Tales of Cordoba – The Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos
From a Palace to a Prison.
The Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, is situated by the Campo de la Verdad, an area of terraced gardens. Some of the gateways to the Jewish quarter are located opposite here too. The part of Cordoba outside of the city walls was called the Ajerquia, with churches in the style of Fernando the seventh like San Pedro, Santiago, La Magdalena, Santa Marina or San Lorenzo. It is a composition of a massive fortress and a royal palace.
In the middle of all this is the plaza de la Corredera, with its powerful baroque air. The columns of the ancient Roman temple dedicated to Diana are situated beside the Town Hall and the church of San Pablo. The archaeological site of the city Medina Azahara is just 8 kilometres from the city and was built by the first Caliph Abd al-Rahman the third as the seat of his new power.
The fortress was constructed by order of King Alfonso XI in 1328 and was the usual residence of the Christian Kings when they stayed in Cordoba. The entire fortress is encircled by massive walls with four towers: Lion’s Tower, River Tower, Homenaje Tower and Vela Tower. The donjon and Leones tower in the main facade are original. The Inquisition tower was added in the 15th century by the Catholic Sovereigns. The Palomas Tower is 20th century reconstruction.
Important undertakings have been planned inside this building such as the discovery of America or the reconquest of Granada. It is where Ferinand and Isabella welcomed Christopher Columbus who shared his plans to find a westbound sea route to India.
There are also very interesting Gothic Tower vaults, the mudejar patio and baths, made under the reign of King Alfonso XI. During the Modern Ages it was the seat of the Inquisition. The Baroque chapel was built in the 17th century.
In the 17th century, it was used as a prison building and in the 20th it was bought by the Town Council. It was then provided with gardens and decorated with Romain mosaics from the Corredera Square and a beautiful IIIth century sarcophagus.
Everywhere in Cordoba is of walking distance and so it was quite easy to find our way as the information centre was quite helpul. The locals are also able to point you to where you want to go too despite speaking more of Spanish. It also helps if you get any English map, brochures or even the English audio guide to fully understand the place you’re visiting.
Where: The Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, C/Caballerizas Reales, 14004 Cordoba, Spain. Call (957 42 01 51).
Opening Hours: 830am – 730pm (Tue-Fri), 930am – 430pm (Sat), 930am – 230pm (Sun). Closed on Mondays.
Admission: Euro 4.00 (adults). Euro 2.00 (students). Free admission on Wednesdays.
About Yafieda Jamil
A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.