A S. province of Spain, in Andalusia, bounded N. W. by Badajoz, N. by Ciudad Real, E. by Jaen, S. E. by Granada, S. by Malaga, and S. W. and W. by Seville; area, 5,190 sq. m.; pop. in 1867, 379,464 (estimated). The Sierra de los Pedro-ches, a range of the Sierra Morena, crosses from E. to W. the part of the province N. of the Guadalquivir, which is generally mountainous. The Guadalquivir flows from E. N. E. to W. S. W. across the province, receiving from the north the Rio de las Yeguas, Cuzna, Guadiato, and Bembezar, and from the south the Gua-dajoz. From the Guadalquivir southward stretches a fertile plain, the Campina, to where the Sierra de Priego occupies a small tract of country in the extreme south. The province is somewhat deficient in water, but produces grain enough for its own use, and great quantities of wine, oil, hemp, flax, saffron, honey, and wax. Fine mules and horses are bred, and bees, game, fish, cattle, and swine are plentiful. There are numerous mines of coal, copper, iron, silver, and lead, and manufactures of silk, woollens, and pottery.
The principal towns are Cordova, Baena, Cabra, Castro del Rio, Fuente Ovejuna, Lucena, Montilla, Montoro, and Rambla. II. A city (anc. Corduba), capital of the province, in lat. 37° 52' 15" N., lon. 4° 49' 37" W., 70 m. N. E. of Seville, situated in a beautiful plain on the right bank of the Guadalquivir, here crossed by a Moorish bridge of 16 arches; pop. in 1867, 41,976. It is renowned for its picturesque buildings, its beautiful location on the southern declivity of the Sierra de Cordova, and its unsurpassed cathedral, once a Moorish mosque. The town itself resembles eastern towns in its inconveniently narrow streets, and its want of ventilation and cleanliness. It is enclosed by high walls flanked by square, round, and octagonal towers, built by the Moors on the foundations of the old Roman line of circum-vallation. There are several churches and religious houses, a bishop's palace, a theatre, a museum, a lyceum, a plaza de toros, and several hospitals. The great mosque was founded by Abderrahman I., A. D. 786. It was an edifice of marvellous beauty, with a light, elegant roof, springing from clusters of slender pillars, and was lighted with 4,000 silver lamps.
There were originally 1,200 pillars, but 400 have been taken away to make an open space suitable for Christian worship.
Cordova was once celebrated for its manufactures of leather, but this industry was transferred by the Moors to Morocco. Its silversmiths and filigree workers are still celebrated. - Corduba was. the birthplace of the two Senecas and of Lucan the poet. It sided with the sons of Pompey, and after the battle of Munda it was taken by Caesar, when 23,000 of its inhabitants are said to have been put to death. Its foundation is attributed to Marcel-lus, the commander in the Celtiberian war (152 B. C), and being peopled by poor patricians of Rome, it was hence called Colonia Patricia. Under the Goths it was called the "holy and learned." Osius, the friend of St. Athanasius and the counsellor of Constantine, was its bishop from the end of the 3d to the middle of the 4th century. Under the Moors Cordova became a great centre of learning and power; produced Averroes, Maimonides, and other famous scholars; rose to be the capital of the Moorish empire of Spain, and the seat of the caliphate from 756 to 1031, eclipsing Bagdad by its splendor, and containing in the 10th century nearly 1,000,000 inhabitants, 300 mosques, and 900 baths. After the overthrow of the caliphate, Cordova passed into the hands of various rulers.
In 1236 it was conquered and almost wholly destroyed by Ferdinand III. of Castile, a blow from which it never recovered. In 1808 it was taken and pillaged by the French under Dupont.
The Great Mosque (now Cathedral).