Cordoba geography and history

The city of Córdoba was built where the largest river in Andalucía, the Guadalquivir, was no longer navigable. The Roman General Claudio Marcelo established a permanent camp on the banks of the river in the year 164 before Christ. That modest Roman Imperial settlement multiplied its population in a few years and two centuries later it competed in beauty, importance and magnificent with the Imperial capital.

The capital of Andalucía or Bética: Córdoba, birth place of  Séneca and his nephew Lucano, with a Roman Theatre almost as big and a circus as big as the ones in Rome. The fall of the Roman Empire coincided with the height of the Visigothic culture.

The arrival of the Moors to Spain in 711 made Córdoba the headquar ters of the Emirate founded by the Ommiad leader Abd al-Rahman the first. His descendants made Moorish Córdoba the richest and most sumptuous city in the known world, so much so that in the first third of the tenth century, in 929, Abd al-Rahman the third  proclaimed an independent Caliphate and made Córdoba the capital of al-Andalus. A few decades later, after the death of the son of the first Caliph al-Hakam the second and the leader Almanzor, Córdoba became the object of a bloody civil war between different Moorish factions and its immense power was relegated to a modest and weakened Moorish kingdom.

Cordoba, gardens of the Alcazar

Cordoba, gardens of the Alcazar

Finally in 1236, the Christian army led by the King of Castile, Fernando the third the Saint, took Córdoba and the Mosque, the most emblematic monument of the Spanish-Moslem culture, was consecrated as a Christian temple. Later a Cathedral was built in the centre of the great building. The

following centuries saw the great metropolis develop in keeping with the aesthetics dictated by the Christians. Afterwards, the city became an agricultural and artisan centre. It was a crossroads when the nineteenth century writers and travellers rediscovered the city through curious eyes and with poetry. Under the dictates of baroque churches and palaces were built in the Jewish quarter or in suburbs like the Ajerquía, in the shadows of the churches built by King Fernando.

Today, Córdoba is a modern city, the seat of one of the most powerful universities in Andalucía and a centre of communications between the higher and lower parts of Andalucía. Córdoba has over three thousand hours of sunshine a year and an average temperature of 21º C.