If you are on holiday in the Andalusian city of Cordoba in the south of Spain, you cannot avoid the cathedral “La Mezquita” in the heart of the city. The impressive building, which is one of the largest sacred buildings in the world and the most important landmark of the city, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world every year.
Huge prayer hall and bulging treasury
The more than 1,000-year-old cathedral, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site for several years, combines various structural and architectural styles. Inside the “La Mezquita” countless valuable religious elements can be found – both from the culture of Islam and from Western culture. The eventful history of Cordoba is also visible on a total of 856 artistically decorated columns. The treasury is filled with innumerable treasures. The heart of the 179-meter-long and 134-meter-wide cathedral is the huge prayer hall, which takes up around two thirds of the total area of 23,000 square meters. The organ built at the beginning of the 18th century is also extremely worth seeing and, above all, listening to. If you want to enjoy the entire Cordoba region from above, can do this best from the bell tower of the cathedral, which was reopened in November 2014 after a long construction period. From a height of about 40 meters you have a breathtaking view.
Arcos de la Frontera
If you are traveling in the south of Spain, you should definitely pay a visit to Arcos de la Frontera. The city with 32,000 inhabitants is best known for its numerous white houses in various architectural styles. The medieval old town is also characterized by its many narrow streets and some historic buildings that are well worth seeing. The main attractions of Arcos de la Frontera include the Palace del conde del Águila and the huge Basílica de Santa María. The city is also the starting point for the famous Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos, a popular route with a total of 19 villages and small towns with the famous white houses. If you also want to enjoy the special lifestyle of Andalusia up close, you should pay a visit to the individual small villages.
Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park
The entire region is characterized by unique natural landscapes. Arcos de la Frontera is located in the heart of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to huge oak forests, the nature park is characterized by ferns and flowers. The large numbers of griffon vultures, otters and kingfishers are characteristic of the region’s fauna. A popular excursion destination is the natural steep slope Peña de Arcos, which was declared a natural monument of Andalusia a few years ago. From here you have a great overview of the entire region.
When you come to Seville, the capital of Andalusia, “Carmen”, “Don Juan” and “Don Quixote” come to mind. Joy of life seems to be at home in the city on the banks of the Guadalquivir. Despite all the wonderful sights, one should not miss to enjoy tapas, the typical Spanish little things – snacks, canapés – with a glass of wine in the countless street cafes, bars and pubs and take life easy.
The city of 700,000 is the fourth largest in Spain. Many cultures and epochs have left their mark here. In 1987 the most important sights, the cathedral, the Giralda Tower, the Alcazar Palace and the Archivo de las Indias as a whole were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The cathedral is the largest Gothic church in the world and the third largest church in the world after St.Peter’s Basilica in Rome and St.Paul’s Cathedral in London. There was a large mosque at this location in the 12th century. The minaret was preserved and became today’s Giralda. The architectural masterpiece is entered through the Puerta del Perdón, the door of forgiveness). In the five-aisled church with side chapels there are, among other things, huge organs and the grave of Christopher Columbus. The cross vault can be seen in mirrors on the floor. The beautiful inner courtyard with the orange trees is also worth seeing.
The Giralda Tower is the symbol of Seville. It was built by Arabs in the 12th century. In the 16th century, a bell tower was added by Christians and completed with a large figure symbolizing peace and serving as a weather vane. The ascent is a little arduous, but the view is terrific.
A visit to the Alcazar Palace is a must. Many styles are united in the palace of many kings. Even if you stay for hours you will always find something new, including beautiful gardens and fountains.
The Archivo de las Indias is a magnificent Renaissance building with large halls in which original documents about the discovery of America, writings of Columbus, his diary, and much more can be viewed.