Since 1921 the city council organizes throughout the first half of May The Patios Contest, in which the owners of these adorn their homes hard to get the prestigious award offered by the consistory. With the celebration of this popular contest aims to appreciate the efforts that make the neighbors to preserve these traditional places. In parallel there is a festival with numerous folk performances which brings together the best singers and dancers of Cordoba.
Desde el año 1921 el Ayuntamiento de la ciudad organiza durante la primera quincena de mayo un concurso de Patios, en el que los propietarios de estos engalanan sus viviendas con ahínco para conseguir el prestigioso galardón ofertado por el Consistorio. Paralelamente se celebra un festival con numerosas actuaciones folclóricas donde se dan cita los mejores cantaores y bailaores de la tierra.
Due to the dry and hot weather in Cordoba, the inhabitants of the city, first the Romans and later the Muslimsl. They adapted the house to their needs focusing the house around a courtyard, which usually had a fountain in the center and in many cases a well that collected rainwater. The Muslims Readapted this scheme ushering the house from the street through a hallway and placing abundant vegetation to increase the feeling of freshness.
Debido a la climatología seca y calurosa de Córdoba, los habitantes de la ciudad, primero los romanos y más tarde los musulmanes, adaptaron la tipología de casa a las necesidades, centrando la vivienda en torno a un patio, que normalmente tenía una fuente en el centro y en muchas ocasiones un pozo que recogía el agua de lluvia. Los musulmanes readaptaron este esquema dando entrada a la vivienda desde la calle a través de un zaguán y colocando vegetación abundante para aumentar la sensación de frescor.
Though Cordoba has many beautiful sights, one of the most beautiful things you will see there is the patios of the homes. Often you will be able to see from the street. The traditional house in Cordoba has a relatively large patio in the center of the structure. They will often have a fountain in the center and some gorgeous tile work. Many others are noticeable because with the coming of spring colorful baskets of plants are hung out.
In May the city puts on a Patio Competition for the most beautiful patio in the city. This year's festival will take place from May 8-19. The Festival has been going on since the early years of the last century. This year 48 homes were selected to participate. The requirement is that it be a personal home, for profit establishments and hotels/hostels etc are not allowed to participate. Reservations (free) are needed and can be made here
If you want to see an amazing example of Cordoban patios, wander up to the Palacio de Viana, which was the home of the Marques de Viana, it has 12 distinct patios, they are exquisite!
We had the great chance to visit Cordoba in May, during a weekend when all the patios open for the competition. This was an oportunity to enter in many of them to see not only the decoration, the flowers, etc, but also the traditional architecture of the city of Cordoba.
Calleja de las Flores is famous for its views of the Mezquita tower. As the Mezquita is hemmed in on all sides by streets and buildings, there are few places to get a nice view of it.
Calleja de las Flores is located one street west of the Mezquita, and is little more than a metre or two wide. Flower boxes line the street which leads to a small, pretty square. What makes it a great spot is the direct, perfect view of the Mezquita you get from the square.
Throughout the day the street is full of tourists, so a better time to visit is in the evening. In fact it's usually better visit at sunset or night time as the sun is in the wrong place for good views and pictures throughout the day.
Calleja de Pañuelo (Handkerchief alley) is the smallest street in the medina. It gets its name from its width - which is equivalent to the length of a handkerchief, and it leads into the city's smallest square.
Our guide brought us here on an evening tour of the city on our first night in Cordoba. He explained that as the city's population grew and grew in the middle ages, the streets and squares became narrower and narrower, as more and more people attempted to live in a small space. Typical Moorish Medina's consisted of there narrow streets and squares, and much of the city today is a remnant of the medina from when Cordoba was under Moorish rule.
The square and street are visited by most tour groups exploring the medina thoug it was quiet whenever we visited. It's located north of the Mezquita, close to Plaza Abades.
You can listen to a really good podcast about the Festival on Notes From Spain, I think it is number 61
Hope that helps you.
Enjoy your trip, best wishes
Wikipedia defines patio as: (from the Spanish: patio meaning 'back garden' or 'backyard) outdoor space generally used for dining or recreation that often adjoins a residence and is typically paved. It may refer to a roofless inner courtyard of the sort found in Spanish-style dwellings or a paved area between a residence and the garden.
Cordoba is well known for its love of patios, with a festival-cum-competition held annually for the best patio in town. You could easily wander off the main roads into the winding streets around Cordoba and peek into patios of normal folks. This one in the picture is actually of an association promoting the art of decorating patios.
Many think that the Christian buildings in Cordoba are outdone by those of the Islamic and Jewish buildings; which I have to say is largely accurate. However there still are some Christian plazas and buildings that are beautiful and worth your time.
The Plaza (square featured in the photo can be found near the river and the Roman bridge.
Maimonide - he was a student teached by Averoeswas -and he becomes one of the most important philosophs, theologian and physician. He founded the medical school of Montpellier in France, the oldest in France.
His influence has beenvery important all along the 12th century..
The residences in the Juderia have many patio courtyards with pretty gardens. If you are in Cordoba in May, many of these patios will be open to the public. We were there in July, so only saw a small number. This one was connected to a gallery and was open, so this gives you an idea of what you can see in May.
There are three main plazas in Cordoba.
The central is Plaza de las Tiendillas. Here is a tourist information kiosk, restaurants and provincial government. Streets to the North are pedestrianized and contain shops and boutiques. To the South starts the Old City proper. The Plaza was mainly built by the buildings from the end of the XIX century.
The older Plaza del Potro is in the heart of Old City near the Mezquita. Here there are a lot of antique shops.
The prettiest square is Plaza de Colon, somewhat out of the way in the NE corner of Old City. It is filled with trees and fountains and is surrounded by old churches and even an ancient mosque.
The picturesque ancient Arabian area begins near a southern wall of the Mosque. The area is remarkable by its small white houses and set of flowers which hang down from the top floors. There were markets and craft workshops in olden time. Flower street Calle de Flores conducts on the tiny square-deadlock which is set by flowers.
The Posada del Potro is well known for having been mentioned at D. Quixote. It is a typical XV century building, with individual dwellings organised around a central courtyard, with a common veranda which overlooks the courtyard. They were known as Corrales or Corralas. This one is almost untouched and preserves all the age spirit: for example, you enter the public bathrooms through one of the narrowest corridors I have ever seen. It houses a Touristic Information Point and also a permanent exhibition. It opens from 10,00 to 14,30 and from 17,00 to 19,00. Admission is free.
La Posada del Potro es famosa porque se la menciona en el Quijote. Es una construccion tipica del siglo XV, con viviendas individuales organizadas alrededor de un patio central, con una terraza comunitaria que asoma sobre el patio. Se las conocia como Corrales o Corralas. Esta esta practicamente intacta y conserva todo el espiritu de la epoca: por ejemplo, se entra a los servicios publicos a traves de uno de los pasillos mas estrechos que haya visto. Alberga un punto de Informacion Turistica y tambien una exposicion permanente. Abre de 10,00 a 14,30 y de 17,00 a 19,00. La entrada es gratuita.
Social life in Córdoba takes plas in the patios....
The patio is the centre of the mediterranean house and....always wonderfully decorated with plants and a fountain or little pond, lots of colourful AZULEJOS, lanterns and....the sun makes it what it is: a miracle of beauty!
Each year there is a contest of who has the most beautiful PATIO and believe me, that is taken very seriously and goes with many festivities......
It is great to walk through the little streets and (although you will feel an intruder) enjoy the many patio's, all works of art!