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.
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