The old Moorish city of Madinat al-Zahra, also known as Medina Azahara was rediscovered in 1911 and to date not much more than 10% of this, once astonishing city, has been excavated.

 

 

DSC_MedinaAzaharaView-1

MedinaAzaharaView

 

The Medina Azahara (easier to say) is said to be one of the most important archaeological sites in the world for its historical importance of being the political and administrative capital of Al-Andalus for most of  the 10th century and for its sheer size – 112 hectares.

Destroyed between 1010 and 1013 then constantly looted it became a ruin and gradually buried, gaining the name ´Old Cordoba´  or the old city of the Umayyad Caliphs.

Ongoing but slow work makes the site itself an amazing visit add to that the museum, full of finds, videos and descriptions of life in the city. The museum was awarded the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2010 and The European Museum of the Year Award in 2012, the museum and the site meld into a fascinating insight into life in the city over one thousand years ago.

 

 

Medina-Azahara-1

Medina-Azahara

 

The two part visit, the museum next to the car park, then the bus ride up to see the archaeological site is a must. Just 6km from what we know as Cordoba city today it´s a not to miss visit for history lovers. Films with English subtitles explain the building of the city by Abd al-Rahman 111 in 929. As well as bronze, sculpture pottery, glass and archaeological relics on display there are interactive screens.

 

 

Medina-Azahara-Horseshoe-Arches-1

Medina-Azahara-Horseshoe-Arches

 

Writing about it I feel my fourth visit is calling. Each visit a little more of the ruined city has been recovered and my imagination runs away when me having seen, via the museum, the wealth of gold furnishings that adorned the decor of the palace within this once huge city.

 

Find out more at the website Museos de Andalucia