Cordoba City - Patios

Enjoy a day out at the Córdoba patios

Patio Dates

8 - 19 May 2013

Every spring Córdoba bursts into bloom with special festivities for the month of May. Starting off with a parade known as the “Battle of the Flowers”, the city officially launches into its spring celebrations with the May Crosses festival usually taking place during the first week of the month, followed by the Patio Contests that can easily continue well past the middle of the month – which just gives residents time to get ready for the annual fair at the end of May!

The Patio contests is sponsored by the Córdoba City Hall and began in 1918. But to really understand why a contest of this type was created in Córdoba you must know something about the local architecture.
Due to a hot, dry climate homes in Córdoba were built with a central patio even back in the days of the Romans. This tradition was continued by the Moors and persists in many homes even today. Filling the central patio with plants and water features has always been a way to keep local homes cool. But, thanks to human creativity and ingenuity, patio decoration ended up taking on a life all its own and at some point, someone realised that these hidden treasures were just too good to be kept tucked away behind heavy doors and iron grates. So, once a year, the doors open and everyone is invited in to see the wonders of Córdoba’s patios.
These patios not only offer a visual feast of colourful flowers, stone mosaics and ceramic decorations, but also bring out the classic scents of Córdoba: jasmine and orange blossom mixed with a myriad of scents from the many other flowers and plants that bring the city – and this festival – alive.
A visual feast of colourful flowers.

Floral patios of Cordoba
A vast range of patios await your viewing in Córdoba every year, with not only private, single-family homes opening their doors to show you the lovely courtyards around which their old-style homes centre. There are also larger, low-built, apartment-style buildings that have amazing courtyards where often many gardeners will work together all year to cultivate the special gems that are their shared meeting areas.
However, the patio displays go even beyond the wide array offered by the private sector to include numerous “monument” patios. For example, the Viana Palace, a 14th century edifice, is actually known as the Patio Museum and offers around 12 different patios to its visitors. It has also been classified as an official “Historic Garden” and is high on the list of recommendations for those wishing to see the best of Córdoba.
There are numerous convents and religious buildings in Córdoba with must-see patios and these include: the Encarnación, Santa Isabel de los Ángeles, Las Capuchinas, Santa María, Santa Cruz, Jesus Crucificado, Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, Corpus Cristi and San Pedro Real. There is also the “Círculo de la Amistad” building and the “Facultad de Derecho” (law department) at the local university.
Geraniums galore!.

As would be expected, the May Patio Contest in Córdoba is more than just a contest. At the city’s tourism website, it is officially the “Córdoba May Patio Festival” and, true to form, the locals offer a host of entertainment throughout this spring celebration. Some of the best names in flamenco are known to travel to Córdoba this time of year to add sound to the sights, smells, textures and tastes enjoyed by locals and visitor alike. Yes, Córdoba is genuinely a feast for all five senses this time of year – but don’t miss the year round sights to see in Córdoba while you’re there.
The 2013 May Patios Festival in Córdoba takes place from the 8th to the 19th of May. The patios have unusual opening hours, they close between the hours of 2pm until 6pm in the evening. Locals will tell you that they need to have time to spruce up their patios and take the essential Spanish siesta, so beware that you don't miss out on this amazing festival.
The patios are open from Sunday to Thursday from 11am to 2pm and from 6pm to 10pm; and Friday and Saturday from 11am to 2pm and from 6pm to 12am.

A recent report by the Irish Independent Weekend Magazine recommended this article as a source of information about the May Patios in Córdoba:

Every year, the gorgeous Spanish city of Cordoba throws open its courtyards to the public, revealing a visual feast of colourful flowers, stone mosaics and striking water features. Tucked behind heavy iron gates for most of the year, the patios release the exotic scent of jasmine and orange blossom into the air. Must-sees include the numerous monument patios and convent courtyards, such as Santa Isabel de los Angeles, Las Capuchinas and Santa Maria.”

Cordoba patios and patios contest, The city of Cordoba tourist main sights, Andalucia, southern Spain.