Along the Rio Guadalquivir is Cordoba. Today, the former caliph’s residence of the Omayyad is a lively city with an historic past. In 152 B.C., the town was founded during the rule of Marcus Claudius Marcellu and it was then that the Roman conquerors named it Cordoba. Later, the town became the capital of the province of Hispania Baetica , the hot southern region of Spain. At the beginning of the 8th century, the town was the headquarters of its recent conquerors, Arabian governors and emirs and even today, the architectural influence of the Moors is visible.
In the 10th century A.D., the town reached the zenith of its prosperity. It is believed that almost a million people once lived in the ‘Mecca of the West’. The Great Mosque, today's La Mezquita, was extended and enlarged during that time. Marble, jaspis and granite columns decorate the beautiful interior of the mosque that contains 800 columns.
The old city of Granada, Sacromonte, extends across three hills. The world famous Alhambra and Albaicin are located in the once densely populated Moorish district with almost 30 mosques. For several centuries, around 60,000 Moors brought the city’s maze of alleys to life but only a few of the historic Islamic buildings and mosques have survived.
Seville is today’s pulsating capital of Andalucia and is still strongly influenced by the brilliant architectural achievements of the Moors. In former times, the Real Alcazar was the residence of the region’s Arabic rulers but most of its buildings were constructed during the reign of Peter The Cruel.
La Casa De Pilatos is one of the most beautiful palatial buildings in Seville. The permanent residence of the Dukes of Medinaceli was built between 1492 and 1520 following a pilgrimage by one of the dukes to the Holy Land. On his return journey, following the same route that the first Marques of Tarifa took through Italy, he brought back several valuable columns and fountains made of carrara marble that today adorn the beautiful exterior and gardens of the residence.
The shoreline of the Guadalquivir River in the land of flamenco is full of life and joie de vivre. The true heart of Spain surely lies in Andalusia, in the hot southern region of the Iberian Peninsula.