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.