Patios de Córdoba: ten years watering a world heritage

And why do you say that the patios are open today? asked a lady who looked confused in various directions at her daughter, who was a few meters away from the route. The daughter replied that it was for her tenth anniversary. The mother took it for granted, although it is quite probable that she did not know precisely what she meant by the tenth anniversary, given that the Patios de Córdoba, in reality, are a centuries-old tradition (as a contest) and, if you hurry, millennial as an urban element.

Ten years since the Patios de Córdoba were opened to Humanity


The ten years the young woman was talking about are those between this cloudy Tuesday and December 6, 2012, the day Unesco decided that the Patios de Córdoba would cease to be a local festival to become a world heritage site. , a title that caretakers and owners have had to assume and water each year, while the city and its houses were filled with tourists.

Far from the crowds of May, the patios have opened their doors this Tuesday in an extraordinary way, as a gesture to the past and as a nod to the present. In the year in which tourism has returned to Córdoba after two pandemic ballast exercises, the houses of the people of Cordoba have reopened to tourists on the December long weekend, who in many cases had not the remotest idea that they were going to be that lucky.

A bridge in which the rain has invited itself, although in the case of this day, it has done so more as a threat than as a reality. The city, meanwhile, has once again been divided into two areas: a much busier one, the Alcázar Viejo and San Basilio, and a much quieter one, the entire Axerquía Norte and the courtyards of the central neighborhoods.

Thus, the closest thing to a queue in the courtyards existed in the Alcázar, and it did not add up to more than five or six people. There, the closest thing to a party has also been lived there, since some owners have improvised small flamenco concerts, thus recovering a part of the festive character of the Patios that practically took the Unesco title, which inadvertently favored, the tourist visit (quick, almost fleeting, like an Instagram story) in the face of the spirit of civilizing encounter that has always been behind this tradition, whose contest celebrated its hundredth anniversary in 2021.

Three routes, two cities

There is also a ruckus in the Plaza de San Agustín, where, shortly before twelve, there are dozens of women with Santa Claus hats making time to enter the Palacio de Viana, where there is a concert by the Cajasur Opera Choir from Cordovan popular songs. However, the rumor dies down as one moves away from the square.

In fact, in Pozanco street, silence reigns and it smells like a fireplace. At the patio door that is open, there is a family of Colombians scrutinizing the cell phone. They allow themselves to be accompanied through the narrow streets to the San Lorenzo area, and they say that the patios have reminded them of those of the colonial houses of Cartagena de Indias. They ask some information about the party and also about the flowers, which the journalist tries to answer without too much depth, aware that a very important part of the visit is to chat with the owners.

The family is in Córdoba spending two days, as part of a trip through Andalusia that brings them from Seville and will take them to Granada that same night, before catching a plane in Malaga. On their journey they pass through Calle Trueque, where the Patios Interpretation Center is located, which could answer some questions, but which is still closed and only opens slowly, when the press or the opposition name it.

They enter San Juan de Palomares street towards the headquarters of the Association of Carnations and Gitanillas, which is open this Tuesday. There, more questions arise: What is that flower? asks one of the children. “They’re poinsettias,” replies the father. And, next to them, some loophole remains of the classic geraniums and gypsies, accompanied in winter by azaleas, bougainvilleas, pansies or kalanchoes, many of them open to water these days, after a particularly dry year in Córdoba.

As they were leaving, on the way to the Town Hall, the sun began to break through the clouds and shower the pots with light. The last question, which almost seemed like a reflection, was lost down the alley and slipped into the well in the patio, a black hole in the middle of a hole in a stone rim, located next to a beautiful traditional Arab basin.

“How will they maintain so much plant?”

Patios de Córdoba: ten years watering a world heritage