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  3. Cordoba

Cordoba, Spain

Cordoba skyline, including the famous Mezquita, from across the river. Photo © Sacred Destinations.

Córdoba is a historic city in Andalusia, southern Spain, with a population of about 306,000. Cordoba boasts an exceptionally rich historical and cultural heritage. It has been an important city for thousands of years, first under Roman rule, then under the Visigoths, next under the Muslim caliphate, and finally under Catholic monarchs. It was the birthplace of three famous philosophers - the Roman Stoic Seneca, the Muslim Averroes, and the Jewish Maimonides - as well as the Roman poet Lucan and several modern flamenco artists including Paco Peña, Vicente Amigo and Joaquín Cortés.

Cordoba's diverse history has left behind an array of splendid sacred sites reflecting its various cultures. The most notable of these is the Mezquita, a unique combination of cathedral and mosque. Cordoba is also home to a splendid synagogue carved with Andalusian-style decoration and Hebrew texts. Cordoba was also a major seat of Jewish learning in the Middle Ages, and although few Jews have returned to the city since their forced exile from Spain in 1492, the historic Jewish Quarter of Cordoba remains well preserved.

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Sacred Sites and Religious Attractions in Cordoba

  • Alcazar de Los Reyes Cristianos
    Built in 1328, this was for centuries the headquarters of the Spanish Inquisition. On a more positive note, it contains beautiful gardens and 2nd-century Roman mosaics.
  • Jewish Quarter of Cordoba
    Cordoba's Juderia consists of a fascinating network of narrow lanes, more atmospheric and less commercialized than the one in Seville.
  • Mezquita de Cordoba
    The Mezquita of Cordoba is a beautiful and fascinating 8th-century mosque that symbolizes the religious changes Cordoba has undergone over the centuries. It is now used as a cathedral.
  • Sinagoga de Cordoba
    Cordoba's synagogue was built in 1350. It is the only synagogue in Andalusia to survive the expulsion and inquisition of the Jews in 1492 and one of only three ancient synagogues left in Spain.