Córdoba is one of the great cities of Europe. It was, when the Muslim presence in the Peninsula, and it still is. Its historic center, one of the largest in the Old Continent, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The buildings and monuments, both religious and civil, as well as the sculptures, walls, temples, bridges and gardens of this Andalusian city form a perfect route that attracts thousands of tourists each year.
And since we are in the Caliphate city, what can we see in its vicinity. A lot of. These are nine places to visit less than an hour from Córdoba.
Located at the foot of an Arab castle, it perfectly preserves the traditional architecture and structure of Córdoba, with its white houses, its small streets and, in the background, the mountains. The church of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios and the Cueva de los Murcielagos (4 kilometers from the town) stand out. It was already inhabited in the Neolithic and houses cave paintings.
Sheltered by the cirque of mountains of the Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park, it is one of the obligatory stops on the Route of the Caliphate, the European Cultural Itinerary that runs through Andalusian lands from Córdoba to Granada. It brings together different fountains, hermitages, churches, the Barrio de la Villa and the Balcón del Adarve and, of course, its castle, an Arab fortress.
It was the most beautiful city in the West in its time and today it is a setting of luxury and millenary riches just a step away from Córdoba – less than 10 kilometers away. On the slopes of Sierra Morena, in the Guadalquivir valley, Medina Azahara was the icon of the power of the Umayyad caliphate in the West. And it is both what it shows and what it still hides
The ruins discovered in 1911 are only a tenth of the luxury that once existed in Madinat al-Zahra (Shining City). It consisted of a palace, a mosque, barracks and the dwellings of the administration and service personnel. Today Medina Azahara is, with good reason, a World Heritage Site.
Sierra de Hornachuelos Natural Park
Of great interest for its fauna and botanical resources, it is a protected area of Sierra Morena. It combines Mediterranean forest (mainly holm oak and cork oak) and riverside forests in the river courses (willows, ash trees, poplars and alders). The griffon vulture has one of the most important colonies in Andalusia in the Sierra de Hornachuelos, and the black vulture one of the last colonies of this species in Sierra Morena. Hornachuelos, the town that gives the park its name, is worth a visit (its castle below).
This municipality of white houses stands just 40 kilometers from Córdoba, among vineyards, olive trees and centuries of history. Montilla is famous for its wines and oils. That it had a past of splendor is demonstrated by the numerous palaces, churches, hermitages, convents and castles, most of them built between the 16th and 17th centuries.
It is a town that lives up to its name and has a viewpoint with excellent views. It is located at the foot of the Montemayor Castle or Ducal de Frías Castle, built in the 14th century. At the Memories of Wine Interpretation Center we can learn about the history and culture of Montilla-Moriles wines.
Almodóvar del Río
Its charming streets and corners culminate in the building of Arab origin, the Almodóvar Castle, which was built around the year 760. Your visit offers the possibility of seeing the parade ground, the keep, the dungeons, among other things.
Palma del Rio
It accumulates a rich heritage, from the lithic industry of the Paleolithic to the industrial architecture of the 20th century. Palma del Río, are the Roman villas and potteries; it is the vicus of Palma; It is the Arabized Balma with its Almoravid, Almohad and Christian walls; it is the medieval town of hermitages and hospitals; the Renaissance of palaces and convents; the baroque of churches and towers; or the one created between the Guadalquivir and the Genil with dams, norias, ditches, boats and bridges.
It sits on the slopes of a hill, forming an urban set of winding and narrow streets, dotted with traditional houses and stately homes. Around Baena, a landscape of olive trees and cereal. Its monuments include the church of Santa María la Mayor, its Roman remains (in the image) and the old fortress-castle, at the highest point of the city, as well as several access doors to the walled enclosure.