibn Firnas Bridge, Inaugurated in January 2011 It is part of the variant west of Córdoba.
- Puente del Arenal, connecting Avenue Campo de la Verdad with the Recinto Ferial (fairground) of Cordoba.
Politics and government
- Local administration
The City Council of Córdoba is divided into different areas: the Presidency, Security, Mobility, Equality and Participation; the Planning, Housing, Infrastructure and Environment; the Economy, Trade, Employment and Management; the Social; the Cultural Services and Tourism. The council holds regular plenary session once a month, but often held extraordinary plenary session to discuss issues and problems affecting the city.
The Governing Board, chaired by the mayor, consists of five councillors of United Left (IU), two councilors of Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) and other three members not elected. The municipal council consists of 29 members: 14 of People's Party, 11 of IU and 4 of PSOE.
|1983–1987||Julio Anguita (until February 1, 1986)
|Manuel Pérez Pérez||IU|
|2007–2011||Rosa Aguilar (until April 23, 2009)
|2011–2015||José Antonio Nieto Ballesteros||PP|
|2015||Isabel Ambrosio Palos||PSOE-IU-Ganemos Córdoba|
- Administrative division
Since July 2008, the city is divided into 10 administrative districts, coordinated by the Municipal district boards, which in turn are subdivided into neighbourhoods
- Archeological and Ethnological Museum of Córdoba
- Julio Romero de Torres Museum
- Museum of Fine Arts
- Dioceses Museum
- Baths of the Fortress Califal
- Botanical Museum of Cordova
- Three Cultures Museum
- Bullfighting Museum
- Molino de Martos Hydraulic Museum
- Museo Palacio de Viana
- Gran Teatro de Córdoba
- Teatro Axerquía
- Teatro Góngora
Tourism is especially intense in Córdoba during May because of the weather and as this month hosts three festivals.
The May Crosses Festival takes place at the beginning of the month. During three or four days, crosses of around 3 m 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.
The Patios Festival is celebrated during the second and third week of the month. Many houses of the historic centre 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. It is usually very difficult and expensive to find accommodation in the city during the festival.
Córdoba's Fair takes place at the ending of the month and is similar to the better known Sevilla Fair with some differences, mainly that the Sevilla one is private, while the Cordoba one is not.
Córdoba was the birthplace of the following philosophers and religious scholars:
- In Roman times the Stoic philosopher Seneca
- In Islamic times
- Abd Allah al-Qaysi, an early jurist responsible for spreading the Zahirite school
- Ibn Hazm, a major Muslim theologian and legal jurist,
- Averroes, an important figure in both Muslim and Western philosophy,
- Mundhir bin Sa'īd al-Ballūṭī, a prominent judge for the Caliph of Cordoba,
- Ibn Maḍāʾ, the first linguist to write about dependency grammar,
- al-Qurtubi, a leading jurist of the Maliki school, and
- Moses Maimonides, a rabbi who radically changed the direction of Jewish philosophy.
Córdoba was also the birthplace of
- The Roman poet Lucan,
- The medieval Spanish poet Juan de Mena
- The Renaissance poet Luis de Góngora, who lived most of his life and wrote all his most important works but one in Córdoba.
The painter Julio Romero de Torres (1874–1930).
More recently, several flamenco artists were born here as well, including
- Manuel Laureano Rodríguez Sánchez (Manolete), matador
- Fernando Tejero, actor
- Gabi Delgado-López, musician
The city is connected by high speed trains to the following Spanish cities: Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Málaga and Zaragoza. More than 20 trains per day connect the downtown area, in 54 minutes, with Málaga María Zambrano station, which provides interchange capability to destinations along the Costa del Sol, including Málaga Airport. The city is also well connected by highways with the rest of the country and Portugal.
Twin towns – sister cities
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (June 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
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- Published in the 19th century
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- Published in the 20th century
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- Published in the 21st century
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- Barbara Messina, Geometrie in pietra. La moschea di Cordova. Giannini editore, Napoli 2004, ISBN 9788874312368
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Córdoba, Spain.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Córdoba (city, Spain).|
- Official website of the city council. (Spanish)
- Tourism of Cordoba
- Tourism and Monuments in Córdoba
- Córdoba travel information
- Natural Monument Sotos de la Albolafia (Spanish)
- Córdoba: The City that Changed the World by The Dung Traveller
- Córdoba Mosque and Roman Bridge – The second largest mosque and a Roman Bridge with 17 arches Córdoba, Roman City (Spain)
- Spanish Tourism Board official website in English for United States
- ArchNet.org. "Cordoba". Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: MIT School of Architecture and Planning. Archived from the original on 5 May 2008.
- Myth of Spain's Islamic Golden Age Points to lack of archaeological evidence between 711 and 911