For the ninety-fifth year private home owners have opened up their patios to the public. Impressive flower displays can be seen festooning walls, balconies and wells.
The festival originated in 1918 as a competition for Cordobans to acquire the title of having the best patio in the town. First, second and third prizes are still awarded for the most beautiful and best preserved patios. Now, visitors come from far and wide to enjoy the flower displays and the event has been recognised as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
The courtyards are a typical architectural feature of many Andalucían properties that were influenced, if not indeed built, by the Moors who ruled over Andalucía for centuries. Shaded, often with water present in the form of a fountain or slow moving water channels, they are areas of calm and repose away from the bustle of the town.
In 1996 an association called ‘Claveles y Gitanillas’ (‘Carnations and Geraniums’) was founded in order to continue the upkeep of the traditional courtyards of Córdoba. The association also helps promote the annual patio festival through its website and has an educational programme for children to learn about plant management and the patio tradition.
This year, the city hall has selected a total of 48 patios to be displayed to the public: 16 old-style patios and 32 of modern architecture. Entrance into the patios requires a ticket but is free of charge. Donations towards their maintenance can be given.