Guarding the southwestern corner of Cordoba’s Historic Center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs (Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos) is among the city’s most memorable monuments. The Moorish-style fortress has a history dating back to Roman and Visigoth times, before it was transformed into a Christian palace by Alfonso XI in the 13th century.
Visitors can explore the grand ruins of the alcazar, climb the towers for a view over the city, peek into the ancient Moorish bathhouse, and admire a series of Roman mosaics dating back to the second century. Opt for a guided tour to learn more about the alcazar’s fascinating history, which includes stints as a medieval fortress, royal palace, and prison. Don’t miss a stroll around the magnificent gardens, which include Mudejar-inspired courtyards, large ponds, and orange and lemon groves.
Many tours of Cordoba include a visit to the alcazar, often alongside the Mezquita Mosque-Cathedral and the old Jewish Quarter.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Cordoba makes a popular day-trip destination from Seville or Granada, and many tours include tickets for the Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs.
- There is an entrance fee; children under 14 get in free.
- Some areas of the alcazar are wheelchair-accessible.
How to Get There
The Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs is located on the southwest side of the city, on the north bank of the Guadalquivir River. About a 5-minute walk from the Mezquita Mosque-Cathedral, the alcazar is easy to reach on foot within the Historic Center. Buses 3 and 12 also stop nearby, along Ronda de Isasa.
When to Get There
The Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs is open from Tuesday to Sunday all year round; opening times vary throughout the year. In the summer months, musical fountain shows are held in the gardens on select nights, starting around 10pm—check with the tourist information office for details.
History of the Alcazar
The alcazar was built on the site of a Visigoth fortress to house the caliphs of Cordoba, before being taken over by the Christians. Once in their hands, the palace was famously home to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel for eight years during the Spanish Inquisition. During that time, it was visited by Christopher Columbus, who came to explain plans for his westward journey to the Catholic monarchs.