Cordoba is a pleasant 80 minute drive from our gay vacation lodgings, almost entirely on new motorway, through a land covered with olive groves.
You will see literally millions of olive trees along the route - an incredible sight.
Cordoba was first settled in Roman times, but it became the biggest city in western Europe under the influence of the Islamic invaders in the 10th century.
Cordoba is probably most famous for its Mezquita, with is forest of stone columns, supporting the red and white arches. This amazing building was built and extended over a 200 year period from 785 AD to 960 AD, with a later Catholic cathedral built right in the centre of the existing structure in the 16th century!
But there is much more to Cordoba than just the Mezquita! There's the stunning Roman bridge over the Guadalquivir river; the maze of streets in the Jewish and Muslim quarters, with their occasionally glimpsed courtyard gardens; and the expansive plazas surrounded by restaurants and bars. The Archaeological Museum of Cordoba is well worth a visit, as are the decadent Arabic Baths (Hammams).
Outside the city, 8km west, are the ruins of the Medina Azahara. This was built to be the new capital city of Al-Andalus starting in 936 AD, and in just 9 years the city was ready to be occupied. At its height, it stretched 1500m by 700m, but its heyday was shortlived, when it was wrecked by invading Berber soldier less than 100 years later. Today it is estimated that less than one tenth of the ruins have been excavated, but these ruins contain one of the earliest known mosques built. The Salon de Abd ar-Rahman III has been painstakingly restored to its former lavish glory, and contains stunningly intricate geometric designs and calligraphy carved into every available wall space.