Historic Centre of Cordoba (1984, 1994)

Back to index

Cordoba's period of greatest glory began in the 8th century after the Moorish conquest, when some 300 mosques and innumerable palaces and public buildings were built to rival the splendours of Constantinople, Damascus and Baghdad. In the 13th century, under Ferdinand III, the Saint, Cordoba's Great Mosque was turned into a cathedral and new defensive structures, particularly the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos and the Torre Fortaleza de la Calahorra, were erected. 

In 1994 the site was extended to include "The Mosque of Cordoba", the city's most noteworthy building. It is now a great cathedral, originally constructed (8th-10th century) as a Moorish mosque on the site of a Roman temple and later of a Visigothic church. Córdoba's mosque was noted as Europe's largest and most beautiful Muslim holy building before its conversion into a Christian church in 1236. 

Spain 1986. Souvenir sheet EXFILNA '86, Córdoba. Spain 1984. Interior of the Mosque of Córdoba.

Spain 1996. Narrow street in Córdoba, and the Maimonides Memorial.

Córdoba (English Cordova), is a city in southern Spain, capital of Córdoba Province, in Andalucía, and one of Spain's most famous cities. 

Located on the Guadalquivir River, it retains in its older sections the whitewashed walls, narrow streets, and colorful patios of a Moorish city. 

  • Spain 1996. Narrow street in Cordoba, and the Maimonides Memorial. 
Another notable structure is the Alcázar, a former Moorish palace erected on the site of Roman buildings and used in later centuries as the seat of the Inquisition; it is now largely in ruins. 

A bridge of 16 arches, built by the Romans and reconstructed by the Moors, connects the central city with Campo de la Verdad, a section across the Guadalquivir; near the bridge is Calahorra Castle. The city is the seat of the University of Córdoba (1972). 

  • Spain 1988. From the series "World Cultural Heritage Cities". The transparent letters, through which the Mosque of Córdoba is partly visible, read "Mezquita de Córdoba". 

Córdoba was an important city as early as Phoenician and Carthaginian times. It flourished as a major Roman settlement from the 1st century BC to the 5th century AD and subsequently was captured first by the Visigoths (572) and then by the Moors (711). 

Spain 1988. Córdoba, World Cultural City.

In 756, Abd-ar-Rahman I, a member of the Umayyad family (see Jordan, Quseir Amrah, on this site), and later his son, Abd-ar-Rahman II, made Córdoba the capital of Moorish Spain, and for the next 250 years the city was one of the world's great commercial and intellectual centers. In 929 Abd-ar-Rahman III established the caliphate of Córdoba, and the city reached a peak of prosperity, rivaling Damascus and Baghdad in its brilliance and intellectual activity. The material well-being of Córdoba declined after the early 11th century as Muslim rule in Spain disintegrated, but it remained a center of literature and scholarship. 

Spain 1986. Abd-er-Rahman II, Emir of Córdoba. Spain 1986. Al-Zarqali. Astronomer. Spain 1986. Ibn Hazm. Theologist, lawyer, statesman.

In the 12th century the philosophers Averroës and Maimonides were active in Córdoba. Moses Maimonides  [Rabbi Mose ben Maimon] 1134-1204, was born in Cordoba, and recognized as "Ramba".  Maimonides was a Jewish physician, philosopher and theologist, and the most important rabbi of the ancient ages. 

Spain 1997. The Synagogue of Córdoba.

He systematized the Talmud, and through his writings, originally in Arabic and supported by the thinking of Aristotle, he had a great impact of the thinking of Thomas of Aquino and Spinoza. 

The Spanish Jews (Sephardic Jews), the Muslims, and the Christians, have always lived fairly peacefully together in Córdoba, and their co-existence has undoubtedly contributed largely to the wealth and enlightenment of the thriving city. 

  • Spain 1997. The Synagogue of Córdoba. 

Both of the below bank notes are engraved by the famous Swedish engraver Czeslaw Slania, who has used his own ear as partial model for the portrait. 

Spain 1967.The Philosopher Moses Maimonides.

Israel 1986. anknote of 1 new Sheqalim. Moses Maimonides.

Israel 1983. Bank note of 1000 Sheqalim. Moses Maimonides.

Spain 1967. The philosopher Averröes.

In 1236 the city was captured and made part of Roman Catholic Spain by Ferdinand III of Castile.  In 1808,during the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815), it was sacked by the French. 

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Sites in Spain (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Spain-section, for further information on the individual properties. 

Back to index

Revised 19 jul 2007  
Copyright © 1999 Heindorffhus 
All Rights Reserved