We don’t take many guided tours. Instead, we explore and follow-up on things we find interesting. We have found, though, that a walking tour towards the beginning of a visit is a good investment of time. This tour started at the Plaza de las Tendillas, at the foot of this statue, called El Gran Capitán.
It’s hard to see from my photo, but the head of the capitán looks quite different from the body. Our guide explained that for reasons best known to the artist, the head is of the matador, Rafael Molina.
The Spanish word for shop is “tienda,” and the Plaza de las Tendillas means the plaza of the small shops. There are still some small ones, but the plaza is now home to some large, impressive buildings.
The clock on this building strikes the time, but instead of bells, it plays chords from a Spanish guitar.
This tower seems to serve the modern purpose of holding a cellular relay. I think it’s the building of the Spanish company, Telefónica.
Just off the plaza is this impressive street.
The first stop on the tour was the Ayuntamiento, or town square. Remains of a Roman temple are on display here, though only parts of the columns are original.
That’s our guide holding up an artist’s conception of the original temple. The people in the English tour group were from around the world: Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Russia, China, Australia. English really is the key language to know for travel, at least for the near future.
Next stop was the Corredera Square, where the big Carnival party was.
That party was the last day of Carnival, and when we arrived with the tour, the square was were being cleaned up, and decorations taken down.
The style of the plaza is not characteristic of Andalusia. It’s Castilian, like those further north. It was formerly used as a bull ring, with wooden bleachers set up around the inner perimeter. One side holds the new central market of Cordoba, much smaller than the previous, which was in the center.
We continued past the Convento de “San Francisco,” a Medieval church.
I sometimes had to run to catch-up with the group, because I kept getting distracted by the fascinating little things on the way.
We re-entered the Medina part of the city (the part within the original walls), through this gate, where you can see quite a mix of ancient and modern side-by-side.
We continued until we arrived at the Mosque Cathedral. I’ll have lots more to say about this in the future, but for now, I’ll just show this picture.
Outside of the mosque, is this statue that includes the two patron saints of Cordoba at the base, and St. Raphael at the top. There are statues and paintings of Raphael throughout the city, and it’s still a very popular name here.
Down a short slope from the statue is the river and the Roman bridge.
It’s a short walk to the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. Originally this was a Moorish castle. Later it became the fortress home of Ferdinand and Isabella, who eventually financed the expedition of Columbus to the New World. I say “eventually,” because at the Alcázar Columbus made his first request, which was rejected.
In the courtyard there was a gardener harvesting ripe oranges from the trees. I’m not sure what they do with them afterward, but Mary heard they’re used to make marmalade.
From here, we entered the Judería, the ancient Jewish quarter of the city. Here is the iconic statue of Maimonides. The legend is that this man was so wise, just rubbing the toe of his sandal makes you smarter (and more likely to visit Cordoba again).
This area is even more narrow and twisty than the streets where we live, near San Pedro. After a brief walk through the quarter, the tour ended outside of this gate, the Puerta de Almodóvar, originating from the 14th century.
Just outside the gates, two import figures sit contemplating the wall and the city. This is Seneca, born in Cordoba, tutor and adviser to Nero. Though he was probably innocent, he was implicated in a plot to assassinate the emperor, and forced to commit suicide.
And finally, this is Averroes a wide-ranging thinker who defended the position that events follow natural laws that God created, rather than being individual acts of God’s will. This was apparently a controversial idea at the time.
I hope you enjoyed our whirlwind tour of Cordoba. I’m ready to see more…