The most internal of all the courtyards, it dates back to the 18th century and is an example of the most sober Cordoban Baroque. The mezzanine houses the palace’s valuable historical archive. The discrete landscaping is designed not to break the harmony of the whitewashed walls with their blue doors and windows. The tiled fountain adds a touch of colour to this area. The Courtyard of the Archive is the result of the Baroque remodelling carried out by the 6th Marquise of Villaseca, Ana Rafaela Fernández de Mesa (1737-1788), also responsible for the Courtyard of the Madama, both from the 18th century. During the period in which the palace was owned by Ana Rafaela Fernández de Mesa, the rooms were adapted to store one of the greatest treasures at Viana: the historical archive. We can learn about its history from a note found there, which says that: “On 29 August 1765 the archive started to be created in the house of my Lady, the Marquise of Villaseca. Each day Pedro del Río earns 6 reales de vellón (old Spanish coins) and he is paid weekly”. The whitewashed walls of this courtyard are asymmetric, with two of them having slightly misaligned walls. This creates a longitudinal axis which connects the Courtyard of the Archive with the Courtyard of the Bars, or in other words, the centre of the property is connected to the outside world. This reflects the changes in approach during the era, which, following the process already been begun with the construction of the Courtyard of the Bars, sought to open up the courtyards. They also give the building the lines of vision common in Baroque works. The central fountain provides the counterpoint of colour in this sober courtyard, without being too brash. It is a courtyard that perfectly suits the purpose for which it was designed, namely to give the palace light and tranquillity, only interrupted by the noise of the birds and the dripping of the fountain’s water spout. Viana’s historical archive The Viana collection was declared a Documentary and Bibliographic National Treasure in 1980. In that same year, CajaSur bought the palace from Sofía Amelia Lancaster y Bleck, 3rd Marquise of Viana. However, the archive was not part of the purchase agreement and still belonged to the heirs of the 3rd Marquises of Viana. It remained stored in the palace, but was not accessible to the public or researchers. It was not until 2000, or in other words twenty years after the purchase of Viana Palace, that CajaSur was able to also purchase the historical archive. This started a new stage, carefully studying the documents in the archive and gradually making them accessible to the public. It contains more than 300,000 documents dated between the 12th and 20th centuries. This archive is valuable due to the large and varied number of geographical origins, the chronological extensiveness of the documentation and the documents’ magnificent state of conservation.


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