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Description
The city of Cordoba is set in the geographical center of the province and is washed by the Guadalquivir River, which splits the town and the province in two: to the north closely knit mountain ranges are plentiful in game; to the south there spreads a fruitful country, the Campiсa, speckled with white villages and trimmed by another stretch of mountains belonging to the Southern Betica mountain range.

Cordoba, the capital, has 300,000 inhabitants, almost half of the population in the province. The average yearly temperature is 17.5 єC. It also stands out among the many Spanish cities attracting tourists, undoubtedly because of its marvelous historical legacy and monumental heritage.

Founded around 169 B.C. by the Roman praetor Claudius Marcelus, it was the birthplace of the philosopher Seneca and the poet Lucan, among others. It was during the period of Islamic dominance when Cordoba reached its peak. Caliphal Cordoba became the most cultivated and magnificent city in 10th century Europe: it had around 1,000 mosques and 600 public baths, lighting in the streets (700 years earlier than London or Paris) and was the home of a numerous group of wise men, poets, doctors, philosophers, and mystics, some of whom achieved universal status such as the philosopher Averroes and the Jewish doctor Maimonides. Thanks to translations made by the Arabs, classical culture was rediscovered and made available to the West.

Equally important is the legacy accumulated in the city after the Christian conquest: churches, convents, hospitals, palaces, and many stately houses shelter the Islamic jewel of Cordoba, its mosque, which makes it one of the great monumental cities in Europe. UNESCO recently declared the old quarter and the mosque - World Heritage sites.

Among the museums in Cordoba worth a visit, is the little art museum of the painter Julio Romero de Torres, which is located in his home.

For those interested in Jewish history, the unique charm of the city lies beyond the Almodovar Gate, in the Moorish wall that surrounded medieval Cordoba. Not far from the Gate, which was the entrance to the Jewish Quarter, is a small courtyard dominated by a statue of Moses Maimonides (mentioned above), one of the greatest Jewish literary figures of all time and son of Cordoba. In the narrow streets, you can find silver-smiths, working as they did centuries ago. Of the several synagogues that once existed in this city, the only one remaining is from the 14th century; it is also the sole survivor in all of Andalucia. Built by Isaac Moheb ben Efraim, the Mudejar synagogue displays arcades embellished with Hebrew quotes from the Book of Psalms and profuse plaster-work with detailed floral and geometrical designs.

Outside of Cordoba are the ruins of Madinat al-Zahra (Medina Azahara) which is a restored palatine city, that we highly recommend one visit, which will give the visitor an idea of just how splendid the city once was.
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