Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs

The Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs is a palace and military fortress with Arab origins located in the city of Córdoba, situated on the banks of the Guadalquivir River. Within its walls, one can appreciate the architectural evolution of the city, with traces of Roman, Visigothic, and Arab influences. For centuries, this place was the preferred residence of the different rulers who inhabited the city. Its gardens, statues, and rich history make it a monument well worth visiting. Here you will find all the relevant information about the Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs.

Opening hours of the Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs.

The opening hours of the Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs vary depending on the time of the year. The first period, from September 16th to June 15th, is as follows:

Monday: Closed

Tuesday-Friday: 8:30 AM to 8:45 PM

Saturdays: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Sundays and holidays: 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM

From June 16th to September 15th, the opening hours are as follows:

Monday: Closed

Tuesday-Saturday: 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM

Sundays and holidays: 8:30 AM to 2:00 PM

Please note that the Alcázar is closed on January 1st, January 6th, and December 25th.

Please check the official website or contact the Alcázar for the most accurate and up-to-date information on opening hours, as they are subject to change.

Where is the Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs located?

The Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs is located at Calle Caballerizas Reales s/n, 14004, Córdoba.

History of the Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs.

Since its origins, the Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs played a crucial role as the center of political power. Going back to the Roman era, it served as a customs house and residence for important political figures in Córdoba, known as the Procurator and the Quaestor.

With the arrival of the Visigoths, they occupied the Alcázar and its buildings but made no significant modifications, thus preserving its original essence.

However, with the arrival of the Muslims to Córdoba, the emirs Abderramán I and his successors Alhaken I and Abderramán II carried out extensive works that completely transformed the place. From its gardens and construction of water channels to the establishment of stables, the Alcázar was adapted to fit the Muslim customs and way of life. In the 10th century, during the independent Caliphate in the city, this grand site lost importance due to the creation of “the shining city” Medina Azahara by Abderramán III.

In the following centuries, the Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs suffered from various pillages, yet many elements from that era are still preserved.

When the Christians reclaimed the city, led by Ferdinand III, the Alcázar was divided among the Order of Calatrava, the bishop, and nobles.

Alfonso X, son of Ferdinand III, ordered the reconstruction of certain areas to convert it into a royal residence. Alfonso XI, known as the Justiciar, fortified the Alcázar between 1327 and 1329.

image 3

From 1482, the Catholic Monarchs used the Alcázar as their headquarters, leading to the reconquest of Granada in 1492. Years later, precisely in 1499, they ceased to use it as a residence and offered it to the Inquisition, establishing its new headquarters in Córdoba.

Although a part of its history is less known, for over 300 years it was known as a place of “terrible scenes of cruelty” until the Cortes of Cádiz abolished the Holy Office. After these events, it served as a civil and military prison until 1931.

During the Second Spanish Republic, it was classified as a Historic Monument of the country.

With its rich history, the Alcázar becomes a monument filled with different cultures and historical moments, making it a truly unique place.

Emblematic places of the Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs.

The Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs boasts a wide range of significant locations. From its well-recognized Moorish Courtyard to the gardens of the Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs known for their unparalleled presence. The most emblematic and historically rich ones are:

Moorish Courtyard

Its courtyard is a unique example of Moorish-style architecture, known as “Patio Morisco.” With its passageways, it forms a central cross shape, with a raised central fountain featuring a dome-shaped basin and a water spout. At each end, there are two shallow pools with water overflowing. Its layout allows for up to four garden plots, each slightly lower in elevation than the passageways.

Along its walls and ancient chambers, there is a decorated base adorned with geometric Arabic patterns, using only red, black, and ochre colors. The presence of the coats of arms of León and Castile can also be seen.

image 4

Hall of the Mosaics

To access it, you must enter through the gallery, where you will find the Roman sarcophagus and the bust of Seneca. It is built on top of the baths of Doña Leonor, adjoining the north wall of the Alcázar. It has a rectangular shape, covered by a barrel vault with ribbed arches, adorned with geometric patterns characteristic of the 18th century in Córdoba. One of its most notable features is its Roman mosaics, dating back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries. These mosaics were discovered beneath the Plaza de la Corredera during its renovation. It served as the chapel of the Inquisition, where acts of faith were conducted.

Royal Baths of Doña Leonor

Located beneath the Hall of the Mosaics, the Royal Baths of Doña Leonor were built in the year 1328, commissioned by King Alfonso XI for his beloved Doña Leonor de Guzmán. It was constructed within the premises of the former Islamic Alcazaba. The baths feature a traditional Arabic layout, consisting of a changing room, a cold room with skylights in the shape of eight-pointed stars evenly distributed across the ceiling, a tepid room, and a hot room, which served as the steam and hot baths area.

Towers of the Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs

The towers of the Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs are four in number, surrounding the perimeter along with the walls, adding an even more unique touch to the enclosure.

In the northwest, we find the Tower of the Lions, with an interior room covered by an octagonal ribbed vault.

In the southeast corner, the Tower of the Dove, which was reconstructed with a square plan in the mid-20th century.

In the northeast corner, the Tower of Homage, with an octagonal plan on its ground floor and a hexagonal plan on the upper floor.

And finally, in the southwest corner, we have the Tower of the Inquisition, with a circular base and a polygonal exterior.

image 5

Gardens of the Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs

Their origins date back to the Roman era when Julius Caesar personally planted various flowers and exotic trees, such as the Oriental plane tree.

During the Arab period, the gardens that exist today began to take shape, located in the southern part of the compound. These gardens were created to complete the space intended for the royal harem. Construction is believed to have started in 822 during the reign of Abd ar-Rahman II.

When Abd ar-Rahman III came to power and moved his residence to “the shining city,” better known as Medina Azahara, the gardens were abandoned for over a century.

When the Christian Monarchs arrived, they resumed the care of the gardens, restoring them to their former glory. However, when the queen fell ill, they ordered the Albolafia waterwheel, which supplied water to the gardens from the river, to be stopped. This had a detrimental effect on the health of the plants in the garden.

One notable aspect of the gardens is that Queen Isabella I had a particular fondness for them. She enjoyed strolling through the gardens while reading.

Photos of the Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs in Córdoba.

In this section, you can enjoy the best images of the Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs in Córdoba, allowing you to appreciate its beauty and architecture in a much more visual way.

« of 8 »

Frequently Asked Questions about the Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs:

  1. How big is the Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs?

    The Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs measures 66 meters. In its expansive area of nearly 4000 square meters, it is distributed with a length of 66 meters from North to South and 62 meters from East to West.

  2. How much does the entrance to the Alcázar of Córdoba cost?

    The entrance fee to the Alcázar of Córdoba is as follows:
    Adults: €5.
    Students with valid ID: €2.5.
    Children (0-13 years old): Free.
    Seniors (65 years and above): Free.

  3. Who built the Alcázar of Córdoba?

    After conquering the city, King Ferdinand III of Castile took control of the Andalusian Alcázar. The initial modifications were made by Alfonso X the Wise, and significant construction took place during the reign of Alfonso XI, who began building the current structure in 1327.

  4. What do the statues located in the Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs in Córdoba represent?

    The statues in El Paseo de los Reyes represent the monarchs who contributed to the construction of the Alcázar of Córdoba. These monarchs include Alfonso XI, Henry II, Henry III, and Henry IV. Another highly representative statue is that of the Catholic Monarchs receiving Christopher Columbus.

  5. When was the Alcázar of Córdoba built?

    The Alcázar of Córdoba was built in the year 1328.

  6. How long does it take to visit the Alcázar of Córdoba?

    It takes between 1 and 2 hours to visit the Alcázar of Córdoba, allowing you to enjoy all its most emblematic areas.