Potro Square

Places of interest in Córdoba

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Potro Square

One of the squares most often described in poems, the Plaza del Potro.

At the end of the Calle de Lineros we find the Plaza del Potro and a street that also bears this name, which in 1862 was dedicated to the famous Cordovan poet Lucano, whose biographical details are so well known. It has been called de los Cordoneros, after the many Cordoneros who lived there, and de los Mesones, after the inn of La Madera which exists there, and those of La Espada and La Herradura, which were houses numbers 28 and 14. The first had an old cup sword hanging from a chain, and the other had several horseshoes painted on a board. The latter was set on fire by the factious when Gomez came, and two nationals who had taken refuge there were burnt by its flames, of which we shall give details when we deal with those events.

Near the inn of La Madera there was on the wall, until 1841, a beautiful painting of the Conception, the work of Antonio del Castillo, whose whereabouts we do not know, and which was called the Scribes’ because it was paid for by them, the owners of the said inn and of the houses in the immediate vicinity.

This whole place was known as El Potro, a name that embraced a large part of the neighbourhood, as the streets of Lineros, Badanas, Plazuela de San Nicolás and part of La Ribera were called La Curtiduría, due to the many tanneries that had existed along that route since Arab times.

El Potro was the place for the sale of horses and mules, and was therefore very popular, both with the people of Cordoba and with all the foreigners who came to see this city, so much so that it is mentioned in many works, especially those of the immortal Cervantes. Today, its land has been reduced by the construction of the Hospital de la Caridad and other buildings, and it is a small square between the streets of Lineros, Lucano, Sillería and a crossing that connects it with San Francisco. At one end of the square there is a fountain which until 1847 was on the opposite side. It was first built in 1577, and was crowned with a colt with its hands raised holding up the coat of arms of Cordoba, hence the name of this unique square, the Potro Square.

Poem to the Plaza del Potro

There was another madman in Cordova, who was in the habit of carrying a piece of marble slab or a not very light stone on his head, and when he came across a careless dog, he would place it next to his head and let the weight fall on him plumb down. Then the dog would get mad, and, barking and howling, he would not stop for three streets. So it happened that, among the dogs that unloaded the load, one of them was a dog belonging to a tanner, whom his owner was very fond of. He lowered the song, hit him on the head, and the dog raised his cry, and his master raped him and felt him, grabbed him with a measuring rod, and went out to the madman and left him no sound bone; and every blow he gave him he said: “Thieving dog, to my podenco? Did you not see, cruel one, that my dog was a podenco?” And, repeating the name of podenco many times, he sent the madman away as a henchman. The madman was chastened and withdrew, and for more than a month he did not go out into the square, after which time he returned with his invention and with a greater burden. He came to where the dog was, and, looking at him very carefully from one corner to the other, and without daring to unload the stone, he said: “This is a hound: watch out!” In fact, every dog he met, even if it was an Alano or a Gozque, he said that it was a Podenco; and so he never let go of the stone again”. Perhaps this is what may happen to this historian: that he will no longer dare to release the prey of his wit in books that, being bad, are harder than rocks.

Miguel de Cervantes

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