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Córdoba is a city shaped by its rich history, steeped in the Islamic traditions of incredible architecture and vibrant multiculturalism. In fact, it was the most populous city worldwide for several hundred years, and the West’s epicenter for Muslim life. The city’s claim to fame (and the reason it ends up on so many Spanish travel plans) is its tremendous Mezquita, a refurbished 10th-century mosque that gives Granada’s Alhambra a run for its money in the category of jaw-dropping Moorish craftsmanship. A traveler could spend an entire day there, exploring everything from its lush grove of orange trees and towering campanile outside, to the forest of sleek marble columns and mihrab altar inside. Piggybacked on top of the mosque is a 16th century cathedral, exploiting the grandeur of its host. It’s an inspirational site for all people, no matter their faith.
Some tourists might hit the Mezquita and then hop on the next train, but Córdoba offers some tantalizing tastes, sights, and sounds to those who want to linger a bit longer. An extensive former Jewish quarter offers a historic perspective, as well as a well-preserved synagogue, and memorials to the Talmudic scholar Maimonides and the Islamic philosopher Averroes. The tapas tradition is a passion in Córdoba, and there’s nothing like delicious food after a long day of religious sightseeing. And we can't forget about the bridges over the Guadalquivir that provide great bird-watching for nature-lovers and beautiful sunset views to romance-seekers. Cordoba is a city with a vibrant past and a rich tradition and heritage, both of which it offers to all who are willing to spend a little time winding through its streets and alleys.