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Living and Dying in Al-Andalus: The Western suburbs of Madinat Qurtuba

April 20, 20227:00 p.m.
Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos Gener, 9). 7:00 p.m. Free entry until the event’s capacity is reached.
In Spanish.

On Wednesday, April 20, archeologist Rafael Varela will be giving this conference at our headquarters in Cordoba. The event is being held as part of the Nights of Ramadan.

The proclamation of the Caliphate of Al-Andalus in the tenth century brought years of acclaimed prosperity to its capital, Madinat Qurtuba. This thriving era can be seen most prominently in its two great architectural landmarks, the Mosque of Cordoba and the caliphate city of Madinat al Zahra, both declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. However, its true prosperity has taken form in the tangible and intangible heritage which the city has inherited. Beyond an enduring
acknowledgment of the scientific and artistic legacy of Al-Andalus in agriculture, astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, architectureand other arenas, cultural heritage has been handed down from the daily lives of those who inhabited the city in the tenth century.

Explorations since the end of the last century in large sectors within the westernoutskirts of the caliphate city have allowed us to analyze and virtually reconstruct the cityscape of roads and streets, a domestic space made up of façades and houses, a social landscape of palaces and orchards, an economic landscape of markets and pottery works, and a cultural landscape of bath houses, mosques and graveyards.

Bringing these reconstructions back to life through a theatrical recreation, it will undoubtedly become possible to recognize the domestic landscape inside the city’s courtyard-houses, in the household items used for personal hygiene, for cooking food and for taking care of children in the home. We will also get a glimpse of the social landscape with its necessary diversity, in both poetry and music... We can imagine the economic landscape in the range of colors inside the neighborhood’s markets, in metal, leather and clay craftsmanship... And last but not least, we will
witness the cultural landscape through language, silence and reflection.

Rafael Varela Pérez
Holder of a bachelor’s degree in Geography and History from the University of Cordoba, he has devoted his career to archeology in the field since 2001, directing many different sites and participating in even more as a technical draftsman. For several years now, he has been specializing in Virtual Archeology, the three-dimensional representation of archeological spaces and objects using computerized methods as a tool for widespread dissemination and teaching about historical and archeological heritage. Within his field, he has developed materials and workshops about heritage sites, using images and 3D reproductions of different items and places as the foundation of his work. For some time now, he has been collaborating with Cristina Camacho to create images of the spaces and artefacts documented during the Ronda Oeste archeological intervention, to give us a closer look at the lifestyle of the inhabitants in the Western boroughs of caliphal Cordoba.
Living and Dying in Al-Andalus: The Western suburbs of Madinat Qurtuba