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De dónde proviene esa extraña letra que tan popular se ha hecho en el tercer milenio. Pues es una curiosa historia que nace en Córdoba, bueno, precisemos, en el Califato de Córdoba. El término «arroba» proviene del árabe الربع (ar-rubʿ), que significa ‘la cuarta parte’. y se utilizaba en la España del siglo IX para representar la unidad de masa llamada arroba, que equivale a 25 libras, una cuarta parte de un quintal. Unos 11,5 kilos.

Hubo una vez un alcalde en Córdoba que gobernó 15 meses y cambió para siempre la ciudad. Domingo Badía y Leblich (Barcelona, 1 de abril de 1767 - Damasco, 1818) fue un aventurero de la talla de Richard Francis Burton, con una vida ciertamente de película. Fue un militar, espía, arabista y aventurero español, conocido también como Alí Bey o Alí Bey el-Abbassi.

It is definitely a date for celebrations! A few days ago the good news arrived: the Minaret of Saint Juan will be restored. And I shall take the opportunity to go through the minarets that as of today remain in the city. Despite what one might think, there are not that many Arab buildings in Córdoba.

When entering the main hall of the State Tretyakov Gallery the first thing you might see will be an enormous painting of the famous and unique Christ of the Lanterns of Córdoba. And that well deserves a brief investigation on how and why the Capuchins’ square has such an importance  in this Russian Museum.

Despite the popular refrain “haberlas haylas” (it would mean that when talking about something of which proof of existence is not available if that something’ range is incommensurable enough one must assume that the lack of evidence should not necessarily imply that it does not exist or happen; for instance: one might say that, due to the wide variety in chairs, a pineapple-shaped chair could exist even though we have no knowledge of it), it is very hard for me to acknowledge any truth in the fantasies, legends and other stories regarding witchery and sorcery.

Flamenco, that profound and rich Art declared one of the masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, has a complex and not so clear origin, even for those well-versed in the matter. Its genesis comes with a great many hypothesis, myths and false beliefs. That is, in my opinion, what makes it so interesting to study today: Flamenco still has a lot of secrets.

Cartier-Bresson (of whom we have already talked about in this blog) and Robert Capa were not the only souls to have taken pictures in Córdoba. The Austrian photographer Inge Morath also visited the city around the second half of the XXth century; not many pictures from this trip have seen the light, but the few that did cannot go unmentioned here.

When Diego de Velázquez dies in August of 1660, the Córdoba painter Juan de Alfaro is nothing but a teenager, a young man of 17 that had managed to become Velázquez apprentice. However this odd Córdoba character, perhaps dazzled by the greatness of his master, in a short period of time, ended up being something more than just a disciple.

Many are the Spanish dishes that have traveled the world: “paella”, “tortilla de patatas”, “fabada”, “cachopo”, “ensaladilla rusa”, “croquetas”, “cocido”, “gazpacho”… however none of those delicious dishes have orbited the Earth, with the single exception of our beloved “salmorejo”.

José Ortiz Echagüe (1886–1980) is the great “amateur” Spanish photographer of the XXth century. In 1935 the “American Photography” magazine considered him as one of the top three photographers in the world, he was however a difficult profile to classify. He was a military engineer that in 1923 founded C.A.S.A. (Construcciones Aeronáuticas S.A. or Aeronautic Constructions S.A.), and later, in 1950, he developed one of the first Spanish factories of automobiles, SEAT, which he would run until 1976.

Carlos Villarías was an actor from Córdoba that left a golden mark in Hollywood right when the first sound films were being introduced. He played the leading role of a Spanish version of Dracula at the height of his career. He played the same role of Bela Lugosi in the English version.

It is not all that clear how the connection between the city of Córdoba and San Rafael begun, but I will do my best to explain it. First of all, many believe that San Rafael is the patron Saint of Córdoba: it means a festive day, the city is filled with sculptures and other representations of this Saint and of course Rafael is the most popular name for boys in the city; that would easily lead anyone to believe so. San Rafael, at many levels, acts as a true patron Saint but is not.

Wind is a a plot between Sun and the Earth’s rotation. Wind is a creator god right from the very beginnings of man kind. Wind carries seeds and life, shapes mountains and creates dunes and waves. Neither rain nor fresh water would exist without the doings of wind, that is to say there is no human life without the continuous action of the wind. Wind creates, there lies its divinity. But once a god also a demon and wind carries destruction in the form of hurricanes or tornadoes, and that is the other true face of life and creation.

Buenos Aires underground or metro (the “subte”, short for “subterráneo” which literary means underground,  for its residents,) was and still is more of an Argentinian ceramic museum. There are murals in every station, and not only ceramic, sculptures, paintings, stained glass, mosaics, etc., too. For instance, D line was long ago declared an Historical National Monument for its murals. And they come in all shapes and themes. There are murals dedicated to Mafalda, Gardel, Maradonna and even Messi.

We have already talked about Pedro de Córdoba and his panel the Annunciation, now exhibited in the Mezquita. In that same article Bartolomé Bermejo was briefly mentioned. He was a painter that worked mainly for the Crown of Aragón in Valencia and Zaragoza. Such was his talent that he even got to be of the main figure of the so called Catroccento in Aragon.

The erotic drama filmed in 1978 starts off with the main character in the famous Potro square copying the paintings of Julio Romero de Torres. The guitar of Manolo Sanlúcar plays flawlessly in the background. The plot of the movie is above all set in the narrows streets of the Jewish quarter and the outsides of a Cortijo at slope of the Sierra Morena mountains.

The poet Muhammad Iqbal in the Mezquita’s Mihrab in 1933.

Muhammad Iqbal (1877, Punjab – 1938, Lahore) is better know fir being the national poet of Pakistan. Iqbal received an excellent education in Europe and India, under the British rule: the British Raj. He graduated from the University of Cambridge and got a Philosophy doctorate from the University of Munich, and then work as a lecturer.

It is not mere chance that the Potro square is our most precious square and the biggest one is “La Corredera” or that “El Caballo Rojo” (The Red Horse) is the most famous restaurant of the city or that the road that connects the city to Cerro Muriano is called “the Horse road”. Saying Pure Spanish Horse and Andalusian Horse is denoting the same thing. The Andalusian Horse, or should we say the Córdoba Horse (on account of its origin), after centuries of care and meticulous breeding would earn the title of Pure Spanish Horse.

For a long time, in order to research the past, going to libraries was an unavoidable necessity. Finding old pictures of a city constituted an almost archaeological task, one even had to ransack every known antiquarian and flea market. However, and fortunately, it all belongs now to the past, thanks to the Internet and especially the social networks.

Perhaps it had to do with the fact that both Spain and Russia were the only two Nations capable of facing Napoleon at the peak of his power and defeat him –fighting two fronts at the same time might have also helped–; in any case it seems quite a coincidence that, during the XIXth century, Russian culture would develop such an interest for a relatively small, unknown and far away Nation: Spain.

Out of all the Ferdinand churches of Córdoba, although all of them are very interesting, there is one in particular that you should not miss: the church of San Pablo. This one is by far the biggest of them all, there are even some people that state that such a size is due to the original intention to turn the church into the Cathedral of Córdoba.

What lead, in 1905, grand personalities such as Augusto Rodin, Zuloaga, Pío Baroja o Darío de Regoyos to visit Córdoba, back then a decaying and forgotten city? Perhaps they were invited by Inurria the sculptor; or maybe they were looking for the inspiration needed for new books and paintings. It had nothing to do with the previous motives.

Tourism is as old as cities –or at least most cities–. Greeks, for example, went on pleasure trips to attend the Games in the city of Olimpia. And Romans were very fond of baths and would travel long distances in order to enjoy them.

I’d like to take this opportunity, now that the world cup trophy is in Russia, to talk about the soviet painters that visited Córdoba. There is little romanticism about it, they were painters coming from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the 60’s and 70’s of the past century and, back then, not just anybody could go out of the country, much less artists, all-time suspects to the strict eye of the Soviet regime.

How come beer is served in big pint or half pint glasses north of the Pyrenees and here in Spain we pull it in little glasses called cañas? Germans and Englishmen, most Europeans in general, are usually shocked the first time they see the minimalistic size of the glasses here; and then they usually ask for the biggest glass in the bar, and that is their mistake. They have forgotten the first rule when traveling and that is: “wherever you go, do what you see.” It is not that we drink less beer –although it could very well be– it is simply that we drink it in smaller glasses.

Here once again in Málaga, I’m staying in an apartment at Ferrándiz street, a long street that grows directly from the Victoria square, right from the same spot where Amargura (Bitter) street starts off, and leads directly to the square of Christ of the Epidemics (What a country!).

Let’s start by saying that Sigurd Curman was the great mind behind the restoration of Swedish monuments, similar to what Viollet-le-Duc did in France –he was the man who restored Notre Dame and the Gothic jewel of Sainte-Chappelle in Paris–; or Ruskin in England with his numerous publications on restoration; Aloís Riegl in Vienna, Camilo Boito in Italy or Velázquez Bosco in Spain. 

“You want fame, but fame costs and right here is where you start paying, with sweat.” Such where the opening words of that mighty TV show from the 80’s Fame. And that is also how this great adventure started, back in 2005. This month of May Hotel Viento10 has entered Trip Advisor’s Hall of Fame after winning the Certificate of Excellence five times in a row. This certificate is only awarded to those hotels that receive the most positive reviews and to those that year after year provide an excellent traveler experience.

It is not the oldest in the country but the Córdoba Fair is old nonetheless. It was a privilege  awarded by king Sancho IV in 1322, and it gave the city permission to hold two annual fairs: “the first one on White Sunday or Pentecost (the 21st of May) and a second one the 8th of September where, traditionally, farmers and nearby villagers gather to buy and sell cattle and goods from all over the country so that they can fulfill their contracts.”

The Córdoba mutiny of the Bread occurred in May of 1652, it is normally explained by black plague outbreaks and the outrageous price of the basic goods during those harsh years. This version of the facts, coined by Ramírez de Arellano, is widely accepted; it is even considered as one of the first popular riots in Europe of its kind echoing throughout the continent influencing, in some ways, the French revolution and the recent May 1968 events.

Even though this video became trending topic when the Córdoba film production company “12 frames” released it to the public, the truth is that it barely reached 15,000 views during this long period of time. Therefore it is very likely that you haven’t seen the video yet.

Trevor Haddon might possibly be the last romantic traveler to draw the city of Córdoba. There is but a few lines on this British artist in the Wikipedia (there is nothing as far as Spanish goes):

The festivities of May in Córdoba come to an end with the Fair of la Salud (Our Lady of Health) and the announcing poster is very important, a true tradition. These posters have evolved in design, adjusting throughout time to the particular fashion of every period of history, as well as in format. The first ones –as of today genuine gems for collectors– were made in a big format that would easily reached 2 meters in height, following in the footsteps of bullfighting posters, with which they had to compete, and were usually made in lithographs. Those are specially valuable for collectors as they are of great beauty.

You’ve successfully studied our language and, quite satisfied, you go out to practice and show what you’ve learned to the world. However, to your surprise, in the city you are in, you hardly understand half of what you hear. Take a deep breath, you’ve got to understand it is not your fault, every city in Spain has its own slang and accent. As far as Córdoba goes, it may not be as rich but it sure is used heavily. Now, I’ve written a short story using as much Córdoba slang as possible so in the near future you can identify the local tongue and be able to get by in any given conversation.

To History and popular knowledge the conquest of Muslim Córdoba is marked by the great feat of the Colodro Gate. Now disappeared, the gate was part of the wall of the Northern Axerquía, where a group of almogavars –of Saracen origin, they were light infantry shock troops heavily involved during the Reconquista– climbed and stormed the city for the first time. This is all true but it doesn’t end there, the story of the assault is a bit longer than that. It lasted all night and at dawn the militia from Martos (Jaen) managed to storm Puerta del Sol (the Sun Gate) –from that point forward known as Puerta de Martos (Martos Gate), also disappeared– and entered the city through our dear Viento street; back then it led to that famous gate.

Jan Banning, the dutch photographer, is known worldwide by his series of pictures of workers and his excellent portraits. One of his most famous series, “RED UTOPIA”, portraits offices of the communist party all over the world; a propaganda search of the remains of communism, 100 years past the Russian Revolution.

This past Friday of Sorrows while Javier (BUREAU DELLAFLEUR) was working on Viento10’s floral arrangements for the Holy Week, a conversation came up between Gerardo and him about the color of the flowers.

Nowadays Córdoba is quite an active city. Shows and cultural events are daily programmed throughout the many flourishing spaces the city has to that end. We have gathered here the most relevant sites in the web, so you are at all times informed about what is happening in the city.

If there is a remarkable image of Córdoba in the XIXth century that would be the aerial sight of the city made and then published by Alfred Gesdon in 1853. We were lucky to have been one of the chosen cities for his beautiful stamp catalog.

This forgotten Córdoba artist constituted the key to the renaissance of Talavera ceramic in the beginning of the XXth century. He founded the School of Ceramic of Madrid, directed it and taught there. He is responsible for one of the capital’s distinguishing features: its commercial tiles.

Well, you’ve made it inside and have taken a picture of the forest of columns, now you are ready to begin with the Mezquita. Soon enough, with a quick Google search, you will discover that your picture grows in the Internet by the thousands and, worse, many will be very similar, you might even doubt the authenticity of your own effort. It is, however, something you simply must do to kill the itch. Don’t be shy! Take as many pictures as you want, though you ought to know that they won’t be the best photos you can take of the Mezquita.

Up until now, as noted by José María Báez in “Images and visions of Córdoba” (2012), there were only two known paintings of Regoyos during his stay, alongside with Pío Baroja, in Córdoba. However, it seems there was an other painting. I found out about it by mere chance while surfing the net. Regoyos is considered the best paintor of the 98 generation, also one the most famous Spanish impresionists.

The progressive lost of sight Borges’s father had took the family to an European pilgrimage. They first went to Geneva, where his illness would be treated, and stayed there throughout the Great War. The family will later establish in Mallorca and from there the inseparable Borges brothers went on to live in Seville for almost a year. While in Seville, Norah Borges and his brother Jorge Luis, engage actively in the Ultraist movement. It was then that his first works started to be published by magazines such as Grecia, Ultra y Reflector. In August of 1919, they would visit Córdoba. Their agenda included a rendezvous with the famous Córdoba painter Julio Romero de Torres.

The first time I saw the hydraulic artifact of the Olive tree Fountain I could not believe my eyes, I even had to look for the gardener working in the Patio de los Naranjos:
-Excuse sir!, when did they installed this artifact here?. To which he answered:
-You certainly do not come often around here. This artifact has been here since the XIXth century.

I had to laugh while he insisted: yes sir, since the XIXth century. I visit the Patio de los Naranjos very often since I was only a child and never had I seen such a thing. However, to my embarrassment, the sly gardener was right. In deed that artifact was from the XIXth century. And even though what we now see in the fountain is a contemporary replica, the original, despite broken down and rusted, rests displayed inside the Mezquita.

There is very little industrial heritage in Córdoba for two reasons: Córdoba was never an industrial city, it never had much activity besides some agricultural factories. The second reason has to do with the location. The industrial areas needed to be close to city but could not be inside the city walls. Plus, since the winds in Córdoba blow generally from the West, to avoid fumes and pollution in the rest of the city, factories were placed only in the North and East (Ollerías Avenue and Ronda del Marrubial).Two chimneys are the Córdoba’s sole survivors, they outlived progress and city expansion throughout the XXth century. The most popular is known as the Chimeneón, or simply big Chimney, a vague memory of the olive oil industrial complex that Aceites Carbonell had next to the Malmuerta Tower.

The first issue we face when looking up restaurants on-line in Córdoba would be choosing the right Córdoba in the world. For instance, Córdoba, Argentina, has five times the population of our city, so it is likely that its presence on-line would be at least five times bigger. However, you can narrow the search by simply writing “Mezquita” right next to “Córdoba”; Andalucía, Moriles, Salmorejo… will also do.

It is curioues how the only catholic Queen born in Córdoba went down in History as the “Discreet Queen” and she came in to this world during “the Fair of the Discreet”, that is also the title of a Pío Baroja’s novel set in Córdoba –an author profoundly acquainted with the nature and intimacies of the city. A strange coincidence that links the city to a certain quality: “Discretion”.

Columns are not mere things standing straight. They are keystone to every building, they have always been valuable and demanded objects. History is full with testimonies that tell us how they were precious presents among kings, and ambassadors would carry them in their ships when sailing too far away lands as gifts.

Córdoba has been awarded a World Heritage Site in three occasions by the UNESCO, and not only because of the Mezquita. Its rich heritage remains mostly unseen, it would be a tremendous effort to bring it all out to meet the eye. Not even ourselves, born and raised in this city, know half of what lies beyond many walls and doors. The monumental Plaza de la Compañía (the Square of the Society) is one of those cases. Despite its grand nature and its great location, right in the commercial sector of the city, it is barely visited by tourists due to the fact that its doors are firmly closed every weekend. What you see is what it will be for you.

There is no knowing for sure if ever the arcs of the north facade of the Mezquita were open to the Patio de los Naranjos. It was Ambrosio de Morales the first to note the issue around the XVIth century. Although, later, the Arab chronicles of the building confirmed it. The truth is that the mere thought of it comes with a poetic and monumental vision. For a long time there has been many who have tried to keep the left spans of the Mezquita from holding new chapels, so they could be cleared away towards the Patio de los Naranjos.

This is the only picture taken in Córdoba by the best photographer of the XXth century:  Henri Cartier-Bresson, L’oeil du siècle.

Vu Magazine sent Cartier to cover the Spanish elections of 1933. However, once in Spain, the photographer noticed social phenomena beyond politics that needed to be seen and captured by the camera: poverty, prostitution, abandoned buildings, abandoned human beings sleeping in public places just like those he captured in France, Italy, Mexico and the USA. 

Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, known as “Le Corbusier”, architect, theoretician, designer and crucial artist of the XXth century, also felt compelled by the Mezquita, by its structure and clear spaces. We could even speculate, on account of the signs he left us, that the Mezquita would have strongly influenced the way he thought of architecture. Le Corbusier visited Spain in several occasions. First in 1928, invited by the Students Residence in Madrid to give two conferences: “Architecture, Furniture and Works of Art” and “A House-a Palace”. He did not travel further south that time. It was not until 1930, during a tour of the Mediterranean coast along with Fernand Léger (the painter) his brother Albert and his cousin (and also partner at the time) Pierre Jeanneret, that he got to know Andalusia.

I know that the philosopher’s stone is only a myth built on human greed, but, nonetheless, for centuries it was said and believed that this legendary alchemical substance would turn any given metal, such as lead, into gold. It was also believed to be an elixir that would grant eternal life and youth. For many centuries it was also the most ambitioned end to most alchemists. The philosopher’s stone symbolizes perfection to its purest form, the spiritual enlightenment and divine happiness. Those efforts to discover the philosopher’s stone were known as Opus magnum (“Great work”)

Everything in Viento10 is pure sensuality. We capture the world with our five senses (well… perhaps six), they mean the tools with which we build sensations, we tell beauty from ugliness, hot from cold, soft from hard...

We design your stay with each one of the five senses in mind and we take care of every little detail. It is not easy to keep up with this city of patios and flowers.

It is not a surrealist manifesto, it is only a photograph and probably one of my biggest headaches. I had a good time though, and I learned plenty about my city. It was taken by the famous photographer J. Laurent, a Frenchman that settled in Spain around 1855 to whom we owe the photographic feature of the entire peninsula before the XXth century. The caption in the photo says it is “The Door to the Mihrab or the Mosque Sanctuary”. The photo is kept safe in the archives of the Ministry of Culture. It must be the Mihrab of the Mezquita!

The XVth century brought changes to Fine Arts and particularly to Painting. Gothic Art, its forms of representation (sculpture, glass and tesseras), was showing signs of depletion. That and the availability of new techniques such as oil painting or perspective were already giving notice that Painting will become the main form of representation up until the “recent” development of  photography.

Albert Kahn (1860- 1940), besides a banker of Jewish background, was a philanthropist and a cultural promoter. In 1898, at the age of 38, he decided to start “The Archives of the Planet”, a universal project thought to be a dream that he made it come true. He spent a big part of his fortune filming and documenting the World. He paid for the latest and best equipment so the professionals traveling the Planet could record its landscapes, its monuments and its people. Within this photographic and cinematographic atlas of the World, there are 76 pictures of Córdoba taken in 1914.

Now that we so desperately need to review and strengthen the idea of Spain, I search the words of the minds of our past, new old reasons that will help me understand this dreadful and immoral political context. It is a strange country, Spain.

This search took me through numerous authors, and I didn’t know what it was I was looking for until I run into one of Azorín’s books. Inside I found a beautiful description of Córdoba that soothed me. Azorin’s words build a clean and brief image of the city, a delicate, almost frail, touch containing the right amount of color and meaning. I walked the city inside my heart. It is a circle, every word is where it needs to be and not a comma is unneeded.

This first edition of FLORA brought 8 international floral artists that transformed the Festival’s chosen patios into 8 unrecognizable stunning spaces. Located in some of the most representative buildings of Córdoba, this works have resulted in a delightful little tour through memory, art and heritage. These ephemeral floral installations will be open to the general public from the 20th to the 29th of October.

I am almost certain that at least one of you have heard of Gabi Delgado, well, that is if you are my age and have partied the night like my generation has. In my mind still echoes that little big pub in the old Jewish hood, “Varsovia” was the name back in the 80’s: cutting edge stuff.

Gabi Delgado was born in Córdoba in 1958, right in Manríquez street, or so the king said in a recent interview. He spent his childhood here but in 1966, he parted alongside his family to Germany (just like many other families did then). It is there, however, that his musical career starts; with time he would become one of the most influential musician in Germany.

The Mezquita is the finest patrimony the city of Córdoba has. It is important for many reasons: it is the oldest building still in use in Spain; it shows the fusion of great civilizations that were able to cohabit in harmony at the time; it is a symbol to the Islamic world; and it also represents an architectonic reference that even nowadays leaves architects from all over the world in awe.

The circular bench made with the famous ceramic from Talavera that today slowly decays forgotten in the Agriculture Gardens (Los Patos), acted, back in 1925, as the limit enclosing the local Seneca public library. The library was but a small hexagonal hall containing little more than 2000 books that remained open until 1963. Then the library was demolished on account of prostitution being held in the premises at night. The circular bench is the only reminiscence of it, now rotting away because of idle institutions. 

Despite the original building (1979) was to be located in the mountains near Córdoba (you can look it up above; the MOMA keeps the project plans safe), it was finally build 40 kilometers from Seville in 2004, in La Roda (between the regions of Burguillos, Guillen and El Ronquillo). 

Summer fades away, temperatures decrease and a gentle breeze cools the punished earth of Córdoba, and this will last until Christmas. Summers are very hard to endure, in exchange –you can call it justice– the remaining seasons treat us kindly and we can finally walk the streets at any hour. This Fall, just like any other Fall in Córdoba, opens with poetry: the Cosmopoética Festival. 

What is it that fascinate us so much about M.C. Escher? His impossible paintings and surreal mosaics seem to lack a expire date. There are a millions replicas of his drawings circulating the web, especially those reflecting his tours around Córdoba and Granada. Maurits Cornelis Escher, better known as M.C. Escher, traveled to Spain for the first time in 1926 and visited the Alhambra of Granada. He took many notes during his stay there and made sketches of  its famous mosaics. 

José de la Vega, whose real name was Joseph Penso de la Vega Pasariño, was a Jewish merchant and writer. He was born in Espejo (Córdoba) around 1650, probably, into a Jewish  family from Portugal or Galicia. One of many new Christians families that converted in Spain. He successfully engaged in trade and finances, though, he was also a fine author. 

The biography of our most distinguished and universal writer, Miguel de Cervantes, gets eaten away by the mist of time. There are but a few true and verified facts about the life of the great author. Countless scholars and investigators have been trying desperately to disentangle the puzzled enigma of his life in order to build an honest portrait of Don Miguel. For instance, although it is not certain, many believe him to have been born in Córdoba.

 

For us, natives, it is hard to believe there are people willing to visit the city in July and August. I feel for them. They decided summer time was the best time to come and explore Córdoba. And I guess it is all right, vacations cannot always take place whenever we would like them to be. Besides, visitors will eventually leave, and that makes it less of a tragedy. Nevertheless, since we do have to endure this hellish temperatures year after year, we have learned valuable little tricks to go through summer unharmed. Here is a basic guide to enjoy a tour in Córdoba: the Summer laws. 

“A diverse group of about fifteen or twenty people seated any way we can on improvised benches of all sorts or even on the floor of the “Plaza del Potro”, enjoying a cool, calm and  warm mood after a long satisfying, yet tiring, day's work. Most of them are young boys and girls from every corner of the world that have come to Córdoba with the sole purpose of taking the intensive guitar course that we are organizing in the “Posada del Potro”. There are also people from Córdoba, some friends and family of mine and neighbors from nearby streets that have joined us, attracted by the music and, maybe, the never-ending wine from the cellar of my dear friend Enrique Santos.”

We dealt recently with Ronald Kitaj and his chiquita piconera, today we shall talk about another great British Pop character: David Hockney. He too made his peculiar grand tour around the romantic Andalucía. It was in spring of 2004 when he visited the three Andalusian architectural  treasures: Córdoba, Granada and Seville. 

Romanticism (flourishing at end of the XVIII century and beginning of the XIX century) would wake up the interest of many artist for the far and exotic lands, Andalucía would be among those unexplored and raw places. Cities like Córdoba would serve as inspiration for artists. In exchange for that the cities gained a portrait, living memories quite helpful when investigating our past. 

The fact that the outdoor cinema (or summer cinema) in Córdoba had not stopped showing movies since its foundation in the twenties of this past century, creates an unique environment for cinema in the city. It is an old summery tradition with deep roots in its citizens. Back in the fifties, for example, more than fifty cinemas of this kind cohabited in Córdoba.

Solitude, that despicable flaw with which the new Contemporary Art Center of Córdoba was born, seems to have sentenced it–temporarily, I hope– to suffer the Sacunda curse (the curse harvesting and separating life and death in the city for more than a thousand years). However, far from harming the works of Pepe Espaliú, this solitude comes to strengthen them with some sort of a sound presence that multiplies the emotions of its viewing.

Wikipedia states that Antoine Alexandre Henri Poinsinet was born in Fontainblue the 17th of November of 1735 and drowned in the Guadalquivir, in Córdoba, the 7th of June of 1769. The French playwright and librettist of the great Philidor –to whom Wikipedia dedicates more space trying to make sense of his odd character than to his work– would be the lead character in this curious story that happened very close to Hotel Viento10.

Ronald Kitaj may not be as popular as his close friend David Hockney, and yet he is the one who introduced the School of London to the world by that same name. The school of London gathered pop British painters such as Allen Jones, Boshier, Caufield, Peter Phillips, etc.

The “errand Jew”, as he often spoke of himself, born in Ohio, although later would take on the British citizenship, first heard of Spain to his mother who befriended the brigadiers that fought in the Republican side during the Civil War. He visited Sant Feliu de Guíxols (Costa Brava) in 1957, it was then that his relationship with the Spanish culture begun and it would last 20 years. 

Let's go to the Fair

The Fair of Nuestra Señora de la Salud of Córdoba takes place during the last week of May (from the 20 to the 27 of May). It is the highpoint of a month (May) full of celebrations that ends with a color explosion along the banks of the Guadalquivir river. Although far enough not to cause any discomfort to the hotel, it is, however, close for anyone to walk there and enjoy a lively time.

What do they have in common: the word Córdoba and cordovan, cordon and cordonnier (shoemaker in french). Well all of them derive from the name CÓRDOBA. Just imagine the prestige and relevance that leathers from Córdoba reached during the Middle Ages all over the known world. 

Grids and Balconies contest.

In a way the popularity of the Córdoba May Patio Festival has outshone a very important part of this popular contest. Along with the Patio Festival is also held the Popular Contest of Córdoba's Grids and Balconies. 

Walks are a perfect match for the city of Córdoba, they constitute a vital part of the city's soul, part of its character too. No wonder Córdoba remains among the 150 cities where this famous walk takes place. Jane's Walk act as an initiative after Jane Jacobs, a re-known activist that rethought how life quality in the cities was measured.

Just like watching the Chinese feeding on grasshoppers some may be disgusted by the mere sound of it: snails in their own sauce. However it is among the most popular traditions in Córdoba, believe or not “caracoles en su salsa” is a pure delicacy. An ancient tradition, there is no such thing as an Andalucía without snails. Farmers grew them in the fallow lands, they throw pieces of rubble or big simple tiles on the ground and snails place their home underneath them. There they are left to thrive until Spring comes and the insides of these tiles and rubble are revealed, then snails are harvested. In the southern parts of Spain it is quite normal to find them safely glued to the shade of prickly pears. 

Cordoba has more than 500 hectares of green zones and 82.000 trees distributed throughout the city. These astonishing figures come from the 44th National Conference of Public Parks and Gardens that is taking place these days in Córdoba. Within this vast number of trees there are unique ones in the city that, just like the Synagogue or La Mezquita, are worth a visit.

When promenading in Córdoba look not only what is in front of or above you. The floors are a distinguishing mark of the city. I am referring to the popular and historic pavement of its streets, squares and patios. There are three kinds of historical floors that have their root deep into Córdoba's beginnings.  

Under the category of “Iglesias Fernandinas” fall  all the churches that Fernando III commanded to be built in Córdoba after the city was finally captured from the Muslims in 1236. The buildings are in-between Romanesque and Gothic architecture: a must for anyone that enjoys art and history. The churches are of a strong appearance, almost fortresses. Many are build in the same place of prior mosques using the same elements for the new construction.

Friends, even though the Chinese wish to emulate our “jamón” and, in the oak groves of Texas, the Americans are already at it, I am not overstating myself by saying Spain is without a doubt the mother of all “jamones de pata negra”. Even more so now that the Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Environment granted for the first time the “Spanish Food Award to the Best Jamón of 2016”, the categories were “Jamón de bellota ibérico” and “Jamón Serrano or other Acknowledged Quality Figures”. The winner for the “Jamón de bellota ibérico” was the Jamón de bellota 100% ibérico “Encinares del Sur” from the protected designation of origin Los Pedroches (Córdoba). As of today we can officially state that Córdoba is home to the best Jamón in the World.

The cask of Amontillado” is the famous title of one of the best stories of Edgar Allan Poe, a tale of vengeances in which a cask of Amontillado lures the victim into a most gruesome fate. Well, my friend, you are indeed in the land of this desired wine. The Amontillado, along with the Pedro Ximénez, is the crown jewel of the winery Montilla Moriles. Although they are not easy to find, nor even in its own country. It is only in certain taverns and bars where one might be able to enjoy such an exquisite wine.

Córdoba plays a powerful role in the world of Photography, having its highpoint during International Photography Biennial of Córdoba. This XVIth edition the Biennial will focus on war images. Between the 23rd of March and the 21st of May a wide range of activities will be taking place in Córdoba: workshops, documentaries of warlike conflicts, book presentations, conferences, round tables.

Walking is not only a kind recommendation but of the utmost necessity if you wish to truly know and enjoy Cordoba. Its tangled urban scene takes us again and again to the days of the Caliphate. We shall not see squared blocks nor parallel streets, instead an enormous and rich treasure lays at our feet waiting to be seen when passing by. The old city is big and round and this roundness happily result in walkable distances. Paseo is Cordóba's middle name.

When talking about ancient bells we ought to establish two different categories. The first category would apply to oldest bells in general, without taking into consideration their current use or disuse. The second category would account for oldest bells still ringing at the top of a bell tower nowadays. It is to this second category that the famous bell “Wamba”, from the Cathedral of Oviedo, belongs to. In fact, the bell preceded the bell tower: it was molten in 1219.

Because of the correspondence he had with his wife Clotilde when he travels, we know that Joaquín Sorolla visited Córdoba for the first time at the end of march in 1902. “Impressions are so fast and so many that my head feels like a madhouse. We treated ourselves to such an artistic binge in Córdoba” he writes in one of the letters.

Inscribed in 2012 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the Fiesta of the Patios in Córdoba brings us every spring the rejuvenated essence of the city, with its traditional joie de vivre.  

It is around the middle of the XIXth century when marking the streets with personal names becomes a fashion. A questionable fashion that allowed Governments trends to do and undo almost at will since then. Before that, names were chosen by the actual users of those spaces. The names of streets and squares would traditionally tell us about their origin, purpose or common use; one could always relate to a story underneath.

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