Active Project

Courtyard Houses of Axerquía

Córdoba, Spain

One of the Largest Historic Districts in Europe

The historic center of Córdoba in Spain is one of the largest historic districts in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984, when the Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba was inscribed. The designation expanded to include the entire district in 1994. The city was founded as a Roman settlement in 206 BC, and flourished as a center of knowledge during the years of the Caliphate of Córdoba, between the eighth and eleventh centuries.

The city has developed adapting the Islamic urban fabric through time, adapting the public space while maintaining the courtyard residential typology.

Management, Welfare, and Tourism

Today, Córdoba is internationally known for its Mosque, its historic quarters and courtyard houses. These courtyards host the Fiesta de los Patios—an annual festival which receives thousands of visitors and is recognized as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. The historic district is suffering from depopulation as long-term residents abandon their courtyard houses seeking a more comfortable life. In recent years, the debate on the welfare of the residents in the historic quarters has risen. Private  initiatives such as PAX were established by local groups to regenerate the historic center by restoring the abandoned courtyard houses via citizens groups constituted in housing cooperatives. At the same time, the municipality of Cordoba carries out the Management plan that will ensure a better living for the inhabitants of the historic city.

The Courtyard Houses of Axerquía were included on the 2020 World Monuments Watch to place a spotlight on local efforts to repopulate the historic district and encourage further stakeholder and government engagement. WMF will support the local community and public institutions in their efforts to change the paradigm and ensure a more resilient and inclusive historic center in Córdoba.

One of Seven Sites Awarded Funding by American Express

In September 2020, American Express announced $1 million in funding to support preservation efforts at seven 2020 Watch sites. Included among these were the courtyard houses of Axerquía in Spain. Support from American Express is allowing WMF to support local efforts to realize new solutions that can mitigate depopulation and mass tourism's impact on the famed courtyard houses neighborhood while still providing local economic benefit.

Last updated:
July 2021

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