The Patios of Cordoba are a unique architecture of the Cordovan tradition, formed by several houses around a common courtyard, whose whitewashed walls hold hundreds of flowerpots that refresh and decorate the nexus of union of the houses. Over the years, this peculiar tradition has led to the Festival de los Patios de Córdoba, one of the most popular festivals and a universal symbol of the city.
This festival has been declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. The Festival of the Patios of Cordoba consists of a contest in which a jury evaluates among the hundreds of participating patios, awarding a prize to the best patio in the city. In addition to visiting the participating patios to enjoy their architecture and decoration, you can also get to enjoy food, drink and traditional music in the place itself or in the surrounding area.
Visiting the Patios of Cordoba
The Festival of the Patios of Cordoba takes place in many different corners of the city. There are dozens of participating patios and there are hundreds more non-participating ones that open their doors to the public, so it is necessary to know the most important ones or, at least, to have a map of the patios where we can trace the most appropriate route depending on the area of the city where we are.
To make it easier, the Patios of Cordoba can be divided by neighborhoods or areas: the Patios of Regina-Realejo, the Patios of Santa Marina-San Agustin, the Patios of San Lorenzo, the Patios of the Jewish Quarter, the Patios of Santiago-San Pedro and the Patios of Alcazar Viejo.
Map of the Patios of Cordoba
How to get to the Patios of Cordoba
The Patios of Cordoba are spread throughout the city, so it is very easy to plan routes that will take you walking from one courtyard to another. There are also multiple bus and cab stops that can make the journey more enjoyable.
Date of the Patios of Cordoba
The Fiesta de los Patios de Córdoba is scheduled for the month of May, specifically, just after the end of the also popular festival of the Cruces de Mayo. In principle, the contest lasts a week and there is another week in which the prizes are awarded, so we have a total of two weeks of official visit.
However, many of the main patios remain open throughout the year so they will be open for visits, no matter what month we are in.
Timetable of the Patios of Cordoba
During the contest in May, the Patios are open to the public of all ages and can be visited from 11:30 to 14:00 and from 18:00 to 22:00. The courtyards that are out of competition or whenever you visit in months outside the Fiesta de los Patios, you will have to consult schedules, as they usually have hours adapted to the monument or museum. This is the case, for example, of the Patio del Palacio de Viana or those of the Calle San Basilio. On these occasions, they usually maintain a morning schedule for visits throughout the year.
Ticket prices for the courtyards of Córdoba
The visit to the Patios of Cordoba is free throughout the year and for all ages. In some private courtyards it is customary to contribute the will to support the conservation of the place.
History of the Patios of Cordoba
The creation of courtyards is not an exclusive feature of Andalusia. In ancient times, Greece, Rome or Babylon already had courtyards as the center of the home in which they developed their daily life. Let us remember that Cordoba is a city with a long historical heritage, so civilizations such as the Romans or the Muslims incorporated this type of architecture to the popular tradition.
In fact, Roman houses consisted of central courtyards with fountains and marble paving. The arrival of the Muslims further enriched the culture of the Cordovan courtyard, including features such as flower beds and wells or fountains. The peculiarity of the Patios of Cordoba is built through the neighborhood courtyards. The increase of the population in the city forced to divide the old houses and mansions of the aristocrats to include enough rooms for each inhabitant.
The Festival de los Patios was inaugurated in 1918 by the then City Council of Cordoba. However, it was not until 1933 that they became popular. With the Civil War, the festivity was canceled to be resumed in the 50’s thanks to the mayor Antonio Cruz Conde. This tradition has crossed borders to achieve the title of Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2012. In fact, this work would have been impossible without the Association of Friends of the Patios Cordobeses created in the late twentieth century as well as the care of the neighbors in charge of the various courtyards of the city.
The most popular Patios of Cordoba
Marroquies Street Courtyard
It is a community of up to 20 neighbors. It has a very peculiar structure, with several access streets that reveal common areas of great tradition as the kitchen, laundry room, toilets, wells … All of them perfectly preserved as if it were a museum. It is striking the large number and variety of flowers that adorn the walls of this courtyard as well as a large bougainvillea that crosses from one end to another.
Barter Street Courtyard 4
It is one of the most representative as it is the headquarters of the Intangible Cultural Center of the Patios of Cordoba, an institution of the City Council where all the history and richness of the Feast of the Patios of Cordoba is exposed, as well as the reasons for its designation as World Heritage Site.
It is known as the “Patio de Carmela”. It responds to a traditional community of neighbors, being composed around different houses with white walls and windows with wooden frames and iron bars. The floor of the Patio de la Calle Trueque has been built with the classic Cordovan enchinado and some clay slabs. It includes a white staircase decorated with pots and flowers.
Finally, the icing on the cake is an arabesque style well in the center of the patio. Made with masonry and a gable roof.
Courtyard of San Basilio 44
It is an old neighborhood that represents an example in terms of conservation of traditional Cordovan housing.
The door itself is of Muslim origin and leads to a two-story courtyard with specific rooms for workshops and stores. Three of the four sides of the courtyard have whitewashed stone pillars. A whitewashed staircase with wooden handrails leads to the upper floor. The floor is made of traditional Cordovan tiles. Like the previous ones, this patio also has a well with original bucket, rope and pulleys, as well as a pair of basins made of stone.
The Patio de San Basilio 44 also stands out for being the headquarters of the Association of Friends of the Patios Cordobeses.
Characteristics of a Cordovan patio
Characteristics of a Cordovan courtyardThe Cordovan courtyard consists of an entrance with access to the courtyard, from which different rooms of daily use by the occupants of the house are deployed. The whitewashed walls of the patio are decorated with a multitude of plants and flowers typical of the region, such as jasmine, gitanillas or geraniums. The objective is to show a colorful and pleasant atmosphere with a very characteristic smell. The well or fountain is indispensable and usually occupies a prominent place in the courtyard. Finally, some are decorated with antique and traditional objects belonging to the families, such as vases, leather articles (popular cordobanes) and photographs.
Frequently asked questions about the Patios of Cordoba
How much is the entrance fee to the Patios de Córdoba?
Admission to the courtyards of Cordoba is free for all age groups and during all months of the year.
Where are the Patios of Cordoba?
The Patios of Cordoba are scattered throughout much of the old part of the city, covering the neighborhoods of Regina-Realejo, Santa Marina-San Agustin, San Lorenzo, the Jewish Quarter, the Santiago-San Pedro and Alcázar Viejo.
When are the Patios de Córdoba open?
The Patios of Cordoba are open throughout the two weeks of May that the contest lasts. However, the most popular ones can be visited throughout the year.
What are the Patios of Cordoba?
The Patios of Cordoba are a traditional element of Cordovan architecture. They are houses of neighbors built around a common courtyard. The walls are usually whitewashed and adorned with hundreds of plants and flowers characteristic of the spring and the region.