House of the Pool
Located in the west of the House of Ya'far, the most outstanding feature of the House of the Pool is that it is the only building, of those excavated so far in Medina Azahara, which organizes its structure around a central space occupied by a garden. The date of the building is unknown, although it is thought to have been built in earlier times, based on artistic and archaeological criteria, which can also be used to support its identification as Caliph al-Hakam II’s residence –today widely accepted–, although this hypothesis has not been confirmed through the comparison of epigraphic remains or documentary sources.
The flower beds in the garden surround, in its western end, a small pool, where water was supplied by a water fountain (a small bronze animal), and connected to a ditch through two overflows. The ensemble is fenced with paths on its perimeter and a central one which marks the longitudinal axis of the house. In the northern part, an indoor double slope stairway connected the house to the street leading to the "Houses of the Servants", whereas in the southern part, the space of the garden was demarcated by a wall –of which there are no remains. With this layout, the space of the garden reinforced its isolation from the outside and its private character. The rooms in the House of the Pool are displayed in groups of two and they open to the shorter sides of the garden through their corresponding arches, decorated with Arabesques, and elevated in their central part over columns and at the ends, over pilasters.
A bathroom, originally for personal use, was attached to this building, which was part of the original design of the fortress. However, the later alterations in the design of the palatial city triggered its inhabitants and those of the House of Ya’far to share the bathroom. This transformation was due to the already mentioned hayib of al-Hakam II, Ya’far ibn Abd al-Rahman, whose name is written on the inscriptions found on three small arches decorating the hot room of the bathroom mentioned, dated in the years 960-961. It can be observed the similarity between the bathroom annexed to the house of the pool and the bathroom annexed to the "Rich Hall", both in their architectonic structure and its decorative organization, although we can also notice differences in the morphology of the hot room and the changing room. In any case, both bathrooms followed the example of those from the Islamic East.
If you are not sure what to do in Córdoba, we recommend you visit the Archaeological Site of Medina Azahara hiring one of our guided tours. We will pay special attention to the House of the Pool and its relevance in the site. Choose to do high quality sightseeing with qualified staff. Do not hesitate, ArtenCórdoba is the best option.
Text: Jesús Pijuán.