Beginning of the recovery works of the Arab baths of San Pedro in Córdoba

The Heritage Commission of the Delegation for Culture reported favorably on the archaeological excavation project through surveys in the Arab Baths of San Pedro, a space that dates from the twelfth century, from the Almoravid period, as reported this Friday by the delegate of Tourism, Culture and Sports, Eduardo Lucena. This enclave, located at Calle Carlos Rubio 8, 10 and 12, in the district of San Pedro de Córdoba, has been declared Asset of Cultural Interest (BIC) with the Monument category and has been classified as a Historic Monument since June 3, 1931. .

As Lucena explained, this project responds to the need to “know more deeply this space with the aim of achieving its recovery and enhancement, commitment of this government with the restoration of heritage”. At present, “the consolidation, improvement and adaptation project for public visits to the Arab Baths of San Pedro is being developed”, said the delegate, who added that this preliminary intervention n ‘has no other “object to investigate the planned affected areas beforehand in order to reduce possible incidents in the execution and development of the works”.

Basically, the actions envisaged include a recess of about 30 centimeters in the facade area, the cleaning of the vegetation from the foundation of the party walls, the study of the pits for the installation of two elevators, as well as the investigation from the access bay and the Ferris wheel shaft area. The quotation material execution is €26,096.

However, this work, which will begin on Wednesday 30 November, will only serve as a preamble to the layout of the space for its subsequent opening to the public. The government delegate, Adolfo Molina, reaffirmed “the commitment of the government of Juanma Moreno with this space, which will receive a total amount of 1.6 million euros, part of €442,000envisaged in the budgets of the Junta de Andalucía for 2023”.

This amount will be used to carry out conservation and adaptation works so that the Arab baths of San Pedro can receive visits at the end of 2024. Likewise, Molina argued that it is an example of the implementation of “policies of protection, investigation and dissemination of our heritage”.

A few months ago, the Delegation for Culture reported favorably on the preliminary study on the need for a declaration of single building of the Arab Baths of San Pedro: Conservation, museological and museographical preliminary project for the consolidation, enhancement and adaptation for public visits. Thus, the objective was to ask the Town Hall to examine the Singular Building file for the development of the basic project prior to the request for a municipal building permit. The presence of important archaeological remains and the special building that is proposed to protect them in a large open space, naturally ventilated and not air-conditioned, with a light roof, partly translucent, in addition to its suitability for public visits, justify the unique building consideration.

Next to an Almoravid mosque

The thermal baths of San Pedro are built with cut stone and freestone of calcarenite coated with lime mortar. The pavings are in stone of different nature and layout and the small columns are made up of reused marble elements, almost all from the Caliphate period, sometimes having bases as capitals and vice versa. In the hypocaust, which is very deep and partly missing, brick is used for the pillars that support the floor.

The origin of these baths is linked to the construction in the 12th century of a almoravid mosque, in the place where the Fernandina de San Pedro church is located today, which in turn was built on the old martyr basilica of the Three Saints, founded in the 4th century, dedicated to Fausto, Genaro and Marcial and which was a cathedral church for the Visigothic and Mozarabic periods. The building was built in the Axarquía, a suburb where Christians settled in Islamic times, until the Almoravid period.

The location of a bathroom near a mosque responds to the need to achieve the ritual ablutions before the prayer. In addition, the baths were a place of encounter and relationship with a playful character and a hygienic function, two aspects borrowed from Roman tradition, from which it inherits the functional scheme. In Caliphal times, Cordoba had hundreds of thermal baths, the number of which increased in the following centuries, some of which currently preserve more or less complete structures, such as those of Santa María, San Pedro or the Pescadería, in addition to those of Medina. Azahara and the Alcazar.


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