The Houses

The Houses

Documented housing in the Miraflores emiral suburb, south of the Guadalquivir (Collective agreement GMU-UCO).

The data collected in some cities of Andalusia, and especially in the large suburb that developed from the eighth century in the south of the Guadalquivir, in the current district of Miraflores, show transitional housing between the previous ancient world and the later city of Calipha. In them the rooms and patios are hardly defined, and there are no private latrines or water wells.

Three-dimensional reconstruction of a house in the Almohad neighbourhood of Orive (R. Blanco y J. M. Tamajon).

From the 10th century the city is fully Islamized and the Andalusian “house-patio” is imposed, a dwelling adapted to a Muslim inhabitant in which privacy and hygiene acquire a fundamental role. In this house all the rooms revolve around a central patio, which serves to illuminate, ventilate and communicate the rest of the rooms; and that avoids opening windows to the exterior to preserve family intimacy. Only warehouses, stables, shops or workshops could be isolated from the domestic interior, mainly for reasons of hygiene and privacy.

Basic prototype of Andalusian house-patio (R. Blanco and J. M. Tamajon).

The protection of family privacy is enhanced by the provision of an intermediate space between the street and the patio: the hallway, which makes it difficult for people to have a vision of the interior of the house. The living room was a room covered with a rectangular floor plan and one or two compartmented bedrooms at the ends. Next to the patio, which was the most important and best decorated space, as seen in the paintings that used to adorn its walls? The patio generally had plant elements and fountains, and often with a well of water that supplied the house. The vast majority of these “patio-houses” also had their own latrine: a small rectangular space dedicated to hygiene that evacuated the waste to a sewer network or to a black hole open on the street.


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