"Et primeramente, vos contaremos de Cordova, que es madre de las cibdades, et fué siempre morada de los mayores principes, et casa de los reyes; et de todas partes recudían á ella á tiempos (Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Razi)Córdoba (Arabic: قرطبة) is the main and largest city in Al-Andalus, and the capital of the Governorate of the same name.
Córdoba was conquered by invading Islamic armies in the eighth century, and then became the capital of the Emirate (756–929) and Caliphate of Córdoba (929–1031), including most of the Iberian Peninsula. The city fell into a steady decline after the fall of the caliphate (1031), becoming the capital of a republican independent taifa. Later conquered by the Almoravids, who were replaced by the Almohads.
In the 14th century, under the Almohad Córdoba once again became the main city and unofficial capital of Al-Andalus.
The Great Mosque is the most important building of the city with an area of 23,000 square meters. Approximately 860 marble columns in parallel rows each carry two superimposed sheets and thus bring about a special play of light and shadow. Probably the most important prayer niche is about 960 of al-Hakam II. Built mihrab, a domed shrine with Byzantine mosaics.
The House of Knowledge (Arabic: دار العلم, Dar al-'Ilm) of Cordoba, along the ones of Sevilla, Toledo, Granada and Valencia are part of the Sciences Printing Society and associated madrasas and universities.
The House of Knowledge, thanks to the caliphate patronage, is the main Islamic law (sharia) center of Al-Andalus, although is its also know as a home of the Maliki School. Several times in its history has been purged in favor of the Zahirite School. Also notable its medical and nursing schools and their large libraries of medicine and botany.
The State and Government complexes
There two and historical important complexes that stand as symbols of Cordoba's Golden Age. Both rebuilt by the Almohads. The complexes are used by the state bureaucracy of Al-Andalus.
- The Medina Azahara (Arabic: مدينة الزهراء Madīnat az-Zahrā), once the fortified palace-city built by Abd-ar-Rahman III al-Nasir, (912–961). Also serves as the official residence and Court (Diwan) of the Caliph and retinue when visiting Al-Andalus. It is also home of the Caliphate Museum and Archives.
- Madinat al-Zahira, the complex of Almanzor (built between 979 y 987 destroyed in April 1009, and rebuilt in the early 14th century) serves has the court, offices and residence of the Governor.