I visited Carmona briefly when I was here earlier this year but wanted to go back to see more of it and I’m glad I did as it is often neglected as everyone rushes off to ?Cordoba – at just 30 minutes drive from Seville it makes for a great half day visit or a bit longer if you stay for lunch (remembering that lunch is usually 2-4pm).
First stop was the Roman ruins just outside the old town – they feature remains of an amphitheater in not great condition but also a necropolis (Roman burial ground) which is quite large and worth a wander – and free too.
The city itself is surrounded by cliffs and is the only town in Spain that has never been invaded as it is virtually impenetrable. There is only on city wall entrance and that is two sets of very thick walls enabling a lot of spear and hot oil to be hurled down at marauders before they get anywhere inside. It has had sophisticated water retaining systems so could not be sieged either. Like many places in this part of Spain it was inhabited by the Romans (note impressive original mosaic floor), the Visigoths, the moors, the Jews and then the Catholics. The views of the valley show how high up it is and why it would be impossible to attack – also you could see anyone coming for miles.
It is an easy day trip to visit Cordoba and Carmona from Seville. The main tour was Cordoba and included the Alcázar and gardens, the Jewish Quarter and finally the unusual mosque/cathedral. I really wanted to like Cordoba but maybe the combination of a rainy day, too many tourists and a tackiness in the trinkets sold as well as a really bad guide wrecked it for me. I have since been advised that once you have seen the mosque/cathedral – which is amazing you need to head to the medieval part of town where there are far less people and genuine artisans to be seen.
Anyway, not everything is perfect:). These are the gardens in the Alcázar – as ever in Southern Spain they are impressive.
I liked these statues. Two show Chrstopher Columbus asking the King and Queen of Spain for money so he could go exploring. The rest as they say is history. The column is Roman and shows how this city was built on Roman ruins – like many places in Southern Europe
Then on to the Jewish Quarter which has a number of memorial to some of the Great Jewish philosophers and writers and contributors to the city.This is Maimonides the Jewish philosopher. Cordoba is also well known for its flower pots on the sides of walls. Very pretty.
Then to the Mosque which was turned into a cathedral after Catholicism became supreme following the ousting of the moors.
On the way back we made a stop in Carmona – a place I would have liked to have seen more of as it is the oldest of the key cities in this part of Spain and is devoid of tourists! We visited the parador (Spanish state run hotels in interesting old buildings – would love to stay here one day – spectacular views)