Córdoba’s mesmerising multi-arched Mesquita is one of the world’s greatest Islamic buildings. The Mezquita is a symbol of the sophisticated Islamic culture that flourished here more than a millennium ago, when Córdoba was the capital of Islamic Spain, and Western Europe’s biggest and most cultured city.Lonely Planet’s Best of Spain.
Throughout Andalusia, the unifying theme is olives, they can be found just about everywhere.
Olives have permeated every Mediterranean culture from prehistory to the present day. Aristotle philosophised about them, and Leonardo invented a modern way to press them. Egyptian pharaohs were sealed into pyramids with golden carvings of olives.
Olives have been the emblem of Spain since the first dispatches from Caesar’s legions. Today they grow everywhere in Spain, covering 5 million acres, from the ancient port of Cadiz to the chilly slopes of Galicia. But the heart of olive country is Andalusia.
Mezquita: It is impossible to overemphasise the beauty of Córdoba’s great mosque. With all its lustrous decoration, it evokes the city’s golden age of sophistication and peaceful coexistence between faiths. From 08:30 to 09:30 (except on a Sunday) it is possible to gain free entry. The one hour slot is just about enough time to see everything. Otherwise the entry price is €10. The bell tower is extra.
Alcázar de los Cristianos: This formidable fort-palace dates to the 14th century when it was commissioned by King Alfonso XI and built over an earlier Moorish palace. Entry price €5.
Puente Romano: Spanning the Rio Guadalquivir, just below the Mezquita, this 16-arch bridge originally formed part of Via Augusta, the ancient Roman road that connected Girona in Catalonia with Cádiz.
Next stage: Granada.