Cordoba Patio Festival
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Every spring Córdoba bursts into bloom with special festivities for the month of May. The fist two weeks of May it starts with the Patio Contest. The Patio contests is sponsored by the Córdoba City Hall and began in 1918.
Due to a hot, dry climate homes in Córdoba were built with a central patio even back in the days of the Romans. Filling the central patio with plants and water features has always been a way to keep local homes cool. But, thanks to human creativity and ingenuity, patio decoration ended up taking on a life all its own and at some point, someone realized that these hidden treasures were just too good to be kept tucked away behind heavy doors and iron grates. So, once a year, the doors open and everyone is invited in to see the wonders of Córdoba’s patios.
These patios not only offer a visual feast of colorful flowers, stone mosaics and ceramic decorations, but also bring out the classic scents of Córdoba: jasmine and orange blossom mixed with a myriad of scents from the many other flowers and plants that bring the city – and this festival – alive.
A vast range of patios await your viewing in Córdoba every year, with not only private, single-family homes opening their doors to show you the lovely courtyards around which their old-style homes centre. There are also larger, low-built, apartment-style buildings that have amazing courtyards where often many gardeners will work together all year to cultivate the special gems that are their shared meeting areas.
The 50 or so Patios from the competition are freely open to the public. The Patios have unusual opening hours, they closed between the hours of 2pm until 6pm in the afternoon. Locals will tell you that they need to have time to spruce up their patios and take the essential Spanish siesta, so beware that you don't miss out on this amazing festival. (source: http://www.andalucia.com/cities/cordoba/patios.htm)