The Munyas of Córdoba: Suburban Villas and the Court Elite in Umayyad al-Andalus


ACLS Fellowship Program




This study examines aristocratic villas (Arabic munya) of medieval Islamic Cordoba, Spain as luxurious elite residences, productive agricultural estates, and stages for the court culture of the Umayyad dynasty. The Umayyads ruled the Iberian Peninsula between the eighth and eleventh centuries, a period when Cordoba flourished as one of the most celebrated cultural centers in the world. This project focuses on the tenth century, the moment in which the villa as an architectural type and a marker of a way of life reached the height of its importance in the city’s medieval landscape and in Umayyad court culture. It emphasizes the centrality of the villa to a major medieval court society, and the ways in which patrons used architecture and landscape as a means of self-fashioning.