Founded by the Romans, the Andalusian city tucked in southern Spain, emerged into a port city of great importance. Coined the Moorish capital, the city was re-conquered by the Christians who were so awed by its architectural beauty that they left it standing making only additions resulting in an attractive confluence.
Cordoba bursts into life from Mid-April to Mid-June when it stages most of its major festivals. At this time of the year, clear skies and perfect temperatures float across while the city’s gardens and courtyards drip with fresh blooms. September and October are also excellent weather-wise but July and August can sizzle.
While one monument alone is enough to put Cordoba at the top of any tourist’s itinerary, it still remains one of the greatest cities of the medieval world, rivalling Constantinople in the East with its exquisite architecture. Defined by diverse cultures that settled throughout history, it has also been declared a World Heritage Site.
Downtown Boutique Hotel
More a mansion than a hotel, Hospes Palacio del Bailío, a member of Design Hotels™, has equal parts of hacienda and Moorish manor. Its antique backdrop serves as a contrast to its crisp contemporary interiors.
Plenty of the main structure belongs to many different eras. Some rooms open out to patios while others circle the courtyard featuring century old frescos and ancient stone arches.
Out of the 53 rooms that tell their own story; the Don Quixote suite deserves mention. A large oval room with 19th century wall murals depict the tale of Don Quixote. The unfussy reception area and marbled corridors, underground tapas bar, basement spa and outdoor pool all come together to pronounce the hotel as an undisturbed location of leisure and luxury.
The dining room has both summer and winter rooms that stand on a glass floor allowing glimpses of Roman ruins preserved underneath. The Bodyna Spa comes as another surprise as it allows you to indulge in its steaming plunge pools. Located in the basement, these are refurbished Roman baths with a hint of modernity and all history still intact.
It offers a short 15 minute walk to the famous Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba with its magisterial forest of arches.
Reverberation Of Hybrid Prayers
It is impossible to overemphasise the beauty of Cordoba’s great mosque which is not only one of the world’s greatest piece of Islamic architecture but which was structurally speaking, a revolutionary building of its time. It hints with all its lustrous decoration at a refined age that enriched the city with a heady interaction of Islamic and Christian cultures.
Patio de los Naranjos – a lovely courtyard forms the entrance to the Mezquita. A 14th century impressive Mudejar archway leads to the ticket office. Democratically a horizontal and simple space with floors of compact slaked lime and sand, its splendid striped arches made of red brick and white stone rest on 856 columns.
The flat roof decorated with gold and multicoloured flower motifs and inscriptions from the Quran lends the Mihrab a magical glitter. Following the Christian conquest, the Mezquita was used as a cathedral but remained unaltered for nearly three centuries.
Modern Take On Heritage
The restaurant Noor was conceived as a ‘cultural project’which would provide customers with an immersive gastronomic experience. The idea was to create a 10th century ‘medina azhara’ palace banquet, focusing on Arabic heritage through a contemporary lens.
The space features an open-layout combining the kitchen, lounge and seating area. The main lounge features a large wooden embellished medallion in the form of a spiral vortex and handmade luminaries that levitate above. The pick-up counter lacquered in white creates an interior lattice that reflects the existing pattern throughout the room.
The tableware, cutlery and glassware have been designed by local artisans and goldsmiths with materials from the Arab period like leather, ceramic and wood.
Centre In Motion
Distrusting the supposed efficacy and flexibility of a neutral container, the image of the Contemporary Arts Center’s building can be closely linked to a place and far off memory, where every space is shaped individually, to a time which can mould itself and expand in sequences with different dimensions, uses and spatial qualities.
Like a story within a story, the project stands on a repeating geometric pattern, originating in a hexagonal shape containing three differently sized rooms. Walls and slabs of concrete and a network of electrical infrastructures create the possibility of multiple set-ups. Like a combinatorial game these spaces can come together to create a single exhibition area.
Equipped with artists’ workshops and laboratories it also has an assembly room or ‘the black box’ – a stage suitable for theatrical productions, conferences, film screenings and audio-visual exhibitions.
Text By Kanupriya Pachisia