CÓRDOBA: The Andalusian city of Córdoba won an Instagram vote by travel publisher Lonely Planet. After Córdoba, the Spanish cities of Toledo and Santiago de Compostela are the most appreciated. The city appears four times on the World Heritage List.
Lonely Planet has run a series of polls on its social media platforms for some time. Recently, a survey for the most beautiful Spanish inland village found Potes in Cantabria a winner. The most beautiful Spanish beach winner was Ses Illetes on Formentera, Balearic Islands.
The voting for most beautiful city in Spain was between fifteen cities, all with at least one entry on the UNESCO World Heritage list. With competition from the following cities, Córdoba can be rightly proud of its first place. The full list was: Álcala de Henares, Ávila, Baeza, Cáceres, Córdoba, Cuenca, Ibiza, Mérida, Salamanca, San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Santiago de Compostela, Segovia, Tarragona, Toledo and Úbeda.
Lonely Planet received 52,000 responses with Córdoba a clear winner. The site called it “a stunning and historically rich city that transports the visitor from medieval Spain to modern Andalucian culture.”
Córdoba, city with the oldest culture in Europe
Córdoba is one of the oldest cities in Europe and has been a beacon since the first millenium when, according to the travel guide, the rest of the cultural world was in darkness. Córdoba’s special city wall, churches, stately houses, and the world-famous and special Mezquita contribute to its beauty. A unique mosque, the Mezquita houses a Catholic cathedral inside. In 1984, the Mezquita of Córdoba was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The building traces almost the entire Spanish history through its architecture. From Moorish to the Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance building styles from the Christian period after the Reconquista. More than 473,000 people visited the Mezquita in 2020, an historic low and 77% lower than the year before. In 2019, 2,079,160 people visited this special mosque.
La Fiesta de los Patios
In 1994, the historic center of Córdoba was also listed as a World Heritage Site. 2012 saw the annual competition for the most beautifully flower-decorated patio – the Fiesta de los Patios – introduced to the Intangible World Heritage List. Depending on the pandemic’s course, this event will take place from 3 to 16 May, 2021.
Last but not least, in 2018, Madinat al-Zahra, the walled Arab ‘shining city’, made its way on to the World Heritage List. Built by order of the powerful ruler of Al-Andalus, Abd-al Rahman III, it is the largest archaeological structure in Spain, with a walled area of 113 hectares. Rahman III introduced the first caliphate of Córdaba, which lasted for five hundred years.