The Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos is one of the most popular attractions in Cordoba, and it is easy to understand why. Commissioned by King Alfonso XI in the 1320s, this historic structure served as the headquarters of the Spanish Inquisition for some 300 years. It was also a major seat for Ferdinand and Isabella, and past visitors include one Christopher Columbus. The famous explorer first came to the Alcazar of Cordoba in an attempt to secure funds for his voyages of discovery. Later on, it was at the same Alcazar that Ferdinand and Isabella who bade farewell to Columbus as he prepared for his journey to the New World.
As is true of so many other Spanish fortresses, the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos sits on a site that was formerly occupied by a Moorish palace. Little remains of this palace, though there are some intriguing Moorish courtyards to examine. Interestingly enough, the Alcazar of Cordoba also boasts mosaics from Roman times, and they too hint at the site's rich history.
The Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos is a wonderful site to explore for various different reasons. When the two main towers are open to visitors, for example, it is possible to admire their wonderful interior designs and savor some scintillating views of the city. Among the things that can be spotted from the top of the Tower of the Lions in specific is Cordoba's Puente Romano. This bridge is a major highlight when it comes to the Roman ruins of Cordoba.
Other things that help to make a visit to the Alcazar of Cordoba so rewarding are the site's splendid gardens and the beautiful Court of the Moors. The gardens are Arabic in origin, and this means plenty of water features, including pools and fountains. As for the Court of the Moors, it is a lovely patio with pools, a fascinating grotto, and an inscription of the Leon and Castile coats of arms.
You can find the Alcazar of Cordoba on the banks of the Guadalquivir River and close to the also renowned Mezquita. Visiting is among the most popular things to do in Cordoba, and for those who are planning on dropping by, the hours vary according to season. In general, the historic structure opens at around 10 a.m. and closes at around 2 p.m. for siesta. On all days but Sunday, it then re-opens at around 5:30 p.m. and stays open until around 10 p.m. The gardens are illuminated from 10 p.m. until midnight during the July to September period.