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Córdoba province

Córdoba province

The Sierra de Hornachuelos extends for 60,032ha and is part of the vast 400,000ha Unesco Biosphere Reserve for the Sierra Morena mountain range, along with the natural parks of the adjacent Sierra Norte and the Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche.

Part of the Sierra Morena, the Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro covers 38,449ha of gently rolling hills in the far northeastern corner of Cordoba province. Its slopes, rising from 400m to the highest peak, the 828m-high La Colmena, are dominated by Mediterranean woods and scrubland, interspersed with fields of cereal cultivation.

Cordoba was founded by the Romans and due to its strategic importance as the highest navigable point of the Guadalquivir River, it became a port city of great importance, used for shipping Spanish olive oil, wine and wheat back to Ancient Rome. The Romans built the mighty bridge crossing the river, now called "El Puente Romano".

This reservoir and its immediate surrounding area on the Genil river covers 1,460ha, with a section at its southern end in Seville province. The shore vegetation attracts many birds for nesting.

The 89ha shallow, seasonal Laguna del Conde is part of a group of lakes and wetlands dotted around southern Cordoba province called the Lagunas or Zonas Húmedas del Sur. These lakes are the principal breeding site of the white-headed duck and are rich in birdlife, especially during winter and migration periods.

One of a series of inland saline lakes dotted around southern Cordoba province, the 3.2ha Laguna del Rincón and its protected environs covers a total of 138ha and attracts numerous wildfowl in winter. It is also an important breeding site for birds. Like Laguna de Zóñar and Laguna Amarga, it is permanent. There is a bird hide at the lake.

With its surface measuring 37ha, the Laguna de Zóñar is the largest of a series of inland saline lakes in southern Cordoba province and the deepest in Andalucia. It is the most important lake in the province, of outstanding ornithological interest as a haven for overwintering aquatic birds and an important breeding area for many bird species, particularly the white-headed duck. Its total protected area covers 370ha.

One of a series of inland wetland sites in southern Cordoba province, the seasonal saline Laguna de Tíscar and its protected environs covers 191ha. There is a bird hide near the lake.

The Laguna de los Jarales is a saline lake located southwest of Lucena. The reserve covers 122ha and is noteworthy for its variety of aquatic habitats, as well as being an important breeding and overwintering site for wildfowl. Although it is a seasonal lake, in periods of high rainfall it sometimes contains water all year round.

One of six inland saline lakes in southern Cordoba province, Laguna Amarga and its protected environs covers 263ha and, like the other lakes, attracts numerous migrant birds in winter and for breeding. It is a permanent lake and is located between Puente Genil and Lucena. There is a footpath around the lake, which leads to a bird hide.

The Cueva de los Murciélagos (the Cave of the Bats) is a system of caves situated on the edges of the limestone Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park, 4km from the attractive village of Zuheros. Of the 60 caves registered in the park, the most important one is the Cueva de los Murciélagos, internationally renowned for its schematic and unique rock paintings and significant archaeological remains dating from Neolithic times.

Andalucia is not alone in its quest for the convenience of large out-of-town shopping centres or commercial centres ( centros comerciales) . Over the past five years shopping centres in Andalucia have become increasingly prevalent and in Andalucia today they form an integral part of most peoples’ shopping experience.

The diversity of types and styles of gardens in Córdoba and province is the most remarkable in Andalucia.

The mountain range of the Sierra Morena occupies Cordoba province's northern flank and its gently rolling hills are home to the densely wooded natural parks of the Sierra de Hornachuelos and the Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro.

This park in Villafranca de Cordoba, near Cordoba city, has seven rides, including a black hole and kamikaze run, plus big kids' pool with small play feature, and "beach" pool. The water park has both VIP and naturist areas - VIPs get a raised shady platform with sunloungers, table and chairs, for six people. Restaurant and snack bar with shady outdoor seating area.

A thick cream which is served in individual ramekins as a starter, to be eaten with a spoon. It also makes a good party dip, accompanied by bread sticks and vegetable dippers. To turn it into gazpacho, just thin with water and serve with the usual accouterments of chopped onions, cucumbers, green peppers and bread crumbs.