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Introducing Córdoba

Mention you’re going to Córdoba to a coastal dweller and you may well get a sarcastic eye roll. Cordobeses are often seen as haughtier and less modest than their more down-to-earth jarocho brethren, though ‘urbane’ would be a kinder description.

Not to be confused with its famous namesakes in Spain and Argentina, Córdoba, Veracruz, has an illustrious history and a justifiable sense of civic pride; the contract that sealed Mexico’s independence was signed here in 1821. The city itself was originally founded in 1618 as a staging post between Mexico City and the coast, with the purpose of protecting the Spanish crown's interests from the local slave rebellion, led by Gaspar Yanga, that was strong in the area.

As an overnight stop, Córdoba trumps other central Veracruz cities such as Orizaba and Fortín de las Flores on the strength of its main plaza. It's a 24-hour live ‘show,’ where theater-goers in high heels dodge hungry pigeons and grandpas moonlight as marimba players. Watching over it all is an impressive baroque cathedral, easily the most resplendent in the state.

Be aware that Córdoba has a complicated system of street numbering – a map from your hotel or the tourist office will be a big help.