The third stop of my trip on the road to Andalusia is the historic city of Cordova, serenely lying along the Guadalquivir river and at the foot of the Sierra Morena.
In contrast to the most dynamic Granada and Seville, Cordoba is in fact very quiet. Life around the majestic Mezquita and in the alleys of the Jewish quarter of Juderia, named World Heritage by Unesco, runs at a mild and quiet pace.
Cordova in one day?
Yes, the city of Cordoba could be visited even in one day, as it is not too big and everything can be reached in a few minutes walk. But the serenity that transmits this place invites you to spend much more time, because, I assure you,
stroll along the Guadalquivir shore or cross the beautiful Roman bridge at sunset and then dine at the tables of one of the many great restaurants in the historic center, is a regenerating experience.
Built by the Omeya princes, between the 8th and the 10th centuries, this mosque is one of the most important testimonies in Islamic culture in Europe as well as an extraordinary example of Moorish architecture.
As happened to other mosques in Andalusia, the Mezquita was converted after the Christian conquest, in the Cathedral from 1523.
Free admission at the opening!
Being the most popular and visited site in Cordoba, I planned to visit and photograph it as soon as it was open to the public. The cost of the ticket for a visit without a guide is 8 € but, with pleasure, once on the spot, I found out that the entrance is free for those who access the opening, so at 8:30.
Unfortunately, though, there was already a fair group of visitors so my enthusiasm dropped instantly as soon as I got in. The inside of the Mezquita is very beautiful and impressive with this set of columns and bows but as soon as the visitors are scattered, it has become very difficult to make decent photos. Also, it is not allowed to enter the tripod so I had to hold the ISO high and hand-held.
At some point I sat on the ground and placed the Leica SL on my bag to give it stability, and took some photos with slow exposure time to try to somehow eliminate the tourists presence.
The Juderia and some street photos
Juderia is perhaps the most famous Jewish quarter in Andalusia. Losing yourself in its white lanes is the best thing to do to enjoy it at best. But also here, as in Granada, there is not much life around, everything is static but clean and finely decorated. For a street photographer like me, it is almost boring.
Plaza de los Capuchinos
This was for me one of the most striking and photogenic spots of Cordoba, for its mystical atmosphere. A small and cute little square with theCristo de los Faroles, a crucifix illuminated by eight lanterns, and the convent of the Capuchin friars.
Plaza de la Corredera
This square, have a very similar architectural style than the one in Madrid, and is the most extensive portico of Andalusia. A large rectangle enclosed by three-story residential buildings, in which hundreds of balconies are aligned. Very beautiful and photogenic.
Hotel in Cordova
My accommodation experience in Cordova was fantastic because the hotel I chose turned out to be really great in all aspects, so I highly recommend it:
Strategically located, just a few steps from the Roman Bridge in an area with free parking and a beautiful view of the Mezquita. Large double room and huge bed. Nice also the rooftop pool, small but very pleasant.
My photography, in Cordoba. How did it go
To be honest, nothing special and memorable. Street photography opportunities were very rare. I alternated all the lenses, trying to stimulate the look with different focal length, but in the end, the subjects were almost always architectural.
I may say that, speaking on photography, Córdova, it is not a place that has stimulated me particularly.
The most beautiful photo opportunity?
Definitely the panoramic photo at sunset on the Roman bridge and on the Mezquita, from the roof of the hotel NH Cordoba Guadalquivir, from which I had a privileged and unique view. Although this is not my favorite type of photography, at least I justified bringing the tripod with me, as this is the only place I used it.
Did I like Cordoba? Yes, much, especially for its quiet and relaxed atmosphere. As in Granada, I was disappointed by Juderia’s Jewish quarter for the same reason: I expected a more genuine and loud life. Maybe I still have in the eyes and in the heart the life in the Moroccan Medina, and this influences my expectations a lot. But certainly the global vote on Cordoba remains positive.
If you need more information, do not hesitate to contact me, I will be happy to answer you.
Thanks for reading,
see you soon,
This post is also available in: Italian