Just 8 kilometres from Cordoba, in the foothills of the Sierra Morena, lies what was once the most beautiful city in the West, the Versailles of the Middle Ages, Medina Azahara.
Its name derives from Madina al-Zahra, The Shining City.
In 936 Abderraman III, Caliph of Córdoba, ordered the construction of what was to be his symbol of power, the city of Medina Azahara. In a context of competition with other nearby caliphates, the caliph set his sights on building the most beautiful city, and to do so he opted for materials that would demonstrate his aspiration, purplish and red marble, precious stones and gold. He also recruited the best stonemasons of the time and place.
The Caliph's project was cut short by the civil war that put an end to the Caliphate of Córdoba, in the century after the construction of Medina Azahara began. In 1010 the Berbers sacked and destroyed the brilliant city, which over the centuries continued to suffer all kinds of looting and dismantling, becoming a quarry for new buildings in the city of Cordoba as well.
At the beginning of the 20th century, archaeological excavations began and continue to this day, although for the moment only 10% of the city has been excavated.
The layout of the three terraces into which the city was divided is known, as well as the main buildings and the city wall.
Medina Azahara has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It receives an average of almost 300,000 visitors per year and is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Andalusia.
The best way to visit this emblematic place of the history of Cordoba, and by extension of Andalusia and Spain, is with a local and experienced guide. At Guruwalk we have a wide variety of options for this Guided Tour so you will have no problem finding the one that best suits your needs.
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