More than a thousand years ago, at the edge of Western Europe, 10th century Córdoba was the capital of Islamic Iberia, the “Jewel of the World”, symbolizing cultural and intellectual efflorescence. According to historical sources, the ruins of the mythical caliphal city-palace of Madīnat al-Zahrā were located a short distance further west of La Mezquita. The raison d’être of this citadel has been investigated from a multidisciplinary approach for more than two decades.
The significance of the roles of architecture, astronomy and philosophy at a time when Caliph Abd al-Rahman III embarked on building “The Brilliant City” in 941AD will be illustrated during a public talk by Ms Grace Cassar, entitled: Architecture of Power in 10th century Córdoba: research perspectives on the city-palace. While the elaborate artistic programme attests to the magnificence of the architectural styles, Ms Cassar’s research considers religious and philosophical factors as the possible prime motives behind the design of the royal ceremonial spaces.
Ms Grace Cassar is a postgraduate student at the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, University of Wales Trinity Saint David. The talk is part of the Archaeology Society Malta lecture series, sponsored by APS Bank and will be held at the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage, 173, St Christopher Street, Valletta on Wednesday, 18 January at 6pm.
Photo: Decorated façade of Dar al-Mulk, the royal residence in the Alcazar, Madīnat al-Zahrā, Córdoba. By Grace Cassar.