Cordoba must be visited at all costs, you have to experience it intensely. Cordoba is one of the main cities of Andalusia, I also wrote about Seville in the article “Seville: what to see in two days”
Now that the AVE line has been built, it can be reached in no time. Furthermore, a Spain Pass has been set up for tourists, so it is very cheap to get there.
With the post “What to see in Cordoba” I showed you the attractions that you can’t miss by any means.
Now I would like instead to tell you about the curiosities that paper guides do not say and that you can only discover if you are lucky enough to be able to tour the city with a local guide who tells you everything about the city. The guide conveys their pride and is ready to answer all your questions. I would like to thank Ana for her patience all day long and she has fulfilled all my curiosity.
Facts about Cordoba
I will give you an overview of news to discover Cordoba, listing them without any specific order. These are peculiarities that concern the city and when you may find yourself walking around, you will remember these small tips that I am going to give you.
Moreover, I would like to remind you that Cordoba is only one of the beautiful Andalusian cities that you can visit nearby. If you have more time, why not spend more days for an itinerary in the South of Spain?!
1 – Best time to visit Cordoba
The first important fact I would like to share with you is the best time to visit Cordoba.
May is definitely the best month for several reasons, including the heat, which is bearable in this month. The second reason is that in Cordoba (in 2015 it was from the 4th to the 17th) the Festival de Los Patios, the festival of interior gardens, is held. Basically, the houses that want to participate decorate their courtyards with as many flowers as possible and participate in this competition. Among other things, they leave the possibility of visiting their courtyards to strangers. They are very characteristic, that’s why I recommend a guided tour of the best Patios of the city, you will see some really characteristic corners.
At the end of the festival the best courtyard will be rewarded with a plaque to put on the house. According to Ana it is a very nice period because not only the courtyards are festive, the whole city reflects this wonderful custom and becomes a triumph of flowers, scents and colors. You can find more info HERE.
2 – Beware of gypsies with rosemary
Be vigilant near the Cathedral. Even in Seville you’ll see this bad habit.
What am I talking about? Near the cathedrals you will see gypsies offering you a sprig of rosemary. You, unsuspecting, might think it is something related to the place you are visiting. Actually, it’s a trick. If you accept the rosemary, these ladies will ask you for a huge sum of money and if you refuse to do so, they will start screaming for attention and call for the police. So, watch out: don’t accept anything and keep on your way. This anecdote was told to us by the guide, fortunately I was not a victim of it. Be careful, though.
Are you visiting the cathedral, you could be interested in this article -> Visiting the Mezquita of Cordoba
3 – The head of the statue in Plaza de Las Tendillas
If you will visit Plaza de Las Tendillas, in English “Square of the Small Shops”, you will find two very interesting things. In the centre is the statue of Gonzalo Fernandez of Cordoba and it is said that the head does not belong to the captain in question but is that of the bullfighter Rafael Molina.
The second interesting fact is that the bells ringing the chimes have been replaced by the sound of guitars. Stop in the Plaza de Las Tendillas at the change of the hour and you will hear a particular sound.
4 – Cordoba oranges trees
Cordoba is filled with patios with orange trees, which are also present in many main streets. Why is that? Well, a city with 45 degrees in summer needs some shade. So they wanted to kill two birds with one stone. Orange trees decorate the streets, perfume the city especially during the flowering phase, and finally create the shade that is vital for the citizens of Cordoba. There’s another unique feature. Look at the picture.
The orange trees that you find around the city are bitter. Do not try to take an orange tree to eat it because you will find a bad surprise. How can you tell if it’s bitter or not? Look at the leaves, if they have a double leaf at the base it means they are bitter. Now don’t go around Cordoba looking at all the leaves of all the trees: almost all of them are bitter.
5 – High and low season in Cordoba
Another fact: it is somewhat paradoxical but due to the extreme heat. July and August are considered low season months. The guide told us that hotels in May can cost more than 100 euros, while in this period (because of the heat) the price can be lower as much as 30/40 euros. A nice drop.
6 – Heat as an enemy to defeat
The heat influences completely the lives of the inhabitants of Cordoba and the whole of Andalusia, ((I’ve experienced the heat of August in Seville and I can assure you) so much so that since ancient times they have been trying to find expedients. And so what they did… they built the city with very narrow and winding streets in such a way that the houses always provided shade to the streets all day long.
I must say that they did it great because for all the hours that I walked inside the old part of the city I didn’t see even a single ray of sunshine. Not only that! you will see that in the larger streets, always for the same reason, they installed white covers to provide artificial shade.
7 – Hidden churches of Cordoba
Throughout Cordoba it is said that there are 14 churches and smaller churches. Some are clearly visible, others have been “absorbed” by the growing city.
8 – The name of the river has not always been Guadalquivir
As you know, the Guadalquivir flows alongside the city, but the name of this river has not always been the same. Actually its name was Betis. I don’t know if you are a football fan, but the fact is that I finally understood the name behind Real Betis. By the way, the river was navigable all the way to Cordoba.
9 – Great wines of Cordoba
As for food and wine: the Andalusian city of Cordoba boasts a great tradition of white wines. The alcohol content of these wines is very high, ranging from 15 to 21 degrees. Visiting Cordoba and not trying its wines is nonsense.
Try this tour -> discovering the tapas and wine tradition of the city
Among others, the idea behind the matching between wine and food is that the wine is chosen not according to the type of dish but according to the cooking method used. By the way, also on the culinary aspect there is a good-natured rivalry between Cordoba and Seville, actually it exists between all the Andalusian cities and Seville. The latter is accused of “taking” all the typical Andalusian things.
10 – Touch the feet of the statue of Maimonides
In the Jewish quarter it is good luck if you touch the feet of Moses Maimonides. It’s a sort of “Juliet’s breast in Spanish style”. The real curiosity? Sometimes they change Moses’ shoes.