Ya´Far’s house in Madinat Al-Zahra
Dating of the building: 10th century.
Applicant: Antonio Vallejo Triano, Director of the Archaeological Complex of Madinat al-Zahra.
Reason for the award :
For the magnificent recovery of a unique example of Islamic palatial architecture from the Caliphate era, based on meticulous archaeological research.
The restoration works carried out on the stacks of materials spread over the site have made it possible to recompose more than 120 marble slabs and about 50 of violet limestone, some of which reach extraordinary dimensions.
In the historical process of recovery of the Caliphal city of Madinat Al-Zahra, one of the most significant projects is that of the so-called House of Ya’far. The building is located in the private area of the palace, to the south of the so-called service quarters. It is hypothetically identified with the residence of the Prime Minister –hayib– of the Caliphate State during the years 961 to 971 and has a complex articulated structure divided in three areas. One, official or working area, with three longitudinal naves and a transversal one resembling basilica style. Another, the private quarters, comprising a bedroom, preceded by a patio with a basin and its water pump. And a third, identified as service quarters. The complex, excavated in ancient times, underwent partial restorations over the years, which remained unfinished. Many of the slabs of marble and violet limestone fragments belonging to the pavement, more than 2.000, were found piled up in the different rooms of the site and in other annexed places.
This was the scene when the new intervention, begun in 2000, aimed at the complete transformation of the city into a museum highlighting its values and qualities. The project was to restore the city to its former splendour and to open it to the public.