Different rulers, since Roman times, occupied the site of the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. It was built on the old caliphal fortress between 1328 and 1329 by order of Alfonso XI.
The Catholic Monarchs directed from here the campaigns for the conquest of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. They stayed in the fortress for eight years. In this complex, too, Christopher Columbus would request funds for his expedition to America.
Once Granada was conquered and peace was restored, the Catholic Monarchs ceded the Alcázar to the Church. It became the site of the Tribune of the Holy Office.
After the abolition of the Court of the Inquisition, it became a prison until the proclamation of the Second Republic. Thus, from then on, it was used for military purposes.
On the outside, the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos is a quadrangular fortress. It is flanked by four towers, which give it a defensive character.
In the northeast corner is the main tower, the Homage Tower. It has an octagonal floor plan, with arrow slits and battlements.
The Leones Tower is located at the northwest end. This one has a quadrangular floor plan. It is the oldest of the four, and dates back to the 13th century. It is finished off by lion-shaped gargoyles. The reception room and the chapel of San Eustaquio are located inside.
The southwest corner is presided over by the Inquisición Tower. It housed the archives of the Court of Inquisition.
The Paloma Tower occupies the southeast corner. The present tower is a reconstruction of the 20th century, as it was destroyed in the 19th century.
The interior of the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos houses some really fascinating rooms. Among them are: the Mosaic Room, the Hall of Mosaics, the Courtyard of the Women, the Reception Hall, or the Doña Leonor Baths.
The Hall of Mosaics is the core of the building. It was made in the 18th century, and its walls are completely filled with Roman mosaics.
All of them were found in the excavations of the 20th century in the Plaza de la Corredera. The remains of what were probably royal baths in the Muslim era are also preserved under the floor.
The Courtyard of the Moriscos, in the western sector of the Alcazar, is surrounded by porticoes and a wall. On its west side, it is attached to the wall that gives access to the gardens. In its centre there is a fountain and, on either side, two ponds.
The Reception Hall or Ocean Hall is located next to the Mosaic Room. It features a magnificent mosaic dedicated to the god Titan Oceanus, and antique furniture.
In 1328, King Alfonso XI built the Royal Baths of Doña Leonor. The baths are a set of four rooms: dressing room, cold room, warm room and hot room. They follow the pattern of Roman baths, and are named after the king’s mistress, Leonor de Guzman.
The greatest attraction of the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos is its gardens, although they have been extensively restored. The gardens stand in the place of the old Alcázar Orchards. They were supplied with water from the Guadalquivir River, as well as with pipes that brought it from the mountains.
During the 20th century the current Alcázar Gardens were built. It has three terraces on different levels. They have fountains and pools surrounded by palm trees, cypresses, orange and lemon trees.
In the gardens you can also see different statues. It is worth mentioning an ensemble that stages the meeting of the Catholic Monarchs with Christopher Columbus.
Location and ZIP code: C/Caballerizas Reales, s/n. 14014, Córdoba.
Telephone: (+34) 957420151
Bus: Lines 3 and 6.
And if, in addition, you want to plan your visit, here you can check the schedules. We also provide you the price list.
General: 4.50 €. Also guided tours: 15 €.
Seniors 65 and children: free.
Young people: 2.50 €.
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