Córdoba is a city in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, and the capital of the province of Córdoba. It was an important Roman city and a major Islamic center in the Middle Ages. It’s best known for La Mezquita, an immense mosque dating from 784 A.D., featuring a columned prayer hall and older Byzantine mosaics. After it became a Catholic church in 1236, a Renaissance-style nave was added in the 17th century.
Córdoba (/ˈkɔːrdəbə/, Spanish: [ˈkoɾðoβa]), also called Cordova (/ˈkɔːrdəvə/) in English, is a city in Andalusia, southern Spain, and the capital of the province of Córdoba. It was a Roman settlement, taken over by the Visigoths, and then colonised by Muslim armies in the eighth century. It became the capital of a Muslim emirate, and then of the Caliphate of Córdoba, which encompassed most of the Iberian Peninsula. During this period, it became a centre of education and learning, and by the 10th century had grown to possibly the largest city in Europe. It was recaptured by Christian forces in 1236, during the Reconquista.
Today, Córdoba is still home to many notable pieces of Moorish architecture such as the Mezquita, which was named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, and is currently in use as a Cathedral. The UNESCO status has since been expanded to encompass the whole historic centre of Córdoba. Much of this architecture, such as the Alcázar and the Roman bridge has been reworked or reconstructed by the city’s successive inhabitants.
Córdoba has the highest summer temperatures in Spain and Europe, with average high temperatures around 37 °C (99 °F) in July and August.
Prehistory, antiquity and Roman foundation of the city
The first traces of human presence in the area are remains of a Neanderthal Man, dating to c. 42,000 to 35,000 BC. Pre-urban settlements around the mouth of the Guadalquivir river are known to have existed from the 8th century BC. The population gradually learned copper and silver metallurgy. The first historical mention of a settlement dates to the Carthaginian expansion across the Guadalquivir, when general Hamilcar Barca renamed it Kartuba, from Kart-Juba, meaning “the City of Juba“, a Numidian commander who had died in a battle nearby. Córdoba was conquered by the Romans in 206 BC and named as Corduba.
In 169 Roman consul M. Claudius Marcellus, grandson of Marcus Claudius Marcellus, who had governed both Further and Hither Spain (Hispania Ulterior and Hispania Citerior, respectively), founded a Latin colony alongside the pre-existing Iberian settlement. Between 143 and 141 BC the town was besieged by Viriatus. A Roman forum is known to have existed in the city in 113 BC. The famous Cordoba Treasure, with mixed local and Roman artistic traditions, was buried in the city at this time; it is now in the British Museum.
It became a colonia with the title Patricia, between 46 and 45 BC. It was sacked by Caesar in 45 due to its Pompeian allegiance, and settled with veterans by Augustus. It became capital of Baetica and had a colonial and provincial forum and many temples. It was the chief center of Roman intellectual life in Hispania Ulterior (Further Spain). Its republican poets were succeeded by Seneca and Lucan.
At the time of Julius Caesar, Córdoba was the capital of the Roman province of Hispania Baetica. The great Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger, his father, the orator Seneca the Elder, and his nephew, the poet Lucan came from Roman Cordoba.
In the late Roman period, its bishop Hosius (Ossius) was the dominant figure of the western Church throughout the earlier 4th cent. Later, it occupied an important place in the Provincia Hispaniae of the Byzantine Empire (552–572) and under the Visigoths, who conquered it in the late 6th century.
Córdoba has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa). It has one of the highest summer average daily temperatures in Europe (with highs averaging 36.9 °C (98 °F) in July) and days with temperatures over 40 °C (104 °F) are common in the summer months. August’s 24-hour average of 28.0 °C (82 °F) is also among one of the highest in Europe, despite relatively cool nightly temperatures.
Winters are mild, yet cooler than other low lying cities in southern Spain due to its interior location, wedged between the Sierra Morena and the Penibaetic System. Precipitation is concentrated in the coldest months; this is due to the Atlantic coastal influence. Precipitation is generated by storms from the west that occur most frequently from December to February. This Atlantic characteristic then gives way to a hot summer with significant drought more typical of Mediterranean climates. Annual rain surpasses 600 mm (24 in), although it is recognized to vary from year to year.
The registered maximum temperature at the Córdoba Airport, located at 6 kilometres (4 miles) from the city, was 46.9 °C (116.4 °F) on 13 July 2017. The lowest registered temperature was −8.2 °C (17.2 °F), on 28 January 2005.