Cordoba is in full bloom every spring with special and exciting festivities. Kicking off with a historic parade called the “Battle of the Flowers”, Cordoba officially launches its popular spring celebrations with the amazing May Crosses festival. The festival typically takes place during the month’s first week; it is followed by the renowned Patio Contests that could easily continue past mid May. This provides the residents of Cordoba sufficient time to prepare for the annual fair at the end of the month!
You can find more than 50 free patios to visit during your trip; just look it up on the internet and mark the places on your map. The patios are open for visit during 11 am to 2 pm and from 6 pm to 10 pm from Sunday to Thursday. And on Friday and Saturday, you can enjoy the view from 11 am to 2 pm and from 6 pm to midnight.
Most Patios close at 2 pm and re-open at 6 pm so that the owners can catch their breath and have their siesta. But do not worry because you can find some patios that open exactly during that time slot to fill the gap. Moreover, you can also take guided tours during your visit to Cordoba. Just to make sure that you do not miss out on any of the courtyard festivals.
In Spanish “La Fiesta de Los Patios Cordobeses” the Cordoba Patio festival has become the most loved annual event. It goes on for just thirteen days, but people prepare for it throughout the year. Sponsored by City Hall, the battle of the flowers began in 1918. Almost a century later it is still going strong. Since 2012, it has become a part of the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Similar to home and garden shows, the famous Cordoba patio festival is an incredible time of year as most private Cordoba homes tend to open up their doors, displaying their ornate and unique patios for the whole world to see.
You will be glad to know that the visits are free; also, there are amazing competitions for the most beautiful and prettiest patios.
And one of the best parts is that when you finally get tired of the heat, you could cool off and unwind with some scrumptious Cordoba specialties and a glass of local wine!
The historic Andalusian patios date way back to the Roman era when they were used to collect rainwater. That being said, the most evident influence on contemporary patios comes from the time of the Moorish rule. During that period, Andalusia was called Al Andalus. Keep in mind that the Moors were the Berber and Arab tribes who, in 711, invaded Spain and spent nearly 800 years in various parts of Andalusia.
The influence of the Moors can be seen everywhere; this is why unique Moorish style patios are a noticeable feature of almost any conventional home in Andalusia. A lot of people believe that Cordoba is home to some of the most exceptional and beautiful patios in Spain; however, it is difficult to tell as most of them are hidden behind unassuming gates for a majority of the year.
History of Patios in Cordoba
The tradition of patios in Cordoba dates back to the Roman times. As these patios were located in an extremely hot part of Spain, they needed constant attention and care throughout the year. It was not a small feat given that daytime temperatures in Cordoba usually exceed 40°C during the summer months while nighttime frosts are quite common.
So, to compensate for the harsh climate in the region, the Romans and the Muslims (later on) build their homes in a specific way; they incorporated courtyards or patios into the center of their building complexes. These elegant courtyards provided cool, relaxing and shaded inner spaces where family members congregated in order to beat the scorching summer heat as well as collect any rainwater.
However, the Muslims were the ones who took developing relaxing and beautiful patios and cool inner spaces to a completely new level. That’s why they are often credited with introducing splendid water features as well as plants into patio designs to increase the sense of tranquility and freshness.
Interestingly, it actually works quite well because temperatures inside most patios are between 10°C and 15°C cooler compared to the streets outside. This can make a big difference, especially in summer.
Kinds of Patios in Cordoba
There are different types of patios that you will find in the city. Some of them belong to a single family; they are located in one-family homes with the rooms arranged around the patio. The second type of patios is shared with neighbors; they usually have two floors and the patio looks more attractive due to the long staircases, balconies and baked clay roof tiles. In addition, the floors often have beautiful decorative pebbles with a well rather than a fountain, and a communal washing area.
The most beautiful site that you cannot afford to miss is the Palacio de Viana (Viana Palace); it is famous for its twelve patios. Each one is a work of art. Most of these displays require no entry fee and are open to the public. You also need to look forward to the festivities that come alongside the competition. With several dance and music performances, you will find a lot of entertainment throughout your visit.
Places to Eat in after the Patio Festival
The patios in Cordoba are simply amazing; however, the temperatures in the city are sweltering and unforgiving. Therefore, we would recommend the following restaurants and tapas bar while visiting Cordoba.
Check out Taberna Gongora, which is a well-known restaurant, owing its popularity to game meat. People especially enjoy the venison and wild boar at the eatery.
It is quite possibly one of the best and most elegant restaurants in Cordoba. This is mainly because the food is made with the best ingredients and meticulous attention to detail.
It is one of the favorite tapas bars in the city; it is known for both its modern and classic takes on various local specialties. Their delicious salmorejo is certainly one of the best and has been awarded the coveted prize for the best in Cordoba.