A View of Spanish History At The Alcazar in Córdoba, Spain

Spanish History At The Alcazar in Córdoba, Spain.jpg

A View Of Spanish History at the Alcazar in Córdoba Spain

The first day of our stay in Cordoba gave us a view of Spanish history at the Alcazar in Córdoba. Our NH Collection Amistad Hotel was located in the heart of the old town of Córdoba. Most of the sights we wanted to see were a short walk away. So this meant we moved at our own pace most days.

We left the hotel by the back door and walked outside of the walls of the old city. Along the walls we saw more examples of the colourful flowers that adorned the balconies in southern Spain. A statue of Córdoba A Averroes kept watch over the gate. In places we found decorative stone work on the sidewalks.

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Statue Cordoba A Averroe.jpg

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It was easy to see when we arrived at the Alcazar. As we walked through a shaded plaza, the castle walls stood high above us.

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This was a great spot to learn more about Spanish history at the Alcazar in Córdoba.

A Little History of the Alcazar in Córdoba

The Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos was a castle with beautiful gardens and a moorish bathhouse. It served as one of the primary residences of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. We found statues to these rulers in the gardens.

The Alcazar buildings illustrated the history of this part of Spain. The building started out as a Muslim Alcazar before it was an Episcopal Palace. It was reformed in the Baroque period and was recently reconditioned and housed the Diocesan Museum. This mix of architectural styles and decoration were evident as we walked the property. We learned more about Spanish history at the Alcazar in Córdoba.

We visited a number of Moorish Alcazars in Spain. Our first experience with Alhambra in Granada set a very high bar for our expectation of Moorish architecture. The Alcazar in Seville provided much more varied designs and added colour to design. The remaining Moorish portions of the Alcazar in Córdoba were quite small in comparison to the others we saw.

The Alcazar was free Thursday evening (after 1800); however, adult admission was only a small amount. We walked through the gate and were greeted by a statue to Alfonso X el Sabio.


Alfonso X el Sabio Statue at Entrance - Spanish History at the Alcazar in Córdoba Spain.jpg

Wandering Through The Alcazar Gardens

It was very hot in Córdoba. Even though we arrived at the Alcazar in the mid-morning, we headed first for the gardens. We left the cooler palace interior for last.

The gardens were typically Moorish in design with ponds, fountains and aromatic plants. At the top of the stairs over the garden, it was easy to see that the gardens were massive (about 55.000 square metres). Fountains lay in the centre of long beds of flowers.

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Flowers and trees were in bloom in the gardens. The ever-present orange trees still bore fruit. At the back of the gardens there were topiary displays and trellises.

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Gardens And Fountains.jpg

Statues were arranged artfully around the garden. There was a large statue that showed King Ferdinand II, Queen Isabella and Christopher Columbus. A tour guide stated that we stood on the space where these 3 once chatted.

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Garden Statues Isabelle Fernando Columbus.jpg

As we walked back to tour the rest of the Alcazar, we saw the stone walls highlighted by the gardens. The gardens were a great place to see the mix of Spanish history at the Alcazar in Córdoba!

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The Outer Courtyard

Leaving the gardens we entered the outer courtyard. This was also a garden with fountains and what were once outdoor baths. These provided fine examples of Moorish architecture.

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Around the outside were porticos that still had what looked like original Moorish roofs. The nooks and crannies we explored were closed off but occasionally we found something interesting.

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Architecture Porticos.jpg

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The Moorish period of the courtyard area was a part of Spanish history at the Alcazar in Córdoba.

Climbing To The Top of the Lion Tower

We left the inside exhibits to the last and started up the Lion Tower. The first set of stairs were steep but wide. At this level we went outside. Across the stone upper walkway we saw the Homage Tower or Keep. We went back down and walked along the battlements. When we looked back, we saw the Lion Tower where we first stood.

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Lion Tower View.jpg

The stairs up the Homage Tower were a narrow spiral with steep risers. People waited and went up or down one at a time. Once we reached the top level, there were even more stairs to the very top terrace. Of course we did that too. This top terrace was once the place where public executions were carried out.

Great Panoramic Views From Above The Alcazar in Córdoba

The views were definitely worth the climb. We got a real sense of the Spanish history at the Alcazar in Córdoba from this great panoramic view. The brick and tile roofs were below us. We saw out over the inner courtyard to the circular Tower of the Inquisition. And the gardens spread out below us.

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There was a great view over to the Mosque-Cathedral we visited on the next day. Beyond that we saw the Guadalquivir River and the old Roman Bridge we explored in old town Cordoba.

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We also got a view of the Equestrian Centre. Horses and riders practiced on the field. We enjoyed this typical Andalusian horse show on our evening out in Córdoba!

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The view from above gave us a different perspective on the Spanish history at the Alcazar in Córdoba!

Heading Into the Alcazar

There was an interesting array of things in the first exhibition area inside that reflected the history in the Alcazar.

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Cordoba History - Spanish History at the Alcazar in Córdoba Spain.jpg

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The next large room which was the former chapel of the Inquisitions. We saw a series of mosaics on the walls. The Roman mosaic art from the 2nd and 3rd century AD ranged from typical geometric patterns to portraits, including a head of medusa!

Chapel And Mosaics Room - Spanish History at the Alcazar in Córdoba Spain.jpg

Chapel And Mosaics Room.jpg

Chapel And Mosaics Room - Spanish History at the Alcazar in Córdoba Spain.jpg

Chapel And Mosaics Room.jpg

From the window we looked out into an inner courtyard. There was a vast amount of excavation still needed at this site.


Get A View Of Spanish History at the Alcazar in Córdoba

The Alcazar in Córdoba was a great thing to see on our stay in Córdoba. The gardens were a green oasis with calming fountains and the smell of blooming flowers. We certainly got a view of Spanish history at the Alcazar in Córdoba. Moorish design elements showed in the gardens, courtyards and baths. As we toured the castle, we saw a mix of historical periods.

We climbed the towers to the very top and were rewarded with great panoramic views of the Alcazar and the surrounding area in Córdoba. We saw the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba standing high. The horses and riders in the Equestrian Centre practiced for the show that night. When we left the Alcazar a costumed rider and horse beckoned people to get tickets for the horse show. We were sure we were not the only people that got tickets for the horse show that night.

Did you get a good view of Spanish history at the Alcazar in Córdoba?

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  1. Wow, I’m loving all the photos of Alcazar garden! I have yet to visit Spain but I’ve heard lovely things about Cordoba. So cool that you had the chance to see & feel the history of such a place.

  2. I’ve been planning a visit to Granada forever – but after having read this post and seen these amazing pix, I’m immediately adding Cordoba to my list. The Alcazar looks just amazing – I need to visit in person.

  3. Amazing and beautiful pictures of Alcazar Gardens. I have only visited Barcelona so far in Spain, but it’s a beautiful country and I hope to get back to Europe once travel opens up again.

  4. The Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba certainly sounds like a unique place. The old city always has so much character. Just the stories fascinate me. And this one is so well maintained, green too.

  5. I had only a day in Cordoba and missed visiting Alcazar. But the garden looks so beautiful! I would love to go back to Cordoba and explore these gems!

  6. Alcazar in Cordoba looks such a beautiful place. I always love to visit places that tells a lot about history and culture. Alcazar fits the bill in this case. It was good to get a glimpse of the Spanish history from your article. Architecture of a building tells a lot about its past.
    The Alcazar garden looks quite beautiful and I would have loved to know more about the Spanish history while wandering around the place! The panoramic view of the region is also just gorgeous.

  7. I love Cordoba, its great architecture and history. This is one of my favorite cities in Andalusia. the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba is my favorite building there. The columns inside are so impressive. Old Roman Bridge is so romantic. A great guide to Cordoba.

  8. Love these photos, I feel as though I am virtually visiting Cordoba myself. I’m a fan of the ancient artwork and overall historic feel of this place. I’d love to stop by here this summer when I go to Spain for a wedding!

    • I hope you do get to visit Cordoba when you are in Spain. But I will warn you that summer is brutally hot. Great to find gardens at the Alcazar to take a relaxing break.

  9. I’ve only been to Spain once when I walked the Camiño de Santiago, so I only saw that part of the country, before going to Madrid where I spent one night. I would have loved to spend more time exploring other parts if I had the chance. Cordoba sounds like an amazing place to visit. I especially love the view from above.

  10. I have not visited Spain till date but I would love to go there someday and explore around. I will definitely add Cordoba as I love learning a lot about history of a place. And I definitely want to learn the Spanish history.

    • This was our first visit to Cordoba but won’t be the last. There was so much to see and do. A great spot to explore the Moorish history of the Andalusian area of Spain.

  11. Another great post, Linda – I also visited the Alhambra before the Alcazar in Cordoba and agree that it is probably a bit hard on Cordoba haha… how cool the excavation is not completed yet, love the Roman mosaics, and who doesn’t love the Spanish Inquisition. (The latter is dark but very fascinating to me.)

  12. Wow Cordoba is just lovely, the architecture and landscaped gardens look so charming. I definitely need to head back to this part of spain and see it properly

  13. What attracts my attraction most is the garden! I love the whole architectural design that is meant to last a lifetime. This can’t compare to the modern architectures around. All the small details of the designs are well thought.

  14. Love the Architecture of Alcazar and the history of the place. The gardens look so much like our various gardens in Kashmir in India. Spain had impressed us during our last visit and look forward to going back sometime certainly.

  15. I have visited the Alcazar in Seville and so it was great to read an in-depth post on what the one in Cordoba was like in comparison. I loved looking at the photos, so vibrant they just shout out Spain. I have Cordoba on my list of places in Spain to visit in the future.

    • We visited the Alcazar in Seville before we headed to Cordoba (post coming). So that was definitely a draw for us to explore when we got to Cordoba. Such a beautiful part of Spain.

  16. Exploring Alcazar sounds like quite an adventure! I particularly like the Moorish architecture and layout of the gardens and the fountains in between, reminded me of the Sancoussi palace in Berlin! The view from the Lion tower must have been amazing, I also like the gallery section, particularly the Medusa head. Would have been interesting to connect the dots in Spanish history through Alcazar, Cordoba! Pinned it for future 🙂

  17. A fascinating history and beautiful architecture. I love the Moorish influence. The gardens are spectacular too. Hope I get to visit one day, but I think I will copy you and leave the cool interior for the heat of the afternoon. I’m not good in heat!

  18. This was a very fascinating read. The Alcazar in Cordoba seems to be literally a living museum of history. The beautiful palace and the gardens seem to speak the intriguing stories from history through their silence. Your pictures and words bring the place alive. The exhibition area and the Lion Tower are places we would be specifically interested in.

  19. Wow! The Alcazar Gardens is huge and beautiful and I love how they were able to maintain it. We would love to visit in the future. This place is rich in history. Thank you for sharing your experience and for giving us a glimpse of what we can expect from Alcazar.

  20. Wow! I love history and this in depth guide to Alcazar in Cordoba has secured a place on my visit list to Spain. Absolutely love the beautiful garden, the water features and those walls. The archaeological site interesting and I look forward to “examining” it – if visitors are allowed. I have pinned this article so I can refer to it later.

    • I hope you get to visit Seville and see the Alacazar. Such a fascinating spot to explore. Not sure how much more excavation has been done since we were there. Covid may or many not have given them the time.

  21. The post brought back so many memories of our visit there especially how we got the tickets for the last slot of the day. Everything section, garden, buildings, towers were so beautiful. One of the best tourist destinations I have visited.

  22. This really makes me want to go back to Spain. It’s been so long and I only visited as a kid in some of the touristy resorts. The history here is incredible and the architecture really beautiful.

  23. I recently watched the TV series about Isabella I of Castile’s daughter Catherine, so this was such an interesting read for me. The show’s depiction of the premises resembles it pretty accurately too. I didn’t realize this was open to the public and now it is on my list of places to visit. The views from atop are gorgeous too 🙂

    • I hope you do get to visit the Alcazar. It was indeed fascinating from a history perspective. And it will be interesting to see what further excavations bring.

  24. Wow! This place looks amazing. I’ve never been to Cordoba but am keen to get back & explore Spain more in the future so after reading this I will definitely add it to my list, especially the Alcazar. I feel that my travels may remain more local in the near future so when this includes Europe, Spain will be high on my list.

  25. I’m loving the garden with all the greenery that shaped meticulously and also those colorful flowers. It is really beautiful! The history of Alcazar in Cordoba is also interesting; started out as a Muslim followed by Episcopal Palace, then reformed in the Baroque period and now a Diocesan Museum. And you still can see traces of Moorish there.

    • The variety in the architecture was so fascinating to see side by side. An amazing site to wander. It will be fascinating to see what is uncovered in future excavations.

  26. I am so glad I read this. We skipped the Alcazar and spent time at the Alhambra instead. I thought it would be the same. I agree there is more color but is that because of the season?

    • We were so glad we saw the Alcazar in Cordoba. We were intrigued with the amount of colour but were not really sure why. I suspect there was a great mix of influences in Cordoba over the years and many occupants of this place.

  27. We visited the Alcazar of Cordoba on our recent trip to Andalucia in January. I can see from your pictures (and I already thought so, when visiting) that spring or summer is a much better time. While there were some flowers and oranges in the garden,it looked a bit bleak. So it was good to see, how pretty it is in summer.

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