It’s not that it sounds like a riddle, but maybe not everyone knows that it’s a spanish city the one that has the most World Heritage Sites, according to the UNESCO qualification, in the whole world.
Furthermore, if we continue with the riddle and verify that it is perfect to discover in spring, we are giving enough clues to verify which city we are talking about. Let’s see… Flamenquines, oxtail, Manolete, patios, caliphate, mosque, generous wines…
It seems evident that all roads lead to Córdobawhich vibrates like few others during the month of May, when the Fiesta de los Patios —Intangible Cultural Heritage— converges with Las Cruces and also with the city Fair itself.
As is also evident, Córdoba lives not only from patios and fairsbut also boasts several landmarks that make it a perfect getaway for any time of the year.
Bigger words are mosque-cathedral, the only example in the world where there is a cathedral embedded inside a mosque. Also bigger, at least in extension, is its old town, which also has the honor of being one of the oldest in the world.
On the outskirts —although not far, just eight kilometers away— are the ruins of the imposing Andalusian city of Medina Azahara, the last World Heritage Site that old caliphal capital obtained, and which means crowning the Andalusian city as the place with the most World Heritage Sites in the world.
No other city neither Spanish nor foreignhas that honor, even ahead of capitals such as Rome, Paris, Beijing or Mexico City.
A luxury that is within our reach and that makes Córdoba a favorite destination not only for lovers of culture, but also for lovers of gastronomy, with which the Caliphate city also surprises us.
The largest historical center in the world
A Roman bridge, countless churches, synagogues, Arab baths and the dominance of the cathedral mosque share the stage in the historic center of Córdoba, which is not only the biggest in the world, but also the oldest. Big words again for a city made to enjoy in every corner.
Losing yourself in the Jewish quarter, being surprised by the majesty of the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, discovering the Molinos del Guadalquivir, walking along the Roman Bridge or captivating yourself with the Synagogue of Córdoba, built in the 14th century are just a few brushstrokes of what can be do on it.
The correct definition is mosque-cathedral, although it is usually abbreviated with mosque. Built in several stages with the arrival of the Muslims in Spain, the maximum splendor of the mosque would be in the early tenth centuryalready under the power of Abderramán III.
Of immeasurable dimensions —it had capacity for 45,000 people—, arrived at one of the most important mosques in the world at the same time that Córdoba — once again big words — was the third most populous city in the world, only behind Damascus and Baghdad.
Today is a well visitable and photographableinescapable for all those who pass through Córdoba, where numerous vestiges of the city’s Muslim past are preserved and also the cathedral, embedded in the 16th century in the center of the mosque, and which, according to experts, is “a lucky monument” for having thus survived the passage of time.
The palatine city of Medina Azahara
Ephemeral, as it barely survived just five decades after its completion, but equally impressive. This was the city of Medina Azahara, also commissioned by order of Abderramán III, who wanted turn it into a palatial city.
It was built from the beginning of the first third of the 10th century as a demonstration of power by the Umayyad Caliphate headed by Abderramán III and his son al-Hakam II. However, various civil wars in Al-Andalus already in the first decade of the eleventh century It meant the almost total destruction of Medina Azahara, considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2018.
Córdoba Up Close 1 (Lonely Planet Guides Up Close)
The Festival of the Courtyards
It does not have centuries of history, but the reality is that the Festival of the Patios Cordobeses is one of the most important events in Córdobawhen during the second and third week of May the city is decked out with flowers, whitewashed walls and flowerpots to shine with a contest that is now a hundred years old.
Although the moment of maximum splendor of the patios is the Month of May, the truth is that throughout the year you can visit some patios —both public and private—, in addition to checking out the classic trellis with flowers, both in the historic center and in the surrounding neighborhoods. And, as we said, it is the fourth World Heritage Site endorsed by Unesco that the city has.
Images | Image by wirestock on Freepik / iStock Sean Pavone / iStock e55evu / iStock Marina Nozhko
In DAP | Gastroguide of Córdoba: what to eat in the city of the caliphs (and which restaurants you should not miss)
In DAP | The 59 best recipes of Andalusian cuisine