Palace of the Christian Kings - C/Caballerizas Reales Cordoba -14009
From Roman times, this Palace was used as a fortress, for its privileged location on the banks of the “Guadalquivir” river, commanding the Roman Bridge through which the “Via Augusta” passed, the only way for the military and commercial routes with Andalusia. The numerous archaeological ruins that are spread on the site, leave a testimony of the several and successive cultures that occupied this city: Roman columns and capitals, socles, Arab and Visigoth mouldings, appear embedded between the walls.
During the long stay of the Moslems on these lands, the “Alcazar” (Palace) completed the compound of buildings of the Caliph Palace, and, as a defensive point, it was destroyed through the different invasions that the city suffered. After the Christian conquest in 1236 under the rule of the king “Fernando III el Santo” (Fernando III the Saint) the “alcazar” became the Royal residence, being re-constructed completely in 1327 by the Spanish King “Alfonso XI el Justiciero” (Alfonso XI the righteous), giving the palace the physiognomy of a castle which it has today. In 1340, Alfonso XI defeated the “benimerines” (Morocco Berber dynasty) troops at the “Salado” battle, and in homage to this victory he raised in Cordoba the “San Hipólito” temple, in the same Gothic style as the “alcazar”, where he was buried.
The “Alcazar” is a defensive complex that does not have the typical characteristics of the Arab fortresses, a landmark of military construction of the Christian re-conquest in Cordoba. From 1482 it was used as a General Headquarters for the troops of the Catholic Kings. For over ten years, the strategy for the conquest of the reign of Granada, was planned and organized from this “Alcazar” of Cordoba. The reign of Granada was the last Arab redoubt in Spain. Many situations occurred at the “Alcazar”; The Catholic Kings stayed at the “Alcazar” for long periods of time, and at this palace was where one of their daughters was born, the Infant “Maria”, future Queen of Portugal; The conversations with Cristóbal Colón about the preparations for his journey to America took place there too. When the unification of Spain was completed, with the annexion of the reign of Granada in 1492, the Catholic Kings left Cordoba, giving over the “Alcazar” to the Inquisition Court. At that time, several reforms were made to the building to include underground dungeons and prisons, loosing with this additions the character of Palace. The Inquisition stayed at the “Alcazar” until its abolition by the Courts of Cadiz in 1812, disappearing years later, the building being used as prison from 1822 to 1931. The structure of the building, the courtyards and gardens suffered important damage due to the need for it to house several jails around the Moorish courtyard. Afterwards it was used for housing military installations, until 1955 when the building and its orchards were given to the Town Hall of Cordoba.