Cordoba, Spain

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During the Middle Ages, Córdoba was the undisputed center of Western civilization and the most populous city in the world. While it’s been 1,000 years since the peak of its glory as the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate (932-1031), this justifiably proud Andalusian city retains an exceptional ability to teach, entertain, and inspire like few other cities in the world. You’ll experience thousands of years of history and learn about Islamic, Christian, and Jewish culture (and Córdoba’s characteristic combination of the three) as you walk through the narrow streets of the old city. Though the Cordoban summer sends temperatures flying up to feverish levels and beyond, you’ll find refuge among the plants and gurgling fountains of the city’s traditional patios while feasting on typical dishes like the refreshing salmorejo, a cold tomato soup. You’ll sip infused teas in an Arab bath before making your way over to the city’s modern section to sip decidedly non-Islamic things with a little more punch. Córdoba is no longer the capital of the world, nor even of Andalucía, but its unparalleled mix of fascinating medieval history and thoroughly modern splendor make it one of the most unforgettable cities in Spain.

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