Medina Azahara

Córdoba, Spain

Medina Azahara ('the shining city') is the ruins of a vast, fortified Andalus palace-city built by Abd-ar-Rahman III (912–961), the first Umayyad Caliph of Córdoba. Located on the western outskirts of Córdoba, it was the de facto capital of al-Andalus as the heart of the administration and government was within its walls. In 2018, the site was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Built beginning in 936-940, the city included ceremonial reception halls, mosques, administrative and government offices, gardens, a mint, workshops, barracks, residences and baths. Water was supplied through aqueducts. The main reason for its construction was politico-ideological: the dignity of the Caliph required the establishment of a new city, a symbol of his power, imitating other Eastern Caliphates.

The complex was extended during the reign of Abd ar-Rahman III's son Al-Hakam II (r. 961-976), but after his death soon ceased to be the main residence of the Caliphs. In 1010 it was sacked in a civil war, and thereafter abandoned, with many elements re-used elsewhere. Its ruins were excavated starting from the 1910s. Only about 10 percent of the 112 hectares have been excavated and restored. A new museum on the edge of the site has been built low, with much of the space underground, to minimize disruption to the views of the landscape from the ruins, which are also beginning to be affected by modern housing.

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Córdoba, Spain
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Founded: 936 AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Spain

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Abbigail Van (17 months ago)
The most affordable tourist site i’ve seen! €1.50 ticket to museum and €3 for the shuttle bus up to the site. So worth the money. This site was huge with stunning views.
Federico Mazzoni (18 months ago)
This place is less touristic but equally amazing. When you arrive at the site you have to leave the car at the museum based at the bottom of the valley. There you can collect the tickets for both the bus (that will bring you up to the Medina) and the Medina. The tickets for the Medina are free for all the European citizens. The Medina itself is really nice even though some parts we under restauración.
Akma Ikasari (2 years ago)
There are toilets. The place is big and there are several palaces that were close when I was there. The weather was really hot (in fall) so note that if you wanna visit this place in the summer or so. Bring your umbrella and wear summer clothes for that matter.
Meredith Powell (2 years ago)
Beautiful place and very unique style and history. It's well maintained. A bit more expensive than I remember it being before... I think 11€ for an adult ticket.
Juan Gabriel Ovalles Bonilla (2 years ago)
Really nice archeological site. Full of history. Is a must if you are visiting Córdoba. The site is very near the city center (6kms aprox), you can use the bus service from city center to the site, there is a small museum, multimedia room and a giftshop.
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