Muscat Daily - - BREAK -

Ev­ery spring, in the be­gin­ning of May, the city of Cor­doba, in south­ern Spain, bursts into bloom with spe­cial fes­tiv­i­ties as the city launches into its spring cel­e­bra­tions.

It starts off with a pa­rade known as the ‘Bat­tle of the Flow­ers’, fol­lowed by the much an­tic­i­pated Pa­tio Con­tests called ‘Los Pa­tios de Cór­doba’ or ‘Fi­esta of the pa­tios’.

Dur­ing the next two weeks, the peo­ple of Cor­doba throw open the doors to their pri­vate pa­tios as a fierce com­pe­ti­tion for the most beau­ti­ful pa­tio en­sues. Pa­tio own­ers dec­o­rate their or­nate iron grills and bal­conies with plants and flow­ers, mainly jas­mine, gera­ni­ums and car­na­tions.

Car­pets of flow­ers, hand­made Is­lamic mo­saics and strik­ing wa­ter fea­tures adorn the court­yards. Nor­mally, the pa­tios are pri­vately owned and un­avail­able for pub­lic view­ing, but dur­ing the fes­ti­val, the beau­ti­fully dec­o­rated pa­tios are open for all to see. The best con­served and most beau­ti­ful pa­tio is voted on and the win­ner is recog­nised not only with a mone­tary prize but also with the pres­tige and ad­mi­ra­tion of hav­ing the best pa­tio in the city.

Cor­doba’s cli­mate is hot and dry, and so homes in Cor­doba have been built with a cen­tral pa­tio through­out the city's his­tory, go­ing back to Ro­man times.

But it was the Arabs who started dec­o­rat­ing the pa­tios and in­tro­duced plants and wa­ter fea­tures as a way to keep homes cool. These court­yards were spe­cial in­ner spa­ces where fam­i­lies con­gre­gated and es­caped the sum­mer heat. You can still find some pa­tios that date back to the 10th cen­tury when Cor­doba was the cen­tre of Al-An­dalus, the Mus­lim caliphate in the Ibe­rian Penin­sula and its largest city with a half mil­lion in­hab­i­tants.

Pa­tio beau­ti­fi­ca­tion were fur­thered by the Chris­tians who con­quered the city in the 13th cen­tury and took over the best houses. By the end of Re­nais­sance, ‘re­ceiv­ing pa­tios’ or court­yards started ap­pear­ing.


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Oman

© PressReader. All rights reserved.