Picture: Municipal Archive


A courtyard is an outdoor space in a house that provides lighting and ventilation to the other rooms. In addition, its accessible location makes it a communal area, the centre of family life.
The image of a Cordovan courtyard has its legacy in the Islamic house, which was characterised by the construction of façades facing inwards. The external appearance is irrelevant as it is merely constituted by a blind wall. After the Christian conquest of the city, this architectural structure was maintained and still exists in houses today.


As well as presenting a façade, a courtyard is distinguished by its decoration with many flowers planted in beds and pots, which either hang from the walls or are placed on a Chinese-style paving specific to Cordoba. Along with these aspects, wells or fountains embellish the space, creating a beautiful image in which water, light and vegetation fuse together; a clear reflection of the city’s Arabic past. To complete the ornamentation, owners usually include antique furniture, iron cooking implements, shafts, capitals or other archaeological remnants.

Trueque nº4, Córdoba


As each courtyard has its own unique architecture (the product of diverse historical evolutions), establishing typologies is an arduous task. However, in general, the courtyards are divided into two basic groups:

Monumental and stately courtyards: those pertaining to old palaces of the local aristocracy or notable religious buildings, such as the Patio de los Naranjos (the Orange Tree Courtyard), or those of the synagogue and the Santuario de la Fuensanta (Sanctuary of Fuensanta). Among the stately courtyards, the Palacio de Viana (Palace of Viana) stands out, integrating twelve courtyards with different architectural styles.

Competition courtyards: all the courtyards that have participated in the municipal competition since its beginning in 1921 until the present. At the same time, there are two types that correspond to the competition categories: courtyards with old architecture and courtyards with modern or renovated architecture. The first category refers to those that were built up until the seventies and conserve their main structural features. On the other hand, the courtyards with modern architecture are those that belong to new houses constructed after the demolition of a previous dwelling, or which have undergone such a degree of intervention that the most significant elements have been lost.