Andalucia was the region which took up the main land mass of the Iberia peninsula (Spain and Portugal) that was governed by the Moors (Arab and Berber Muslims from Northern Africa) for over 500 years.
Today it is a southern province of modern day Spain which includes the cities of Cordoba and Granada and where the stamp of its past Muslim rulers is firmly established in its food, its language and architecture.
The defining drawcard of Cordoba is the Mosque of Cordoba. In Spanish it is known as Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba because it does function currently as a Cathedral and despite attempts the Church has not managed to completely drop off the label of mosque. Even though it has been widely acknowledged to be ruined architecturally by the insertion of a cathedral – King Charles V famously said that “they have taken something unique in all the world and destroyed it to build something you can find in any city” – the essence and grandeur of the mosque still remains. There is an ongoing tension between the city – who want the heritage of the mosque to be preserved – and the church which wants to the make the site dominant as a functioning cathedral. Requests to allow Muslims to pray have been repeatedly rejected.
Also very interesting is the old city of Cordoba which was built inside the Roman walls. The city and the walls have been very well preserved and maintained and walking around the city is a great experience.
The best times to visit is in spring or autumn. Summer is very hot in the south of Spain although the old city and the mosque were designed to stay relatively cool in the heat (narrow streets for shade). Winter does get cold but if you can bear that (we actually enjoy the cold) then you will escape the crowds, the heat (and the high prices) and enjoy the exploration.