Nine reasons to visit Córdoba in May

Patios, crosses and wine. Everybody talks about Córdoba during the month of May. A month in which many of the most important events of this city take place: “el Festival de los Patios” (The Courtyards Festival), “las Cruces de Mayo” (the May Crosses Festival) y “la Feria de Córdoba” (the Córdoba Fair). Although any time of the year is good for visiting, this destination bewitches travelers with its flowery courtyards during spring time.

Considered the city of the Three Cultures, Romans, Muslims, Jews and Christians have left a deep legacy in the heritage, culture and traditions of this historic city. Córdoba is one of those places that hooks you, once you visit it once, you will always come back. May is the festive month par excellence of the Andalusian city, so we invite you to discover these and other must-sees of this magical city.

The weather

Imagine a place and a season of the year where the best place to be is outdoors. With an average temperature of 25 degrees Celsius, no rain or downpours. A climate that continually invites you to be happy, laugh and dream. That place is Córdoba during the months of March to June.

Spring brings joy and celebration and Córdoba bursts into bloom. This city knows quite well how to celebrate the arrival of such a long awaited moment, the Orange Blossom announces the arrival of the season and the close link that the province has with its patios. From Hispanic Arabic and classical Arabic, Azahar means flowers, symbol of spring in Córdoba with its aromas and colors from March to May.

The May crosses

Every year, on the first weekend of May, the inhabitants of Córdoba erect large crosses in many corners of the city. They are decorated with flowers, plants, flowerpots and other decorative objects. The most beautiful crosses are awarded prizes by the city council.

The main neighborhoods of Córdoba during the May Crosses are San Basilio, San Andrés, Santa Marina, San Agustín and the downtown area. Although the exact origin of this popular tradition is not known, it is known that the first contest was organized by the City Council in 1953.

Nowadays, a large May Cross is erected, adorned with many flowers, especially white or red carnations. It is accompanied by other decorative objects such as flower pots. And around this cross, a bar is set up where you can taste the typical cuisine of Córdoba accompanied, of course, with a glass of wine D.O. Montilla Moriles. Shall we go on a tour of the Crosses?

The Festival of the Patios

Once the Crosses of May are over, the great festival of the Patios of Córdoba – one of the great attractions of the city which has also been declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity – begins. Since 1921 Córdoba adorns its facades with more than 2500 geraniums and gitanillas. The owners, in addition to trying to get the prize, offer a spectacle of color and scents to the the people from Córdoba and tourists who come to this enchanting Andalusian city in May.

Where to see the best patios? In San Basilio street is where the most beautiful ones are concentrated. It is essential to visit the dozen patios of the Palacio de Viana, each with a different architecture and floral decoration. In total 58 patios can be visited, do not miss them.

There is no better way to enter Córdoba than by crossing the Roman bridge that spans the banks of the Guadalquivir and leads directly into the old town. Real gems await you there:

La Mezquita de Córdoba

Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984, the Mosque of Córdoba is a spectacular work of art. It is not surprising that this marvel attracts more than a million people every year, as it is one of the most beautiful examples of Muslim art in Spain.

This architectural hybrid, which has gone from being a temple of Islamic worship to a Christian cathedral, has undergone over the years different extensions that have enriched it. The Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba is the most important monument in the Islamic West and one of the most amazing in the world. Its history summarizes the complete evolution of the Umayyad style in Spain, in addition to the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles of Christian construction.

Enter through the Door of Forgiveness and contemplate the wonderful Patio de los Naranjos. The forest of columns and overlapping arches is indescribable. After strolling through the Arab area, visit the Christian Cathedral. Construction began in the early 14th century in the heart of the mosque itself. Pay special attention to the Mihrab, inside the qibla wall, the Gothic-style Main Chapel and the Royal Chapel with its Mudejar-style decoration.

“El Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos” (Fortress of the Catholic Monarchs)

Just 8 minutes on foot, following the Guadalquivir riverbed, you will arrive at the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. A fortress-palace built by Alfonso XI the righteous in 1328, which keeps inside centuries of history, Roman, Visigoth and Arab remains. All this is articulated around beautiful Mudejar-style gardens decorated with leafy trees, aromatic herbs and flowers.

Also noteworthy is the Hall of Mosaics, where you can see an authentic collection of Roman pieces from the subsoil of the corridor. The Tower of the Lions and the Tower of Homage are two perfect places to take excellent panoramic views of the city; and the pagan sarcophagus, from the first quarter of the third century, which is exhibited in one of its rooms. Great events took place in the Alcázar, among them, the reception of Christopher Columbus by the Catholic Monarchs to approve his voyage to the Indies.

The narrow streets of the Jewish Quarter of Córdoba

For a stroll, head to the Jewish quarter of Córdoba. This confusing network of cobblestone and whitewashed streets is a journey back in time that will leave you bewildered by the beauty of its streets and facades.

In the heart of the city, not far from the Mosque, stands the only remaining synagogue in Andalusia. It also highlights the street of the Jews with the Andalusian House, the House of Memory, the Plaza de Tiberiades chaired by Maimonides, and the street of Tomas Conde.

A good plan is to visit early in the morning -and without any hurry- the craft and gift stores of the Jewish quarter. This is the ideal time when the streets are quiet. Between visits you can stop for a drink in one of the many bars, taste the rich gastronomy, which is crowned by the salmorejo.

Medina Azahara, the tale of a thousand and one nights

And although there is much to see in this wonderful city, we can not miss a nice getaway to Medina Azahara, which is located just eight kilometers from Córdoba. An essential visit for all those interested in the Hispano-Muslim legacy in the city and by extension in Al-Andalus.

Medina Azahara was ordered to be built between 936 and 976 by Abderraman III, the caliph of Córdoba, whose rule elevated the city to its maximum splendor. This city in its day was all luxury: more than 15,000 gates and 4313 marble columns, palaces, ponds and gardens.

“Feria de Nuestra Señora de la Salud” (Our Lady of Health Fair)

Every year, to close the month of May, the Fair of Our Lady of Health takes place. This is characterized by having the largest fairground in Spain. A colorful space that turns the city of Córdoba into a place of celebration, dancing and partying until the wee hours of the morning.

The joy of the sevillanas, the fine wine, the tapas, the Córdoban hat and the combs give color and flavor to the city. This celebration is the popular expression of the way of being and understanding life of the people of Córdoba.

Currently, the celebration of this festival is paused until the health situation improves because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Cordobeses and tourists are looking forward to enjoy again among the stalls of the Córdoba Fair.

The Wine of Montilla

Córdoba’s famous May, full of festivities, would not be complete without its gastronomy. To go into Córdoba means to take by the hand its taverns, its tiles, its tapas and its fino. Taste recipes as rich as Salmorejo cordobés, Rabo de toro (oxtail), Flamenquines, Pastel cordobés or Alcachofas a la montillana (artichokes). Of course, all washed down with a Montilla-Moriles wine.

In fact, at the end of April the Wine Tasting is held and more than 20 wineries offer their wines to all the people from Córdoba who come to taste the exquisite wines produced in their land. Always accompanied by tapas from the most popular taverns of Córdoba.

Some of the most emblematic taverns are: Casa El Pisto, the Taberna Salinas, with almost 140 years of life or the Bodega Guzman, next to the synagogue.

Schedule a trip to Córdoba before the end of the month, and discover another of the wonderful cities of Andalusia. At AMA Residences Andalucía we are sure you will come back from this getaway with a full stomach, a happy heart and full of happiness.