The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba
Discover the legacy of al-Andalus as we explore the evocative architecture of Córdoba and Granada
Highlights include the Great Mosque of Córdoba and Granada’s famous Alhambra and Generalife – all UNESCO World Heritage sites
Learn about the wider heritage and context of this beautiful part of Spain
"Steve is an excellent tour expert"
- ACE customer on a previous tour with Steve Mastin
When Tariq, governor of Tangier, crossed the Straits of Gibraltar with his Berber army in 711 and swept through Hispania, one of Europe’s great civilisations was born and prospered for more than seven centuries: Islamic Spain.
Our journey begins in Córdoba, where we will survey the archaeological museum, built over the remains of the Roman theatre. At the heart of Córdoba’s Islamic inheritance lies one of Europe’s greatest buildings: the Mezquita, the Great Mosque, with its forest of columns under double-tiered arches, a superb mihrab and series of domes. It was transformed into a cathedral during the 13th century.
We will learn about the golden age of al-Andalus when the Great Mosque was built in Córdoba. This was also the time when the huge fortified palace city of Madinat al-Zahra was founded on the hills outside Córdoba. Building began in 940, at the behest of Abd ar-Rahman III. We will spend a morning surveying this site, which has been under excavation and restoration for over 100 years.
Other highlights of our time in Córdoba will include a walking tour by the Guadalquivir River, and a visit to the Alcázar with its Moorish-design gardens, containing cypresses, orange and lemon trees and water features.
Our tour then progresses to Granada, custodian of Spain’s most romantic Moorish monuments: not only the famed Alhambra of the Nasrid Sultans but also the adjoining Generalife with its evocative gardens.
A visit to the Renaissance cathedral and royal chapel in Granada, where we will see the tombs of Ferdinand and Isabella, forms the finale of our tour. Built by Queen Isabella after the conquest of Granada, the cathedral is located on the former site of the ancient mosque.
Our tour concludes with a visit to the medieval town of Antequera, where we will take in dolmens (megalithic burial mounds).
In Córdoba our base will be the four-star Hotel NH Collection Amistad and in Granada we will stay at the four-star Hotel Barceló Carmen.
This tour will be led by Steve Mastin, MA, PGCE, FHA, who studied history and classics before working as a school teacher for 17 years, leading trips to Spain, Italy, France and Germany. He has also worked overseas training history teachers in Singapore, Australia and Kazakhstan. A committed advocate of the power of storytelling, Steve is passionate about bringing a life-long love of history to students of all ages. He is a Fellow of the Historical Association and is a regular speaker at history conferences both in the UK and overseas.
Tour Director Steve Mastin writes:
“In 1526, the Emperor Charles V, upon seeing the new cathedral of Córdoba, towering in the middle of the old mosque, turned to the archbishop. Charles remarked, ‘You have destroyed what was unique in the world’. Today, it is still impossible not to be moved by Córdoba. The lands of Moorish Spain are one of those places on Earth that are never forgotten.”
Included: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, six breakfasts, one lunch, five dinners with wine, water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.
Not Included: travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £545.