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RSEHN >> Publicaciones >> Bol. R. Soc. Esp. Hist. Nat. 108, 2014 >> Artículos de Investigación

Bol. R. Soc. Esp. Hist. Nat. 108, 2014


Artículos de Investigación

Antecedentes históricos de jardines botánicos en Córdoba y origen del Real Jardín Botánico de Córdoba


Historical precedents of botanical gardens and origin of the Real Botanical Garden of Córdoba

Ángel Montero

Bol. R. Soc. Esp. Hist. Nat. 108, 2014

Resumen

Son varias las citas bibliográficas sobre jardines históricos en Córdoba, tanto de aclimatación, como botánicos desde el siglo VIII al XIX. Aunque hay un salto temporal importante en las citas de la existencia de estos jardines desde el final del periodo de dominación árabe al siglo XVIII, con una continuación en el XIX y XX, sí podemos hablar de lo que parece una cierta tradición en Córdoba. Todos ellos están hoy desaparecidos, lo que deja en la cita bibliográfica o documental el registro de su existencia o, como mucho, en posibles restos indirectos de aquella actividad, sobre todo arqueológicos. Dichos jardines han formado parte, en mayor o menor medida, de la historia de la ciudad. Se desconoce durante cuanto tiempo estuvieron activos, salvo el jardín botánico del antiguo Instituto Provincial (s. XIX-XX) que lo hizo durante cincuenta años.

Heredero de esta tradición es el actual Real Jardín Botánico de Córdoba, que comenzó su andadura en 1980 con una decisión del Ayuntamiento en sesión plenaria.

Previamente, había tenido lugar un cambio en el Plan General de Ordenación Urbana para adaptar el lugar a zona verde y ampliar un parque creado años antes. A raíz de este cambio, la Universidad de Córdoba planteó al Consistorio la creación de un jardín botánico en ese lugar como alternativa a la ampliación del parque. La idea fue bien recibida por el Ayuntamiento, que tomó la decisión de crear el que actualmente es el Real Jardín Botánico de Córdoba.

Palabras clave: Jardines botánicos, Jardines de aclimatación, Historia, Córdoba, España.

Abstract

Many are the references about historical gardens, both acclimation and botanical, in Córdoba from the 8th until 19th centuries. Even though there is an important time leap in the references about the existence of such gardens from the period of Arabic dominance until 18th century, with new episodes in 19th and 20th, we can see these gardens as a tradition in Córdoba. Abd al-Rah1 man I (8th century) had plants in his Al-Rusafa Palace which he had ordered to bring from Syria and other regions in order for them to acclimatise and distribute them all over the country later, like it occurred with a pomegranate tree variety. Abd al-Rahman III (10th century) may have had a garden of medicinal plants at the riverbank, to the west, outside the city. Already in the 18th century, it is known the existence of a botanical garden in a bishopric property since 1342 named “Alameda del Obispo”, located in the outskirts of Córdoba and which also contained a labyrinth of hedgerows and gardens. It is likely that the creation of such botanical garden was driven by the spirit of the Age of Enlightenment. There are also evidences of an attempt by Andrés Palacios, a Cordovan amateur naturalist associated with the court, to acclimatise American plants sent by Spanish members of expeditions to the viceroyalties. This project, clearly individual, did not have the support of any institution neither in Córdoba nor in Madrid, what, together with the limited knowledge in Botany of Andrés Palacios, made it last for only two years (1785-1787) before disappearing. There are also two references in the 19th century: 1) a garden located to the northeast outside the city, financed by a noble, where plants unknown in the city were acclimatised and 2) the Provincial Institute garden, located in the city centre. Unfortunately, all of them have disappeared in these days, and bibliographic references, documentary archives or, at most, archeological remains are what left from their existence. All of these gardens have been part of the history of the city to a greater or lesser extent. It is not known for how long they were active, except for the Provincial Institute garden which lasted for more than fifty years (1858-1909).

At the end of the 1970s, there was a change in the General Urban Distribution Plan (GUDP) to adapt a riverbank stretch and include it as a part of a park built years before. Such modification in the GUDP allowed the University of Córdoba to propose to the city council the idea of creating a botanical garden in such place as an alternative to the extension of the park. The Council, in a plenary session, approved such proposal in 1980 and the Botanical Garden of Córdoba was inaugurated in 1987 having an agricultural space, an arboretum, a systematic collection, greenhouses, a small area of aromatic plants (touch-olfactory garden) and a rose garden. The Botanical Garden of Córdoba has been growing in area (from 5,5 to 7,5 hectares) and exhibitions offer: the Museum of Ethonobotany was inaugurated in 1992, the Interpretation Unit and the Andalusian Seedbank in 2001 and the Museum of Paleobotany in 2002. In 2012, due to the 25th anniversary, the title of “Real” was added to the institution name to become the Real Botanical Garden of Córdoba (Real Jardín Botánico de Córdoba). Finally, a small botanic garden is planned to be inaugurated in a secondary school, one of the heir of yhe old provincial institute. Therefore, this historical review makes evident the existence of botanic and acclimatization gardens since the Arab domination period until now. There is a temporal gap in the high Medieval-Renaissance period, but they remained in the future as part of the Andalusian botanical tradition long-established in the city.

Keywords: : Botanical gardens, Acclimation gardens, History, Córdoba, Spain.





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(c) Real Sociedad Española de Historia Natural. Facultades de Biología y Geología. Universidad Complutense de Madrid. 28040-Madrid - e-mail: rsehno@bio.ucm.es