Córdoba has the highest summer temperatures in Spain and Europe
, with average high temperatures around 37 °C (99 °F) in July and August.
The name Córdoba
has attracted a number of fanciful explanations. One is that the Carthaginian
general Hamilcar Barca
named the city Kart-Juba
, meaning "the City of Juba," a Numidian
commander who had died in a battle nearby.
Another, suggested in 1799 by José Antonio Conde
, is that the name comes from a Phoenician-Punic word qrt ṭwbh
meaning 'good town'. After the Roman conquest, the town's name was Latinised as Corduba
Prehistory, antiquity and Roman foundation of the city
In 169 Roman consul Marcus Claudius Marcellus, grandson of Marcus Claudius Marcellus
, who had governed both Hispania Ulterior
and Hispania Citerior
, respectively), founded a Latin colony alongside the pre-existing Iberian settlement.
The date is contested; it could have been founded in 152. 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
, with mixed local and Roman artistic traditions, was buried in the city at this time; it is now in the British Museum
Corduba became a Roman colonia
with the name Colonia Patricia
between 46 and 45 BC. It was sacked by Caesar in 45 because of its fealty to Pompey, and resettled with veteran soldiers by Augustus. It became the capital of Baetica, with a forum and numerous temples, and was the main center of Roman intellectual life in Hispania Ulterior
The Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger
, his father, the orator Seneca the Elder
, and his nephew, the poet Lucan
came from Roman Cordoba.
In the late Roman period, Corduba's bishop Hosius
(Ossius) was the dominant figure of the western Church throughout the earlier 4th cent.
Later, Corduba 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 and mostly destroyed by the Muslims in 711 or 712.
Unlike other Iberian towns, no capitulation was signed and the position was taken by storm. Córdoba was in turn governed by direct Arab rule. The new Umayyad 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
Different areas were allocated for services in the Saint Vincent Church shared by Christians and Muslims, until construction of the Córdoba Mosque
started 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 Córdoba was chosen as the capital of the independent Umayyad emirate, later caliphate
, of al-Andalus
. By 800 the megacity
of Córdoba supported over 200,000 residents, 0.1 per cent of the global population
. During the apogee of the caliphate (1000 AD), Córdoba had a population of about 400,000 inhabitants,.
In the 10th and 11th centuries Córdoba was one of the most advanced cities in the world, and a great cultural, political, financial and economic centre.
The Great Mosque of Córdoba
dates back to this time. After a change of rulers 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.
Córdoba had a prosperous economy, with manufactured goods including leather, metal work, glazed tiles and textiles, and agricultural produce including a range of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, and materials such as cotton, flax and silk.
It was also famous as a centre of learning, home to over 80 libraries and institutions of learning,
with knowledge of medicine, mathematics, astronomy, botany far exceeding the rest of Europe at the time.
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 end of Córdoba. Abd al-Malik al-Muzaffar
, al-Mansur's older son, succeeded to his father’s authority, but he died in 1008, possibly assassinated. 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 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
, the last of the Umayyads
, was routed from Córdoba in 1031.
High Middle Ages
As the caliphate collapsed, so did Córdoba's economic and political hegemony and it subsequently became part of the Taifa of Córdoba
In 1070, forces from the Taifa of Seville
(ruled by Al-Mu'tamid
) entered Córdoba to help in the defence of the city, that had been besieged by Al-Mamun
, ruler of Toledo, yet they took control and expelled the last ruler of the taifa of Córdoba, Abd-Al Malik, forcing him to exile.
Al-Mamun did not cease in his efforts to take the city, and making use of a Sevillian renegade who murdered the Abbadid governor, he triumphantly entered the city on 15 February 1075, only to die there barely five months later, apparently poisoned.
Córdoba was seized by force in March 1091 by the Almoravids
Sworn enemies of the almohads, Ibn Mardanīš
(the "Wolf King") and his stepfather Ibrahim Ibn Hamusk allied with Alfonso VIII of Castile
and laid siege on Córdoba by 1158–1160, ravaging the surroundings but failing to take the place.
Late Middle Ages
Ferdinand III of Castile
entered the city on 29 June 1236, following a siege of several months. According to Arab sources, Córdoba fell on 23 Shawwal
633 (that is, on 30 June 1236, a day later than Christian tradition).
The conquest was followed by the return to Santiago de Compostela
of the church bells that had been looted by Almanzor and moved to Córdoba by Christian war prisoners in the late 10th century.
Ferdinand III granted the city a fuero
it was based on the Liber Iudiciorum
and in the customs of Toledo
, yet formulated in an original way.
The city was divided into 14 colaciones
, and numerous new church buildings were added. The centre of the mosque was converted into a large Catholic cathedral.
In the context of the Early Modern Period
, the city experienced a golden age between 1530 and 1580, profiting from an economic activity based on the trade of agricultural products
and the preparation of clothes originally from Los Pedroches
, peaking at a population of about 50,000 by 1571.
A period of stagnation and ensuing decline followed.
People in front of an inn in Córdoba (1910).
It was reduced to 20,000 inhabitants in the 18th century.
The population and economy started to increase again only in the early 20th century.
The second half of the 19th century saw the arrival of railway transport via the opening of the Seville
–Córdoba line on 2 June 1859.
Córdoba became connected by railway to Jerez
in 1861 and, in 1866, following the link with Manzanares
, with Madrid
The city was also eventually connected to Málaga
On 18 July 1936, the military governor of the province, Col.Ciriaco Cascajo [es]
, launched the Nationalist coup
in the city, bombing the civil government and arresting the civil governor, Rodríguez de León;
these actions ignited the Spanish Civil War
. Following the orders of the putschist
General Queipo de Llano
, he declared a state of war. The putschists were met by the resistance of the political and social representatives who had gathered in the civil government headquarters,
and remained there until the Nationalist rifle fire and the presence of artillery broke their morale. When its defenders began fleeing the building, Rodríguez de León finally decided to surrender and was arrested.
In the following weeks, Queipo de Llano and Major Bruno Ibañez carried out a bloody repression in which 2,000 persons were executed.
The ensuing Francoist repression
in wartime and in the immediate post-war period (1936–1951) is estimated to have led to around 9,579 killings in the province.
Córdoba was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site
on 17 December 1984, but the city has a number of modern areas, including the district of Zoco and the area surrounding the railway station.
View of Córdoba from the Sierra foothills.
Córdoba is located in the south of the Iberian Peninsula
, in the depression formed by the Guadalquivir river
, that cuts across the city in a east-north east to west-south west direction. The wider municipality extends across an area of 1,254.25 km2
making it the largest municipality in Andalusia
and the fourth largest in Spain
The city of Córdoba lies in the middle course of the river. Three major landscape units in the municipality include the Sierra (as in the southern reaches of Sierra Morena
), the Valley proper and the Campiña
The differences in elevation in the Valley are very small, ranging from 100 and 170 metres above sea level,
with the city proper located at an average altitude of roughly 125 metres above sea level.
The landscape of the valley is further subdivided in the piedmont
connecting with the Sierra, the fluvial terraces
and the most immediate vicinity of the river course.
The Miocene Campiña
, located in the southern bank of the Guadalquivir, features a hilly landscape gently increasing in height up to about 200 m.
In the Sierra
, to the north of the city, the altitude increases relatively abruptly up to 500 meters.
Both the Sierra
and the Campiña
display viewpoints over the valley.
Green fields in Córdoba after December rains.
Córdoba has a hot Mediterranean climate
(Köppen climate classification Csa
It has the highest summer average daily temperatures in Europe
(with highs 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 one of the highest in Europe, despite relatively cool nightly temperatures.
Winters are mild, yet cooler than other low lying cities in southern Spain due to its interior location, wedged between the Sierra Morena and the Penibaetic System. 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 to 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 it is recognized to vary from year to year.
The registered maximum temperature at the Córdoba Airport
, located at 6 kilometres (4 miles) from the city, was 46.9 °C (116.4 °F) on 13 July 2017. The lowest registered temperature was −8.2 °C (17.2 °F), on 28 January 2005.
Córdoba has the second largest Old town in Europe, the largest urban area in the world declared World Heritage by UNESCO.
The Roman Bridge
, over the Guadalquivir
River, 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 wooden one, it has a length of about 250 m and has 16 arches.
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 Emperor Maximian
in the archaeological site of Cercadilla.
From 784- 786 AD, Abd al-Rahman I
built the Mezquita, or Great Mosque, of Córdoba, in the Umayyad style of architecture with variations inspired by indigenous Roman and Christian Visigothic structures. Later caliphs extended the mosque with more domed bays, arches, intricate mosaics and a minaret, making it one of the four wonders of the medieval Islamic world. After the Christian reconquest of Andalucía, a cathedral was built in the heart of the mosque, however much of the original structure remains. It can be found in the Historic Centre of Córdoba, a recognized World Heritage Site.
Minaret of San Juan
Built in 930 AD, the mosque that this minaret adorned has been replaced by a church and the minaret re-purposed as a tower. Even so, it retains the characteristics of Islamic architecture in the region, including two ornamental arches.
Mills of the Guadalquivir
Along the banks of the Guadalquivir
are the Mills of the Guadalquivir
, Moorish-era buildings that used the water flow to grind flour. They include the Albolafia
, Alegría, Carbonell, Casillas, Enmedio, Lope García, Martos, Pápalo, San Antonio, San Lorenzo and San Rafael mills.
On the outskirts of the city lies the archaeological site of the city of Medina Azahara
, which, together with the Alhambra
, is one of the main examples of Spanish-Muslim architecture in Spain.
Near the stables are located, along the walls, the medieval Baths
of the Umayyad Caliphs.
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.
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.
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 (potro
). Not far from this plaza is the Arco del Portillo
(a 14th-century arch). 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
(14th century) and the Palacio de la Merced
among others. Other sights include the Cuesta del Bailío
(a staircase connecting the upper and lower part of the city).
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:
Other religious structures
Main façade of the Iglesia de San Hipólito.
Sculptures and memorials
Scattered throughout the city are ten statues of the Archangel Raphael
, protector and custodian of the city. These are called the 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 of Seneca (near the Puerta de Almodóvar
, a gate from the time of Islamic rule, (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 in plazas of the Old Town. In the central Plaza de las Tendillas is the equestrian statue of 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 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 on the current.
- 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 on both sides of each of the entrances of the bridge, 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, a proposal by architect-engineer Santiago Calatrava was considered that would look like the Lusitania Bridge of Mérida, but this was eventually discarded because its height would obscure 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.
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.
The Magdalena by Julio Romero de Torres.
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 Museum of Fine Arts
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 Episcopal Palace, Cordoba
which was built upon a formerly Arabic castle. The collection within houses many paintings, sculptures and furniture.
Other notable museums within Córdoba:
Interior patio during the Courtyards Festival of Córdoba - World Heritage
Tourism is especially intense in Córdoba during May as this month hosts three of the most important annual festivals in the city:
- 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. It is usually very difficult and expensive to find accommodation in the city during the festival.
- 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, mainly that the Sevilla Fair has majority private casetas (tents run by local businesses), while the Córdoba Fair has majority public ones.
Politics and government
The City Council of Córdoba is divided into different areas: the Presidency; Human Resources, Management, Tax and Public Administration; City Planning, Infraestructure, and Environment; Social; and Development.
The Council holds regular plenary sessions once a month, but can hold extraordinary plenary session to discuss issues and problems affecting the city.
The Governing Board, chaired by the mayor, consists of four IU
councillors, three of PSOE, and three non-elected members.
The municipal council consists of 29 members: 11 of PP
, 7 of PSOE, 4 of IU, 4 of Ganemos Córdoba
, 2 of Ciudadanos
and 1 of Unión Cordobesa
List of mayors since the democratic elections of 1979
As of July 2008, the city is divided into 10 administrative districts, coordinated by the Municipal district boards, which in turn are subdivided into neighbourhoods
Córdoba has an airport, although there are no airlines operating commercial flights on it. The closest airports to the city are Seville Airport
(110 km as the crow flies), Granada Airport
(118 km) and Málaga Airport (136 km).
The city is also well connected by highways with the rest of the country and Portugal.
The main bus station is located next to the train station. Several bus companies operate intercity bus services
to and from Cordoba.
Parque de Miraflores..
Paseo de Córdoba.
Fuente de los Jardines de Colón.
Street scene in Santa Maria, Córdoba.
View of Córdoba from Puente Romano.
Riverfront viewed from Puente Romano, Córdoba.
Twin towns – sister cities
- Kairouan, Tunisia (1968)
- Lahore, Pakistan (1968)
- Córdoba, Argentina (1969)
- Córdoba, Mexico (1980)
- Bukhara, Uzbekistan (1983)
- Smara, Western Sahara (1987)
- Fez, Morocco (1990)
- Old Havana, Cuba (2000)
- Damascus, Syria (2002)
- Santiago de Compostela, Spain (2004)
- Nuremberg, Germany (2010)
- Nîmes, France (2013)
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Published in the 19th century
- Arthur de Capell Brooke (1831), "Cordova", Sketches in Spain and Morocco, London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, OCLC 13783280
- Richard Ford (1855), "Cordova", A Handbook for Travellers in Spain (3rd ed.), London: J. Murray, OCLC 2145740
- John Lomas, ed. (1889), "Cordova", O'Shea's Guide to Spain and Portugal (8th ed.), Edinburgh: Adam & Charles Black
Published in the 20th century
- "Cordova". Spain and Portugal (3rd ed.). Leipzig: Karl Baedeker. 1908. OCLC 1581249.
- Trudy Ring, ed. (1996). "Cordoba". Southern Europe. International Dictionary of Historic Places. 3. Fitzroy Dearborn. OCLC 31045650.
Published in the 21st century
- C. Edmund Bosworth, ed. (2007). "Cordova". Historic Cities of the Islamic World. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill.
- Barbara Messina, Geometrie in pietra. La moschea di Cordova. Giannini editore, Napoli 2004, ISBN 9788874312368
Last edited on 15 June 2021, at 04:16
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