A Day Trip to Cordoba, Spain
About 85 miles north-east from Seville is the medieval city of Cordoba. One of the major capitals during the Spanish Muslim rule and also designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO, we knew it was something that couldn’t be missed when visiting Andalucia, Spain. The most popular major attraction in Cordoba is the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba also known as the Mezquita (in Spanish).
The most efficient way to get from Seville to Cordoba is to take the train which takes about an hour to arrive to Cordoba train station.
Once we arrived, we headed straight towards the Mezquita. The walk to the Mezquita from the train station is very pleasant and traverses through a beautiful park.
Once we arrived to the historic Old city, we were met with a familiar name. Living in Alhambra, California, Almansor is actually the largest park of the city. What we see here is spelled differently but I’m assuming it’s the Spanish version of the name which is used to name our park.
Upon entering the Mezquita, we entered a beautiful courtyard lined with some beautiful trees. It was here that Muslims would gather to wash before prayer as directed by Muslim law.
Upon entering the mosque-cathedral, we were immediately greeted by the mixed styles of Islamic and Catholic. The arches and column create an illusion as if they span limitlessly across the room.
The Mihrab (a niche in every mosque which points to the direction of Mecca) is also displayed with richly decorated mosaics.
For the Catholic side, you also see the altar which is the center of Catholic worship within a church.
Below you can see the obvious mix between Muslim and Catholic architecture.
The Mezquita is a great example of the history of Spain. Initially built as a Catholic basilica, the Muslims invaded Spain in 711 and actually divided the church in half for both Catholic and Muslim use. From there, it eventually got taken over completely by Muslims and demolished in order to build the grand Mosque of Cordoba. The Catholics gained control of it again during the Reconquista period and re-decorated it and built a cathedral right in the center of the mosque. Since then, it’s been the center of controversy as numerous Muslims have lobbied to return the Mezquita to be shared by both Catholics and Muslims so both groups can practice their religion. This has been rejected numerous times by both Spain and by the Vatican.
Aside from the Mezquita, the historic center of Cordoba is an attraction in itself. The buildings are all very well preserved and has signature charming white walls and cobblestone streets.
Another famous attraction of Cordoba is the patio contest (Concursco Popular De Patios) which is held every year where residents open the doors of their patios to showcase to the public their beautiful decorations. We didn’t visit Cordoba during Concursco Popular De Patios but did some snooping around in the Jewish quarters and peeked into some really great looking patios.
There’s even a statue to commemorate the contest and how hanging up potted plants on patio walls are a celebrated pastime.
Just a short walk from the Mezquita and the Jewish Quarters is another attraction, the Roman Bridge of Cordoba built by the Romans during the 1st century. This bridge was made famous by the ever popular television show series, Game of Thrones as it was as the bridge leading into to the city of Volantis. You can read more about this towards the end of our Game of Thrones filming locations post.
We took our obligatory tourist photos and walked towards the other end of the bridge.
Standing on the other end of the bridge is the Calahorra Tower built in the 12th century to protect the bridge into the city. It has the classic castle design which greatly resembles the ones at the end of the levels in Super Mario Bros where you jump off to the top of the flag pole.
Walking around the back side of the Tower reveals a different style of rounded towers compared to the flat front.
We took a small break to take some more pictures and immediately a friendly cat arrived to greet us. As you all are aware, Tiff loves cats and they get along quite well.
What we noticed for the first time with this feral friendly male cat is that he is not neutered. Rarely do we see this in the US and pretty hilarious to us. Tiff immediately named him Ferrero Rocher for obvious reasons of a certain part of the cat’s resemblance to a hazelnut.
This side of the river provided some really great shots of the bridge and the Mezquita in the background.
We headed back to Seville to catch dinner with the second Round The World travel couple we met, Rebekah and Tony of Two Take The World! We actually coincidentally ran into them twice prior to actually meeting intentionally. They were in the same Walking Tour as we were in both Valparaiso and Santiago, Chile! Tiff found them on Instagram and recognized them from our walking tours and reached out. It turns out they were in Spain and were also in Seville the same time we were! It seems our paths kept crossing, so it was great to finally officially meet and hang out with them. It’s a funny thing, when you’re on the road and you meet other long term travel couples. It feels like a small niche community where you can relate to each other – being away from home and the familiar, and exploring new countries and cultures. Everyone seems to want to help each other out with tips and tricks on destinations they’ve already visited as we all know how exhausting all the research can be while on the road!
We forgot to take a photo with them and of our dinner as we were too busy chit chatting away! Turns out they started their RTW trip around the same time we did and their projected route of their RTW trip may coincide with ours again. Rebekah and Tony, it was great to finally hang out and hope our paths will cross again!
Cordoba is a city rich in history and is a great way to spend a day trip if you’re based in Seville or Granada. It has plenty of attractions to spend a day or two just enjoying the sights and sound of the old historic center.