Having a Spanish grandmother, I have had the opportunity to travel and live in Spain many times. One of my favorite aspects of Spain is that there are such culturally distinct regions to explore. One example of a region that has an amazing cultural background is Andalusia. The reason for this is that the Moors, Jews, and Christians coexisted in this part of Spain for centuries throughout its history. Because of this, you can see amazing architecture that still remains in the city and even have Arab tea in the various tea shops. Here are my recommendations of how to spend a memorable day in Cordova.
It is wise to start your day in the Mesquita. The Mesquita (mosque in Spanish) is a structure that has lived a Jewish, Muslim, and Christian heritage. This is precisely why it is one of my favorite ruin sights that I have seen in my travels. Upon entering this marvelous structure, one can see red and white striped columns that extend in the candlelit room as far as the eye can see. These pillars resemble a mosque and have the Arab stencil carvings on top of them that are of the Arabic style of writing that existed before the Spanish Inquisition. As you keep walking, you will see the resemblance of the Catholic pews and altar and then as you look up, you will see the roof of a synagogue. Each of the rooms has a mixture of the three faiths combined with a flair of Spanish architecture that has iron hanging lanterns and paver tiles that always make me smile. This structure is one of the gems that has survived in Spain and is absolutely worth a visit!
Once you finish with the Mesquita, it is best to take a stroll through the Jewish part of the city. My family is of the rare Spanish Jews who still exist, and thus, I was able to find records about our family in this part of the city while wandering the artisan shops and museums. One of my favorite aspects of this part of Cordoba were the tea shops that looked like a mixture of what exists in Israel and Morocco. Within these shops, there are tea cakes, hookahs, coffee, and tea to enjoy while siting in décor that is clearly influenced by the Moors complete with a gorgeous Spanish courtyard atrium that contains a fountain. I would sit in these tea shops for hours and just relax and enjoy. They are truly a wonderful combination of cultures that is worth taking a step back and marveling at.
The ultimate way to end your day in Cordova is to go to a Flamenco show. The majority of the Flamenco shows are quite touristy in Madrid; however, Flamenco is the most authentic in Cordova and Seville. Thus, attending a show in Cordova is some of the purest Flamenco that you will get in Spain. These shows usually come with a complimentary Sangria and contain classic Spanish guitar and Flamenco dancing. Once the lights dim to crimson red and you only hear the talented Flamenco guitarist playing, a large smile would make its way across my face because that is the true essence of Spain.
Cordova is truly one of Spain’s gems, but is often skipped on the AVE train that goes from Madrid to Seville. Take the time to spend at least a day in Cordova and see one of the most interesting cultural sights in Spain while simultaneously creating a sensational travel memory for yourself.