Cordoba lies in the city of Andalusia in southern Span and is the capital of the province of the same name. The city was once an Iberian and a Roman city in the ancient times and was also the capital of an Islamic caliphate, which has resulted in an interesting and diverse mix of cultures and architectural structures that has led the ancient city to become one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Cordoba is famous for tourist attractions such as the Medina Azahara, which are the ruins of the ancient Western Caliphate back in 940; the La Mezquita which is a Mosque with a Cathedral built inside; the Plaza del Potro, which is the square where Don Quixote de la Macha stayed during one of his adventures; and the Calleja de las Flores, a beautiful narrow street, filled with flowers and a tiny square at the end.
Spring is a pretty festive month for the residents of Cordoba. The whole month of May is filled with festivals starting with a parade known as the “Battle of the Flowers.” The May festivals begin with the May Crosses that take place during the first week, followed by the Patio contests which begin on the second week, and lasts all the way to the middle of the month, after which, it is followed by the annual fair that happens at the end of May.
During the second and third week of May, the doors to Cordoba’s patios swing open for everyone to see and provide visitors and locals with an explosion of vivid colors that lends the otherwise sweltering city a burst of life and the fragrant scent of flowers.
The May Patio Contest Festival started on 1918 and is the result of how Cordoba’s residents battle the oppressive heat by filling their central patios with plants and water features to bring the temperature down. During the patios festival, the houses of the historic center open their patios to the public to compete in the contest where each patio is judged on its architectural value as well as the floral decorations, and it’s not only the private-single family homes that participate in this festival, but also larger, low-built apartment-style buildings with their lavishly groomed courtyards.
During this festival, it’s usually hard to find accommodations, especially ones that are inexpensive. The festival has become such a big hit, so much so that the patio displays have gone beyond the vast offerings of the private sector to include a number of “monument” patios such as the Viana Palace, officially recognized as the “Historic Garden,” which has 12 different patios that visitors can see. Also on the list of must-see patios are convents and religious buildings in Cordoba such as the Encarnacion, Santa Isabel de los Angeles, Las Capuchinas, Santa Maria, Santa Cruz, Jesus Crucifado, Nuestra Senora de las Nieves, Corpus Cristi, and San Pedro Real. There is also the Circulo de la Amistad, and the Facultad de Derecho law department at the local university.