Cordoba Province is a land of contrasts. Bisected east to west by the mighty Guadalqiver River and its tributaries the central portion is very fertile and has been extensively cultivated since Neolithic times. Both Romans and Moors appreciated this ‘bread basket’ of Spain. The former dotted numerous villas about the landscape whilst the latter built Cordoba with its famous Mosque-cathedral, the Mezquita, the capital of Muslim Spain,
To the south the high craggy limestone ridges and peaks of the Subbetica range support olive groves, white villages and small towns with Baroque architecture. In the north are the slightly lower but equally rugged regions of the Sierra Morena range, land fought over by Tartessians and Oretani people for the ores of copper, iron and lead found there.
With a population just over 800,000 and an area of 14,000 square kilometres with 40% living in the capital, Cordoba province is not overcrowded, it is a land of quiet roads and wild countryside with watchfully spiraling raptors interspersed with villages, all with a square and a bar where watchful locals notice every stranger. Apart from the capital the province is off the normal tourist routes, it is a place to sample the real Spain and real Spanish cooking.
The Greek geographer, Strabo, makes the first mention of a Greek settlement called Mainake and positioned it in southeast Spain somewhere around 800 BC. During the period 900 to 500 BC the Greeks and Phoenicians were expanding their trading networks. Both seafaring powers first established trade contacts. The Greeks then integrated with the local populace and Emporia, or trading stations, were built. It was possible for Emporia to grow into fully fledged Greek city states. It is unlikely that Mainake ever achieved full city status but it does have the distinction, according to Strabo, of being the furthest Emporia west from the Greek homelands. There must have been an amount of cooperation between the Greeks and Phoenicians since the latter had many more colonies and both traded with the Tartessians. The history of Mainake is a little blurred, nobody knows exactly where it was, how close to present day Málaga it was, when it was founded or how long it lasted. More....
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