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Córdoba area guide: a rich tapestry of culture

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Located in the very heart of Andalucía, the beautiful city of Córdoba is as Spanish as could be, yet is also home to the third largest mosque in the world – the majestic Mezquita. Yep, one of the world’s most important and impressive Muslim monuments is situated slap-bang in the heart of Catholic Spain. The reason? Córdoba’s rich and tumultuous history, of course.

Hispanophiles will be well aware of Spain's diverse past - a history that goes far beyond the images we're perhaps most familiar with, farther than the Franco era, the civil war, the creation of Flamenco, the bullfighting, the Armada and the Inquisition... even good old Don Quixote; all mere whippersnappers when compared alongside Spain's – and Córdoba's - ancient history.

Córdoba oozes antiquity. The city has existed since 169 B.C., and was founded by the Romans. After a lengthy Visigoth rule, Córdoba was captured by the Moors in 711 and turned into not only one of the most stunning cities in Europe, but also one of the richest and most culturally enlightened places on earth, all centred around the Mezquita. Today, Córdoba's location makes it an important hub for the south of the country, sitting between west and east, with the capital Madrid to the north and the thriving Mediterranean resorts along the Costa del Sol to the south east.

Its beautifully varied architecture makes it one of the most picturesque cities in Spain, harbouring a peaceful atmosphere that draws upon the city's visual majesty and fantastic climate to create a warmth and charm that is highly infectious to all who visit, so be warned: if you do not want to be bitten by the Córdoba bug, dose up on culture-protectors before you arrive.

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