Alminar de San Juan

Minaret in Córdoba

Alminar de San Juan or Minaret of San Juan  is a 9th century tower belonging to an old mosque from the Emiral-Caliphal era, located in the Plaza de San Juan in Córdoba, Spain. It is one of the four minarets in Spain declared a Site of Cultural Interest, framed as a Historic-Artistic Monument belonging to the National Artistic Treasury by decree of June 3, 1931. In addition, it is located in the historic center of Córdoba , declared World Heritage Site by Unesco.

History of the Minaret of San Juan

The San Juan Minaret was built at the end of the 9th century or early 10th century, and belonged as such to one of the many medieval mosques that existed throughout the city at that time. As a minaret, its main function was that from above, the muezzin called the faithful five times a day to prayer.

According to a plaque found and preserved in the Archaeological Museum of Córdoba , the mosque was allegedly built by the Cadí Umar ben Hadabas during the government of Emir Abderramán II . Its height must have been higher than what it currently has and it would be crowned with a crenellated terrace , in the style of Islamic constructions.  It is the only intact minaret of Muslim Cordoba since the other remaining ones such as the ones belonging to the Aljama Mosque, the Church of San Lorenzo and the Convent of Santa Clara have been heavily modified.

In 1236, when the city was reconquered by Christian troops the building was ceded to the knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem also known as San Juan de los Caballeros and the mosque transformed into the Church of San Juan de los Caballeros. The minaret was converted into a bell tower by adding an upper body of bells.

It is owned now, along with the church, by the religious order Esclavas de Jesús.

What does the Minaret of San Juan look like?

With an an emirate and caliphal style, it is a square tower of 3.70 meters on each side, and a height of 10.92 meters. It is a single body made up of solid stone blocks of limestone, these are called  ashlars.  is most notable decorative features are the twin caliphal horseshoe arches with marble columns from the Visigothic period.


Visiting Alminar de San Juan

Address: Alminar de San Juan Plaza de San Juan, 4 14003 Córdoba Spain
Telephone: +34 683 35 47 04
Duration: 10 minutes

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Without a doubt, the best time of the year to visit Córdoba is in Spring when the city is in full festival mode. It all kicks off with a wine tasting festival at the end of April, comes into its own in May with the week-long Cordoba Fair, Festival of May Crosses, the Patio Festival and the Battle of the Flowers.

Battle of the Flowers

Batalla De Las Flores Cordoba
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Edmundo Sáez

The Batalla de las Flores or Battle of the Flowers is a one day-event celebrated, at noon at the beginning of May, to mark the beginning of a month of festivals. A parade of around 20 flower covered floats pass along the Paseo de la Victoria and Argentina, carrying women beautifully attired in typical trajes de gitanas or gypsy flamenco dresses and decorated with paper flowers and images of Córdoba’s patron saint. For the Battle of the Flowers they throw hundreds of thousands of flowers from the floats to the crowds of people which the public then throw back – hence the name the “Battle of the Flowers”.

Read more about the Batalla de las Flores

Cruces de Mayo

Fiesta de las Cruces
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Rafael Jiménez

The Cruces de Mayo or Crosses of May festival is a religious flower festival, which lasts over four days at the beginning of May, located in Cordoba. It commemorates the cross on which Jesus was crucified and is believed to have its roots in the 4th century, when Constantine, son of Saint Helen, saw a vision of a cross in battle.

The festival consists of dozens of large crosses made of flowers set up around the city, which are put up in courtyards and squares. The churches compete to see who has the most beautiful cross. The neighborhood associations and local clubs set up outdoor bars next to the crosses and serve drinks and traditional tapas and play traditional Sevillanas music. There are maps available of where all the crosses are around the city, although you can just wander around the districts of San Basilio, San Andrés, Santa Marina, San Agustín and the city center during the May Crosses festival.

Read more about the Cruces de Mayo

Patio Festival

Feria De Los Patios De Cordoba 4
CC BY-SA 1.0 / Dinkum

In the first few weeks in May, Cordoba has its Patio Festival.  During this timethere are more than 50 flower-filled  courtyards, open to the public. The festival is an opportunity to chat with the residents and gardeners, who get prepare all year round to offer the best sight of colorful flowers.

The Patios often have flamenco dancers and tapas for the visitors.

Read more about the Feria de los Patios de Córdoba

Spring Feria

Feria De Cordoba
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Edmundo Sáez

The Feria de Córdoba or the The Cordoba Fair is usually held at the end of May, located in Cordoba in Spain. It was originally to mark the feast of Our Lady of la Salud Health but like Seville’s April Fair and the Jerez Horse Fair, the Cordoba Fair celebrates the spirit of Andalucia. In addition to a big fairground, you will see a lot of horse-riders and people in traditional gypsy or flamenco dress for the ladies and wide brimmed hats for the men. There are also lots of marquees set up called casetas, each one serves fino wine and tapas. There is usually some traditional live music and flamenco dancing too. Unlike the Seville Fair all the casetas are public.

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Semana Santa

Procesion Del Calvario En Cordoba, Espana
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Edmundo Sáez

Semana Santa or holy Week is a is a commemorative feast of Christ’s Passion in which the people publicly declare their faith.

For seven days the city is taken over with about 40 different floats bearing Christs and Virgins, carried by the Nazarenos, followed bands. The floats are very heavy and it is considered a great honor for members of the city’s different religious brotherhoods of Penitents to carry them through the streets of Córdoba. Large crowds gather to watch them do so and there is a solemn, religious atmosphere of hushed reverence as they pass.

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Shephardic Music Festival

International Sephardi Music Festival

The International Sephardi Music Festival has been held annually in the Botanical Garden of Córdoba since 2002 and is an intriguing festival which celebrates the Jewish customs and music that have been so influential in shaping the city’s culture over the centuries.

Shephardic bands come from all over the world to perform in one of the several concerts that take place over a week in June. There area also dance workshops, demonstrations of Jewish cooking, wine tastings, lectures and exhibitions.

The festival is usually celebrated in Córdoba’s charming Jewish quarter, Juderia.

Read more about the Festival Internacional de Música Sefardí

Festival de la Guitarra

Joe Bonamassa En El Festival De La Guitarra De Cordoba
CC BY-SA 1.0 / Davidvalpalao

The Festival de la Guitarra or Festival of the Guitar is usually held during the first fortnight of July in Córdoba.  It is a highly regarded international guitar festival which is one of the highlights on the city’s events calendar. There are performances by well-known artists and there are also training courses around the city covering just about everything related to guitars and flamenco music.

Read more about the Festival de la Guitarra

Cata del Vino Montilla-Moriles en Córdoba

Cata Del Vino Montilla Moriles En Cordoba
Flickr / Eladio Osuna

Every year, the Montilla-Moriles Wine Tasting serves as an prelude to the Cordovan May Festivals. This prestigious wine comes from the countryside to the south of the Cordovan capital, and comes under the Denomination of Origin Montilla-Moriles.

Read more about the Cata del Vino Montilla-Moriles en Córdoba

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