The province of Cordoba takes up the central northern part of Andalucia and is bordered by the provinces of Malaga, Sevilla, Jaen and Granada. The capital city of the province is also called Cordoba. Cordoba has a population of approximately 800,000 with nearly half living in the capital city itself people.
The weather is hot in the Summer reaching 40C plus and mild in winter as is the rest of the area.
The province is split into several different regions, these being,
The lies in the north west corner of the province. This area is largely unexplored by foreign tourists and has wonderful countryside and is home to a huge range of wildlife. In the centre of the region are the Punte Nuevo and Sierra Bovera reservoirs.
The main towns and villages of the area are Penarroya Pueblo Nuevo which was originally a coal mining town but is now in a state of decay as it was abandoned by a French mining town. The population is around 13,000 but it is not a very attractive town and a layer of soot covers a lot of the abandoned buildings and relics from a time when industry was thriving.
Belmez is another old mining village which again has suffered since being depleted. It has a population of around 4000. Its main attraction is its Moorish Castle which was built on the summit of a dramatic rocky pinnacle and can be reached by a set of steps that have been cut out from the rock face thus making it practically vertical but the views from the top are panoramic.
Espiel clings dramatically to the side of a mountain and has some of the best climbing crabs. The village itself is surrounded by vineyards and to the south of the town is the Puento Nuevo reservoir which is 15km long. The village has approximately 2,500 inhabitants.
Villaviciosa de Córdoba which is a fairly isolated village with 4,000 inhabitants and is surrounded by countryside and vineyards.
Villaharta is set in lovely countryside with hunting being a popular pastime. It has approximately 600 inhabitants
Obejo is an isolated village reached by winding and twisting mountain roads and has a population of approximately 700. There are breathtaking views and many outdoor pursuits and activies including a nearby golf course. San Benito is the Patron Saint of the Village and te Baile del Patatu (the dance of Patatu) takes place where a sword dance takes place. A mass is held for San Benito inside the church and after the locals dress as swordsmen in bright red waistbands and white shirts and stage a mock battle in the street in time to the music. The climax is when the dancers pretend to chop the head off the master of ceremonies.
Fuente Obejuna is a small town of 6000 inhabitants. In the 15th century the villagers stormed the Palace of a localy tyrannical Lord throwing him out of the window and killing him with lances and swords. His body was then dragged into the main square where the men and women of the village cut it into pieces. Afterwards the inhabitants took responsisbility for the death so no individuals were singled out as murderers. This led to a popular saying “Fuenteovejuna lo hizo” mean Fuenteovejuna did it.
The province of Cordoba is split in two by the River Guadalquivir (which runs westwards towards Sevilla) and this is where the capital city of Cordoba is located. The inner city is on one side and the Campo de la Verdad home to monuments such as the Tower of La Calahorra, Cordoba’s squares, red brick Corredera, Capuchinos with its Cristo de los Faroles, Renaissance Square of the Potro with a fountain and buildings housing the Fine Arts Museum and the Museum of Julio Romero de Torres being just a few.
The river has a large Roman bridge running over the river joining the two sides and it is said the bridge which took 50 years to build, was only finished because the townsfolk sold their jewellery to raise capital. It was believed to have been constructed by the Roman Emperor Augustus and consists of 16 arches. It has undergone many changes over the centuries and suffered many rebellions and battles. Half way over the bridge is a statue of Saint Raphael dating from 1,651. Towns have grown up around the crossings points and the city is now a bustling place with a huge selection of shopping, bars, restaurants and places of historical interest to visit.
In the 11th century Cordoba was one of the most important capitals in Europe. People of different cultures and religions - Jews, Muslims and Christians - were living peacefully together, and important philosophers, scientists and artists emerged from the city.
This city was the capital of the Spanish Muslim dynasty of the Ummayads (756-1031). The Great Mosque of Cordoba – La Mezquita was founded in 785CE. It was added to and expanded over the next 200 years to make it the third largest structure in the Islamic world. The prayer hall which is 23,400 sq m is filled with almost 500 slender columns and superimposed striped archest. Previously the site was a Christian church dedicated to Saint Vincent that had been built by the Visigoths around 500CE and before that when Cordoba was a provincial capital in the Roman Empire the site was occupied by a temple dedicated to Janus, the double-headed god of doorways and gates.
La Campina lies to the south of the Capital and is largely countryside consisting of olive groves, vineyards and rolling hills with dozens of pretty villages scattered around. The world famous Montilla wine is produced in this region. The area is steeped in history, remnants of which can be seen everywhere.
This area covers the northern tip of the province and has many small towns and villages scattered around. The name Los Pedroches comes from the word “Piedra” which means stone. It borders the provinces of Badajoz in Extremadura and Ciudad Real in Castilla La Mancha and Jaen and is one of the least known areas of Andalucia.
Sierra de Cardena-Montoro Natural Park is situated here and stands in the Sierra Morena which is a 41,212 hectare natural extensión of the Los Pedroches Valley. This park has a wealth of natural resources and the River Yequas flows through the deep ravines across the eastern slopes forming a natural border with the neighbouring Sierra de Andujar Natural Park. Altitudes range between 180 and 828 metres. The climate is dry and humid with high summer temperatures and mild winter ones and is the rainiest area in the province of Cordoba. The area is home to a large range of animals including deer, stag, wildboard, lynx, several varieties of wolk (the latter two under threat of extinction), the wild cat, mongood, genet, common kestrel, long-tailed lizard etc. Birds of prey such as the imperial eagle, the golden eagle, kite, goshawk, sparrowhawk and the black and tawny vultures to name but a few. The river banks are home to the otter, black bird, kingfisher, striped-necked terrapin to name just a few.
This area consists of hills and countryside and lies in the south east of the province. La Sabbetica covers an area of 159,190 hectars and has a population of approximately 117,000 inhabitants.
The National Park was granted official status as a protected Nature Park in 1988 by the regional Government, the Junta de Andalucia and covers over 31,000 hectares. The main towns of the area are Cabra, Carcabuey, Dona Mencia, Iznajar, Luque, Priego de Cordoba, Rute and Zuheros. The most characteristic feature of this semi-mountainous area is the beautiful shaping of the limestone rock. The steep slopes and rigged crags of the Sierras (hill ranges) look down onto beautiful narrow green valleys.
A few years ago an enormous picturesque reservoir was created at Iznajar and in the Summer when the water drops beautiful sandy beaches emerge with stone seats and bbq’s. The beaches run for miles and miles and more than match the beaches on the Mediterranean coastline but with far fewer people.
The Park is home to a wide variety of animal species including the Wild Cat, Common Fox, Boar, European Hedgehog and the Cabrera Shrew. Bird life includes the Golden Eagle, Griffon, Vulture, Short toed Eagle, Peregrine Falcon (which is the park’s emblem), several species of owl including the Eagle Owl, Common Kestrel, the Black Wheatear, Hoopoe, Cuckoo, Partridges, Rock Bunting and Common and Alpine Swift as well as an assortment of butterflies.
Apart from the city itself this is probably the most popular area of the province for tourists as it is steeped in historic and artistic heritage and archaeological sites.
Most of the area is given to the cultivation of olives and production of olive oil. Andalucia is the largest olive-producing region in Spain and Spain is the largest olive producing country in the world.
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