The Patios of Cordoba

The Patios of Cordoba

The Patios of Cordoba Photo: Cordoba Town Hall

Andalucian patios are true jewels of Spanish architecture and culture, especially during the spring, when temperatures become warmer and plants begin to bloom. These courtyards become true oases of colour and fragrance which is why Cordoba organises a competition every year to choose the most beautiful one in the town.

A total of 52 patios will open their doors for the Competition of Patios of Cordoba 2024, which include 23 patios of historic architecture, 20 modern ones and nine unique ones. The opening and closing times of the courtyards will be from 11am until 2pm and from 6pm to 10pm during each day of the festival.

Admission is free and you will only have to wait in line to gain access. It is recommended to be there early in the morning to avoid crowds and the high temperatures that usually occur on these days.

Unesco World Heritage site

The courtyards are divided into two categories: ancient and modern architecture. For each of these divisions, the first prize is €3,000. The jury may also, according to the rules, award an Honourable Mention, worth €4,000, to the courtyard that stands out for one of the following criteria: its track record in winning prizes; its idiosyncrasy in transmitting the values considered by Unesco to give this festival the title of Intangible Heritage of Humanity; and its continued high level of quality.

Due to the dry and hot climate of Córdoba, the inhabitants of the city, first the Romans and later the Muslims, adapted the typology of their houses centred around a courtyard, which normally had a fountain in the centre and on many occasions a well to collect rainwater. The Muslims readapted this scheme by making the entrance to the house from the street through a hallway and adding abundant plants to increase the sensation of freshness.

The most characteristic neighbourhood is that of the Alcázar Viejo, between the Alcázar and the parish church of San Basilio, although they can also be found in the Santa Marina neighbourhood, around San Lorenzo and La Magdalena. In the area surrounding the Mosque-Cathedral, the Jewish quarter also has examples of great beauty and antiquity. One of the most beautiful examples is the Palacio de Viana.

Since 1921, during the first fortnight of May, Cordoba Council has organised a Competition, in which the owners of the patios decorate their homes with a multitude of flowers planted in flowerbeds and pots, which are hung on the walls or placed on the typical Cordoban paving.

The festival also includes numerous folkloric performances featuring the best singers and dancers of the region. All this is accompanied by Montilla-Moriles wine, local fino with typical tapas.

More information is available at the website – at

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Written by

Kevin Fraser Park

Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.