The historic centre of Cordoba has conserved its medieval plan and the irregular layout of its narrow streets. The squares, promenades, ornamental lakes and magnificent gardens are integrated into the landscape of the city, which is constructed on the bank of a meandering section of the river. The Roman bridge, which has served vast regions over the course of its history, remains the anchor point of Córdoba.
The domestic architecture reminds us of the Al Andalus period. In addition to the houses, which are built around patios enclosed by grillwork, are monuments which testify to the different periods in the city’s history: Roman vestiges, islamic minarets and the Almodovar Gate, the Jewish synagogue, and various monuments, including the reconstructed Alcázar and the Calahorra Tower.The mosque-cathedral and the Roman bridge remain the principal landmarks of this historic landscape.
Upon their arrival in Córdoba, the Romans erected solid foundations around the town. At the outset of the 1st millennium A.D., the city became the capital of Hispania Inferior (Baetica) and the Roman metropolis of Andalusia.
Following the Visigoth invasion of 572, Córdoba became part of the dependency of Toledo, which was capital of unified Spain.
Shortly after the invasion of the Moors in 711, the city was made capital of Muslim Spain. In 756, Abd-al-Rhaman, the last descendent of the Umayyads of Damascus, settled there and proclaimed himself to be its ruler. The Great Mosque, his masterpiece, is the most splendid monument of this Eastern civilisation in the territory of Spain.
In the 10th century, after acquiring the status of a caliphate, Córdoba experienced a glorious heyday. As the most populated city in the West, it rivalled the great capitals of Islam; within its limits are as many as 300 mosques.
In the 11th century, the caliphate became politically divided. The Almoravids and the Almohads, two dynasties of Berber origin, re-established peace during the 12th century.
In 1236, the expulsion of the Moors by Ferdinand III, combined with Córdoba’s joining the Christian kingdom of Castile, led to a long decline. In the 15th century, under Charles-Quint, the Great Mosque, which had already been adapted to the new religion, was transformed into a cathedral.