The Patio de los Naranjos in the Cordoba Mosque-Cathedral, considered by numerous sources to be “the oldest living garden in Europe”, became one of the most iconic spaces of the festival in 2021. This place which botanists, landscape
artists and floral artists from across the globe dream of visiting, where centuries of history reverberate, transforms into a space for contemporary floral creation for a few days.
The history of Patio de los Naranjos is as long and fascinating as that of the Mosque-Cathedral itself. The ancient ablutions courtyard from the Caliphate era gave way to a Christian courtyard: it went from being a space for ritual purification prior to Muslim prayer to acting as a meeting place for Cordoba society, becoming one the crucial backdrops for the development of Catholic ceremony in the Cathedral and witnessing the passing of the most important ceremonies. The orange trees, palm trees and cypresses – dating from the late 16th century, according to most historical sources – currently spread out in rows across the courtyard seem to act like a projection to the exterior of the columns dotting the prayer hall inside.
The Cordoba Mosque-Cathedral has been a National Monument since 1882. It was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1984 and in June 2014 it was raised to the category of Asset of Outstanding Universal Value, acknowledging that the religious use of the temple has ensured the preservation of the monument.