Concepts of Power and the Evolution of Palace Architecture in the West-Islamic Caliphate
The palatial city Madīnat al-Zahrāʾ (near Córdoba/Spain) was founded by ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III in the 10th c. CE, a few years after his claim to the caliphate and thus leadership of the entire Islamic community. The research project focuses on the architecture of the so called „Salón Basilical Superior”, one of the two main reception halls in the official sector of the palace, its adjacent buildings and its system of access. The aim of the project is to examine how the architecture and the urban planning reflected the self-perception of the role of the caliph. The project will investigate the relationship between the architectural design and the spatial organisation and the court ceremony known from historic sources, and how architectural and urban concepts from the ancient, Byzantine and Islamic world were adapted and developed further. Of special interest are the new building measures and modifications effected after the shift of the caliphal seat from Córdoba to Madīnat al-Zahrāʾ in the wake of administrative reforms undertaken by ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III and his successors.