Cordoba (Madīnat Qurṭuba) was conquered in October 711 by Mugīt al-Rūmī, one of General Ṭāriq’s officers. In 716, it was chosen as the capital of al-Andalus, a role it played until the outbreak of the fitna or civil war in the early 11th century, although the Islamic domination of the city was perpetuated until 1236.
The urban image that Muslims found when arriving at Cordoba was not the one that the old capital of the Roman province of Baetica had once. If Corduba had been immersed in a gradual process of reforms and changes during the Late Antiquity, now the city coped again with a different political and social situation that demanded its own facilities and amenities.
The main focus of the medina was located in the southern area, next to the river, where, as in the Late Antiquity, the centre of political and religious power was sited. The arrival of Abd al-Raḥmān I in 756 played a major role in this process, who led a building program that marked decisively the urban image of Qurṭuba. Around the year 785, the reform of the old Citadel (Alcazar) began in order to place the new State administration. The mint, the fabrics market (Alcaiceria) and the central post office were founded too. In 786 the works of the Great Mosque started over part of what some scholars interpret as the old Episcopal See of San Vicente.
The most splendid moment of the Islamic Cordoba was the Umayyad Caliphate (929-1031). The city of these times housed the seats of the political, civil and religious power of the State, as well as formed an excellent hub of communications and exchanges which reflected a prosperity that attracted many new inhabitants. As a result, the medina underwent a great mutation, generating around it a suburban landscape unparalleled in all the western Mediterranean.
The Cordoban Caliphate began in 929, when ‘Abd al-Raḥmān III proclaimed himself caliph of al-Andalus and broke completely with the ties that still united him to the East world. Under his authority, the building activity within the medina did not cease.
The new economic and socio-political parameters of the Umayyad Caliphate, along with the considerable population increase registered as a result of its attractiveness as capital of al-Andalus, were configuring a densely occupied space outside the walls. In addition, the foundation of Madīnat al-Zahrā ‘between 936 and 940, seat of the state administration and official residence of the caliph, was the definitive impeller of this great suburban expansion.