If you have an interest in Spain or Andalusia, you will probably have heard of the Cordoba patios festival. This is celebrated each year in May. I wasn’t able to visit Cordoba myself until Mid June so I was not expecting to actually see any patios as the festival is only 9 days in May.
Luckily for me, it turns out that the Patios of Cordoba were declared UNESCO Cultural Heritage in 2012. This year 2013 is the first year that you can see Cordoba patios when the festival has ended. Since this UNESCO decision some neighbours in the Alcazar Viejo district organised their patios for visiting. I must mention that the City of Cordoba is a UNESCO World Heritage site too.
These beautiful Andalusian Patios which you can now visit outside the competition dates are located close to the Alcazar de los Reyes Catolicos on San Basilio street. The group of neighbours have each patio clearly marked with these signs outside. We visited 7 different houses on this route. The entrance fee was 5 euros per person and was well worth it. The group has a Facebook page of the Patios del Alcazar Viejo.
While walking around these colourful Andalusian homes I try to imagine all the work involved. Lots of watering, deadheading and replacing faded plants. So many individual plants make up each display. The cane with a tin can on is to water the plant pots high on the walls without having to always use the ladder. With the hot temperatures in Cordoba this really is a labour of love. The Cordoba Patios remind me of the Crosses of May celebrated in Granada and Cordoba each Spring.
The patios aren’t just about the flowers and plant pots. They are also about local traditions and customs. Often you can see local ceramics, baskets or tools decorating the walls too.
At first it seems odd knocking on the door and asking to be let into the house of a stranger. But it´s soon clear that the people doing this have a passion for their home, the tradition and for the festival.I was very happy to see the Cordoba Patios even though I hadn’t counted on it. The photos don´t quite seem to do them justice. On this visit to Cordoba I´d planned to visit the Palacio de Viana. This is quite close to the Hotel where we stayed Hospes Palacio del Bailio.
The Palacio de Viana has 12 patios and a garden so it fits in neatly with the Patio and garden theme. This 16th Century building has a layout completely planned with the focus on the outdoor space. All the rooms of the house look out onto a garden or patio.
When visiting you can choose to visit just the gardens and patios. There is also a combined ticket to see the inside of the house too. The Palacio de Viana is packed full of fountains, trees, plants and flowers. If you are a green fingers I´m sure you´ll enjoy this visit. This vertical garden pictured above was a stunning curtain of tiny blue flowers. It was actually a little too big to fit into the shot. Vertical gardens seem to be a new trend in gardening now but they have actually been around for sometime as we can see here.
This garden with this delicate water feature reminded me of a similar fountain in Granada´s Generalife. This garden above is called Jardin de la Reja. Quite stunning. While here you could hear the peaceful sound of the trickling water and the birds in the trees. The visit to inside of the house was a guided tour. It was scheduled just as we had arrived. The house has tapestries, fine arts, chandeliers and ancient books from over 100´s of years ago in it´s library.
Some of the rooms inside reminded me of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire as the time period of some of the furniture was a similar to the ones I´d seen there. Some of the delicate soft furnishings or glass chandeliers were quite extravagant and eye catching. You can get more details on the website: Palacio de Viana:
Walking around the shady patios and the beautiful gardens of the Palacio de Viana made a really pleasant part of my Cordoba weekend. If you want to find out more about my trip, see my first post: Restaurants in Cordoba
The final part about Cordoba, post 3 will be a general overview of the other parts of the city I visited and a review of the accomodation.