Patio de las flores cordoba
The courtyards of cordoba
The owners of the patios decorate their ornate iron railings and balconies with plants and flowers, mainly jasmine, geraniums and carnations. Carpets of flowers and handmade Islamic mosaics, among others, adorn each patio.
Cordoba’s climate is hot and dry, and therefore central courtyards were built in the city’s homes, dating back to Roman times. It was the Arabs who began the decoration of the courtyards, introducing plants and water systems to keep the houses cool. These spaces were special indoor spaces where families congregated and escaped the summer heat. Some courtyards can still be found dating back to the 10th century, when Cordoba was the epicenter of Al-Andalus, the Muslim caliphate in the Iberian Peninsula and the largest city, with half a million inhabitants.
The courtyards also gave access to the house, which usually consisted of two floors: a first floor as summer living quarters, and an upper floor as winter living quarters. During the 18th and 19th centuries, foreign influences and decorations began to appear in the courtyards in the form of marble, central fountains, enclosed galleries on upper floors, etc.
Best patios cordoba
In the middle of the metropolis, hidden inside seemingly normal and austere houses, are these natural wonders. Patios with white walls, which serve as a canvas for flowers and plants of all colors and shapes. When you enter this space you will be surrounded by colors and delicious fragrances, and the beauty and tradition of this festival is so great that it has been declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
During these two weeks a contest is held to award the prize for the most original, beautiful and best kept patio. This contest aims to recognize the effort of the neighbors to preserve this tradition, as well as to make it known. During these days there is also a festival with numerous folkloric performances, where you can listen to the best singers and dancers while you have a glass of Montilla-Moriles wine and typical tapas of the area.
«The patios have always been the meeting place for the neighbors and each one decorated their corner with their flowers and pots. In spring they would open them so that those from other corralas or neighborhoods would come to see their wonders,» explains Miguel Ángel Roldán, president of the Association of Friends of the Cordoban Patios. «That taste for sharing, for celebrating, that generosity of inviting others to your home is the essence of the Fiesta de los Patios and is what Unesco recognized,» adds Juan José Primo Jurado, president of the Andalusian Institute of Historical Heritage, who recalls that the centenary competition is part of a popular initiative that was welcomed by the City Council.
Araceli Lopez does not conceive a courtyard without flowers and has transmitted her passion to her daughters, Merichel and Araceli Valle, who organize guided tours of several of the courtyards of the Alcázar Viejo (patiosdesanbasilio.com). They are in charge of the one in San Basilio, 40, and the one in their house (Martín de Roa, 2), which is part of the wall. «We started competing in 2005, then only three courtyards in the neighborhood participated and we did not want to lose the tradition,» he says. A tradition that has its origins in the Roman domus, which the Arabs made more sophisticated by impregnating the patios with the color of the flowers climbing the walls and the murmur of the fountains, and which the people of Cordoba have continued to cultivate until it has become a world heritage site.
The festival of the patios
What are the patios? **A patio is an open space of the house that serves as lighting and ventilation of the rest of the rooms. In addition, its situation of access to them allows it to be used as a place of coexistence, it is the center of family life.
Due to the dry and hot climate of Cordoba, the inhabitants of the city, first the Romans and later the Muslims, adapted the typology of the popular house to the needs, centering the house around a patio, which normally had a fountain in the center and in many occasions a well that collected rainwater. The Muslims readapted this scheme giving entrance to the house from the street through a hallway and placing abundant vegetation to increase the feeling of freshness.
Types of CourtyardsEach courtyard has a unique architecture, the result of a different historical evolution, so it is a difficult task to establish a typology. However, courtyards can be broadly classified into two basic groups: