Of the two residences located in the south of the "Houses of the Servants", the eastern one is the "House of Ya'far". It takes its name after Ya'far ibn Abd al-Rahman, who was appointed prime minister (hayib) in the year 961 and died ten years later. This figure is especially relevant at an artistic level, for, during the time he was prime minister, he led the works in the central pavilion of Medina Azahara and the extension of the Mosque of Córdoba commissioned by Caliph al-Hakam II, as can be read on the inscription of the mirhab. The coincidence between the ascent to the throne of the mentioned caliph and the appointment of Ya'far ibn Abd al-Rahman as prime minister allows us to date the beginning of the construction of the "House of Ya'far" in the first date suggested, the year 961, lacking other documentary or epigraphic testimonies.
The layout of the building was adapted to a demarcated space previously used where there were some constructions which were either transformed or demolished to build others. The house was conceived as a residence for the private use of the high figure of the caliphal court we have mentioned. In its structure, we can find three spaces, organized around their corresponding courtyards: a public one, a private one and one for the servants.
The "official space” of the House of Ya'far consists of a building with a floor similar to a basilica, with three longitudinal naves connected between them through doors with horseshoe arches, and a transversal nave opened to the courtyard, where the connection between the longitudinal naves and the façade is cut, with the aim of adapting the façade to the space created by the building of an adjacent bathroom. The façade is organized with a triple horseshoe arch supported by columns. As for the decoration of the building, this was paved with thick white marble tiles, except for the courtyard, where violet limestone was used. Besides, we can highlight the decoration with Arabesques on the façade –with vegetable and geometric motifs–, which is also present in the alcove connecting the transversal and central naves, where there are both boards at the front and jambs of the opening.
On the eastern side of this area there are a latrine and corridor, stepped in depth, which leads to the "private space" of the house. This second space has a series of rooms finishing in a bedroom, preceded by a courtyard with a marble sink (located in the centre) and a water fountain.
On the western side, the annexed rooms –which must have been built before the construction of the "House of Ya'far" itself– connected to the “private” space and were incorporated to the house as a "space for the servants".
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Text: Jesús Pijuán.