The Córdoba Patios Festival is known in Spanish as La Fiesta de los Patios Cordobeses or Los Patios de Córdoba and is Córdoba’s most colourful, annual event
Cordobans celebrate the annual Courtyard Festival and Contest by opening their beautiful courtyards of their homes to the public. Many house owners in Cordoba’s traditional neighborhoods join the contest and open their doors. So everyone has the chance to see the architectural treasures that are typical for Cordoba - the so called Patios. During the festival, people are welcome to enjoy courtyards of incomparable beauty, packed with trees and flowers, fountains and accessories.
Throughout the old town, the Cordobeses open the gates and doors to their private patios and reveal the secret floral delights within. You can tell which patios are open by the presence of plant pots on either side of the street door.
The Córdoba Patios Festival is a celebration that has been declared an ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ by UNESCO. The Patios have become true works of art, an explosion of colour with the interior flowerpots, railings, wells and balconies. The visitor is overwhelmed by a sea of flowers and aromatic plants, sweet fragrances and colour. Each patio vies with the others and the challenge, to have the most attractive patio in Córdoba, is hotly contested.
The patios of the Palacio Viana are regular winners of the contest, they have been developed over hundreds of years, but the best, non commercial patios, are found in the private homes. There the patios are, quite simply, works of art. Designed, arranged and grown throughout the year, they are romantic oases of cool and colour, where the placement of every bright-red pot of geraniums has been carefully thought out. Owners are often on hand and delighted to talk to you about the species of flowers and plants adorning the courtyards’ walls. True artists also incorporate ornaments, statues and wall art.
The tradition of opening up the patios started in 1918, but the concept goes back much further, to Roman times when the larger houses were built around a central, shaded, courtyard called a peristylium. The Moors, who called their courtyards riads, took this to a whole new level by introducing water features and more formal planting, essentially mini oasis, in their houses in the centre of their towns. In cities such as Córdoba, where in summer the temperatures can reach the mid 40s, they offered respite from the burning sun. Surprisingly it works, the patio can be 10 or 15 degrees cooler than the street.