May in Cordoba (Andalusia, Spain) is a special month, everything changes when spring arrives and the streets of the city dress in flowers and smell in a special way. This is the month that the people of Cordoba have chosen for their well-known fair, but it is also the month chosen for the festival of 'patios'. Perhaps you have already heard of them, but what is this festival of the courtyards of Cordoba? Is it worth coming to Cordoba?
To get to Cordoba and get to know Andalusia it is best to rent a car at Malaga Airport. From there, you can visit Malaga, Seville and Cordoba in a two hour drive. The courtyards of Cordoba bring to light a part of the recent history of the city that has left its imprint in its essence but which in turn drinks from its Muslim and Roman past. Because the Andalusian courtyard is nothing more than an adaptation of the Roman atrium, after being modified by the Muslims settled in the peninsula, who added the fountain, in many occasions the well of water and of course filled it with vegetation. This architectural element has remained to this day becoming a pride for the city.
The courtyards of Cordoba were for the community of neighbours what public squares were in their day for the great medinas: the majority of the Cordobians made their life around these spaces, they had meals there in summer, they cooked there on special occasions, there they told the stories that were told from parents to children.
However, it was not until the 1920s (some say in 1921, others in 1918) that the city council realized the importance of these nerve centres to Cordoba and decided to promote and preserve it with a contest, the Festival of the courtyards, where the better cared area was rewarded with a good sum of money. Thanks to this conservative work, the festival has lasted to the present day, currently there are dozens of patios competing every year.
Is it worth your visit? Undoubtedly. It is amazing to see the result of weeks of effort translated into a charming, peaceful place, as if drawn from a fairy tale, where you can rest, talk and have a good time with your family. It is also a good occasion to check the hospitality of these neighbours, perhaps inherited from their Arab past, when they speak to us proudly of their patio while they offer us perhaps a glass of wine from the zone.
Not in vain this festival was declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity by Unesco last year, thus ensuring its preservation and increasing the influx of visitors. The Festival of the courtyards of Cordoba takes place this year in May, are you going to miss it?