Notes on the Geography of Spain: The City of Cordoba: Photo 1
Al-Makkari, who shortly after 1600 compiled a history of Andalucia, set out to describe "Cordova,--the seat of a mighty empire which subdued all its enemies." He describes "its [once] blessed mosque, built by the Beni Umeyyah, filled with all sorts of rarities, and ornamented with dazzling magnificence... " Two hundred years later, however, in the 1830s, Richard Ford visited Cordoba and shook his head in disbelief. Cordoba, he wrote, "contained in the tenth century nearly a million inhabitants, 300 mosques, 900 baths, and 600 inns. It withered under the Spaniard; and is now a dirty, benighted, ill-provided, decaying place...." For visitors, he continued, "a day will suffice for everything..."
It's not that bad now, not by a long shot. Fifteen miles from the city: pines, oak, and chaparral cover the Sierra de Cordoba, foothills of the Sierra Morena. Cordoba lies downhill, in the valley of the Guadalquivir, just south of these hills.
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