10 Essential Experiences

There is no lack of reasons (or, on the contrary, there are thousands of them) to visit Córdoba at any time. Autumn can be one of them, when there are not so many tourists, the temperatures are mild and the vegetation around the Guadalquivir as it passes through the city center takes on the most beautiful colors. Córdoba is a compendium of past and modernity. This ancient city, declared a World Heritage Site, is a living legacy of the various cultures that settled in it throughout its history. Walking through the streets of Córdoba is passing from one era of history to another. This city has a wealth of monuments and a unique atmosphere. Among the thousand reasons to visit Córdoba, here we highlight ten.

1.- Tour the historic center. Over the centuries, the different peoples and cultures that have passed through Córdoba have left in its streets a monumental heritage of incredible value. In Córdoba, the absolute leading role is taken by the great Mosque, today the Cathedral. Considered the most important Islamic monument in the entire West, it is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating works of art in the world. Its forest of columns, its two-tone arches and its decoration, together with the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements of the Christian cathedral built inside, make up a unique and unrepeatable architectural ensemble. Accompanying the Mosque, other magnificent buildings are found in this city. A quiet walk through its historic center allows you to discover the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, with its beautiful gardens, its Arab baths or the Hall of Mosaics, where the fabulous collection of Roman mosaics found under the Plaza de la Corredera is exhibited. You have to approach the narrow streets of the Jewish quarter and enjoy the beautiful plasterwork of its Synagogue. Also worth a visit is the archaeological complex of Medina Azahara, very close to the city, the Cordovan courtyards of the Palacio de Viana, the Posada del Potro, which is mentioned in Don Quixote, the Baroque Convent of La Merced, the Torre de la Calahorra. .. Do not miss the beautiful view of the city on the other side of the Roman bridge, also at night with its spectacular lighting. www.turismodecordoba.org

2.- See the most secret Córdoba. Two original excursions can be booked at the city's Tourist Offices that allow you to discover the lesser-known Córdoba in an attractive and different way. The first of the programs, Paseos por Córdoba, is a guided night tour that walks through the old town. It also includes a tasting in a typical tavern and theatrical performances, where illustrious characters will recount some of the city's historical passages. The second, Los Secretos de Córdoba, is an original initiative that will delight the whole family. With it one can have fun playing detective while discovering the cultural heritage of Córdoba: the objective is to answer, in 48 hours, six questions related to the city's monuments, museums, streets and squares. To solve the mysteries you have to visit each place, and if the answers are correct, a prize awaits at the Tourist Office. www.reservasturismodecordoba.org There is also a route to discover the mysterious Córdoba, of the legends, that of the Inquisition, that of Julio Romero de Torres, the underground... and many more. www.eraseunavezcordoba.com

3.- Discover the soul of Córdoba. Without a doubt, one of the first visits in the city should be to its mosque-cathedral, one of the most amazing monuments of humanity and the most unique religious building of all existing ones. But a different way of seeing it is at night, with the enclosure empty, in a perfect combination of lights and sounds that allows the dazzled visitor to discover the interior life that flows between its columns, its arches and its walls, while approaching to its mystery and makes him feel like a direct protagonist of the story. The bold technical solutions and its immeasurable artistic beauty subtly reflect in this monument the interpretation of the soul of Córdoba, the essence of its spirituality. The Córdoba Tourism Consortium and the Cathedral Chapter, and with the sponsorship of the Córdoba Tourism Excellence Plan, offer a new way of getting to know this unique temple and admiring its beauty, discovering hitherto unpublished aspects of it. The night visit for groups of a maximum of 80 people, who are led through the different spaces of the monument, called by the light, and the directionality of the sound environment. The narration will be done simultaneously in 8 languages. The visit costs 18 euros. www.elalmadecordoba.com

4.- Contemplate the Cordovan patios. Although the ideal time to appreciate the beauty of the patios of Córdoba is in the month of May, during the two weeks that the Festival of the Patios of Córdoba lasts, recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, discovering its charm can be done at any other time. To this end, the Patios Festival Interpretation Center (Trueque Street, 4) has been created, an emblematic patio-house of the festive tradition of Córdoba, the festival of an entire town, which lives its patios of private houses, which they open them disinterestedly and compete to stand out as the most beautiful. In Córdoba there are 1,700 registered courtyard houses, although only 220 of them can be visited. The courtyard houses, which have housed a large amount of the population for rent, the so-called neighborhood houses, also represent a heritage with an ethnological value of great interest for Córdoba. In addition to the visit to this Center there are guided tours, several of them accessible, dramatized visits, experiences of all the senses in the patios, etc. www.reservasturismodecordoba.org

5.- Relax in an Arab bath. The tradition of baths in the Arab world has centuries of practice. In Córdoba there are several that have preserved their charm, although they have been adapted to the most demanding needs of today. The Arab Baths of Córdoba is a 500-square-meter space located in the heart of the Jewish quarter that has four swimming pools: hot, warm, cold and floating, as well as a hammam (Turkish bath). There you can enjoy unlimited bathing without schedule pressure, to transport yourself to another temporary space and achieve total relaxation. The entrance to the Arab baths (15 euros) includes the tasting of an exquisite tea. The establishment also has a hostel that allows its guests to directly lower the bathrobe from the room to the bathroom www.bañosarabesdecordoba.com. Another option is Hammam Al Ándalus Arab Baths, a few meters from the Cathedral Mosque of Córdoba, in the heart of the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate, a journey through the culture of water and the aromas of the time, recovered for the well-being of body and mind. www.hammamalandalus.com

6.- Admire the art of the Cordovan horse. The Royal Stables of Córdoba, located in front of the Alcázar, were created in 1570 by royal decree of Felipe II, who gave free rein to his love of horses and his project of creating for himself and for the world one of the best breeds that history has given: the Andalusian horse, of pure Spanish breed. What at first was a simple royal wish ended up being one of Felipe II's greatest and most beloved projects. The Spanish thoroughbred was highly prized for riding and became a clear symbol of the Spanish empire. Currently, the horses return to their place of origin, Córdoba, the city where they were born. With Passion and Duende of the Andalusian Horse, the Córdoba Ecuestre Association with the collaboration of the Córdoba Tourism Consortium invite you to enjoy a unique and magical show that spreads the beauty, intelligence and nobility of the Andalusian horse, as well as the skill of the riders, in 70 exciting minutes, a perfect combination of elements of classical and Andalusian horsemanship, handiwork, dressage, high school, horsewoman, pole chase,... connecting it with the equestrian history and tradition of our city. From 10 euros. www.cordobaecuestre.com

7.- Visit the gastronomic markets. There are several markets focused on gastronomy with a very modern air, a good atmosphere and magnificent products. The Victoria Market is the first gastronomic market in Andalusia, a leisure space around gastronomy inaugurated in May 2013. Its 30 stalls offer both fresh and ready-to-eat products during long hours, with a kitchen open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. from Sunday to Wednesday and from 9:00 to 02:00 from Thursday to Saturday. It occupies the old Caseta del Círculo de la Amistad, a historic wrought iron building dating from the end of the 19th century, where the Cordoba Fair was once held, in the middle of the Victoria Gardens, 5 minutes from the historic center of Cordoba , the AVE station and the city center www.mercadovictoria.com There are two other markets of interest: Los Patios de la Marquesa is a gastronomic and cultural space located in a unique enclave such as the Jewish quarter in Córdoba, just a few meters from the Mosque-Cathedral. The establishment is located in the Casa de los Manríquez and has an area of 1,000 square meters in which 16 stalls have been installed around its beautiful patios with a traditional Andalusian air lospatiosdelamarquesa.com and Ágora 83, a gastronomic space where you have the possibility to enjoy different gastronomic samples in a space of 700 square meters, where you can taste from a oxtail hamburger, to a squid ink salmorejo or an ice cream. The main feature of Ágora 83 is that you can serve yourself at each gastronomic point of sale, or they can serve it to you at the table agora83.com

8.- Take a smorejo... but not just any. It is undoubtedly the most popular dish in Córdoba and although it seems more suitable in summer, it is worth it at any other time. They offer it in any tavern or restaurant, but the real thing was to try it at Salmorejería Umami, headed by Juanjo Ruiz, a restaurant specializing in salmorejos and offering a menu of up to 30 different types of this dish. But the premises closed in 2014. The chef now runs La Salmoreteca with several premises in Córdoba, Seville and Fuengirola, the first of them in the Mercado Gourmet on Avenida de la Victoria. La Salmoreteca, is a unique gastronomic concept, a sum of ideas, illusions, thoughts, which are mixed and distilled, around one of the 100 main dishes of Spanish, Andalusian and Cordoba cuisine: The Salmorejo. Working for years on the development of the tastes and evolutions of this dish, as well as the in-depth knowledge and traceability of its ingredients, salmorejo has been reinterpreted knowing how to understand, respect and disobey it, to interpret it again under a new innovative culinary prism, that yes, without forgetting its fundamental components: tomato, bread, oil and garlic, but even creating up to 700 different recipes for salmorejos. www.lasalmoreteca.com Another original and typical option is to try the potato omelette offered by Bar Santos, an obligatory stop when walking through the Jewish quarter. This tavern has become famous throughout Spain thanks to its tortillas... Each one contains 22 eggs (the website is under construction, tel.: 957 48 89 75) www.tabernabarsantos.com

9.- Spanish guitar nights with luxury dinner. The Hotel Hospes Palacio del Bailío is located in the historic heart of the Caliphate city, the establishment, declared a Site of Cultural Interest, represents a clear commitment to the combination of culture, well-being, art, history, gastronomy and relaxation. The palace is an old manor house, characterized by its large dimensions and its patios and entire limestone moldings covered with lime mortar. With four unique Andalusian patios with flowers, fruit trees and aromatic plants. The central patio of 160 m2, with a glass floor, reveals the remains of an impressive Roman villa from the 1st century AD It is also the only hotel with indoor Roman baths and an outdoor pool located in an oasis surrounded by fruit trees and aromatic plants. In its Arbequina Gastronomic Restaurant, run by chef Javier Moreno, you can have a tasting menu with Spanish guitar chords. The most relaxed atmosphere and the chords of the guitar come together to fill the nights of Córdoba with magic, led by prestigious guitarists. Hotel Hospes Palacio del Bailío becomes the perfect host for the best Spanish guitar concerts and an exquisite gastronomic offer, rooted in the most natural, genuine and healthy products of Córdoba. Price 55 euros. www.hospes.com/es

10.- Sleep in the houses of the Jewish quarter. In a privileged enclave, the Hotel Las Casas de la Judería de Córdoba**** is located right in the Jewish quarter of Córdoba, in front of the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, Royal Stables, the Caliphal Baths of the Campo Santo de los Mártires and the Synagogue, a 200 meters from the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba and the Palacio de Congresos de Córdoba. Its rehabilitation as a hotel has been carried out with the utmost respect for the history and architecture of the building, resulting in a hotel with unique charm with all the facilities and services that the traveler requires, in an environment of enormous beauty, where you can enjoy of calm and tranquility. Upon crossing its threshold, the traveler finds himself immersed in an environment of enormous beauty, where enjoying calm and tranquility is not at odds with the services offered by a hotel of the highest quality. In its sixty-four rooms are original and typical materials of the time such as furniture and decorative arts, especially Cordovan, tanned leather and adorned by hand with reliefs and painted drawings. In Las Casas de la Judería de Córdoba no two rooms are the same. Each one is unique and will give you different sensations. The hotel also offers different experiences in the city. www.lascasasdelajuderiadecordoba.com