Medina Azahara

Medina Azahara, in Arabic Madinat al-Zahra which means “the shining city”. This grandiose place was and is one of the most beautiful existing monuments of Al-Andalus, a living memory of the passage of the Umayyad Caliphate in Cordoba. It is one of the world heritage monuments, which is located in the city of Cordoba, Andalusia.

Medina Azahara Schedule

The schedules to access Medina Azahara are:

Schedules from January 1 to March 31:

  • Tuesday-Saturday: from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Sundays and holidays: from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Monday: Closed

Hours from April 1 to June 30:

  • Tuesday-Saturday: from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Sunday and holidays: from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Monday: Closed

Schedules from July 1 to September 30:

  • Tuesday-Saturday: from 9:00 a.m. to 15:00 p.m.
  • Sundays and holidays: from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Monday: Closed

Hours from October 1 to December 31:

  • Tuesday-Saturday: from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Sundays and holidays: from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Monday: Closed
  • Holidays when open: October 12, October 24, November 2 and December 7-8.

How to get to Medina Azahara

Medina Azahara is located about 8 kilometers west of Cordoba, on the Palma del Rio road.

Going to Medina Azahara by bus

You can take a public bus that makes daily routes to the monument. It allows you to spend 2 and a half hours at the site for your visit before returning. It can be booked, and the bus to go to Medina Azahara has a cost of:

-Adults: 9 euros

-Children from 5 to 12 years old: 5 euros

-Children under 5 years old: free

-Adults residing in Cordoba: 5 euros

Going to Medina Azahara by car

To go by car to Medina Azahara you must take the road to Palma del Rio, which is the west exit of Cordoba. After about 8 kilometers you will find signs indicating the exit to get to the entrance of Medina Azahara. At the first traffic circle, you will find the parking lot of the reception center and museum where you should park your car. To get to Medina Azahara once there, you will have to get on the “Medina Azahara Shuttle Bus”, which leaves once every 20 minutes.

Cento de visitantes de Medina Azahara Córdoba

Medina Azahara tickets and prices

Admission to Medina Azahara is free for all citizens of the European Union, in the case of non-EU citizens, there is a cost of 1.5 €.

History of Medina Azahara

The history of Medina Azahara began in the tenth century, between the years 936 and 976, when Abderraman III ordered the construction of this precious city, in order to take over the administrative and residential work of the Caliphate of Cordoba.

It was built on land with different heights, so the different heights were used in totally different ways. The upper part occupied the upper terrace, which was the residence of the royal family. In it, governmental functions were exercised and it was for the private function.

In the lower part, was built what we can call the city of Medina Azahara with all its other services. The water distribution was supplied by 3 bridges to channel the water, these being from Roman times. Of the 3 bridges, we can still appreciate the bridge of Los Nogales. These bridges used water from the streams.

Materials were used and it was built in order to show the power and the great supremacy of the monarch.

The “medieval Versailles”, known as the brilliant city built by the first caliph of Al-Andalus, still retains its great splendor and beauty, being one of the most incredible monuments to visit in the XXI century.

Casa de Yafar Medina Azahara

Medina Azahara World Heritage Site

Medina Azahara was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site on July 1, 2018. The World Heritage Committee at the 42nd session unanimously recognized the nomination proposed by Spain to recognize Medina Azahara as a World Heritage Site.

Landmarks Medina Azahara

Medina Azahara has different emblematic places that make it a completely unique caliphal city. Its most important places are:

Great Portico of Medina Azahara

Located in front of the main square, it was the entrance to the Alcazar. It had 15 arches, being the central horseshoe arch and the 14 remaining segmental arches. It was 111.27 meters long, 9.46 meters wide and 2.92 meters high.

Puerta norte Medina Azahara

North Gate of Medina Azahara

The north gate is the arrival to the well-known road of the Nogales, which was the way of communication with the city of Cordoba in the Caliphate period. This gate was designed to be a defensive gate, with a guard’s room that allowed access.

High Garden of Medina Azahara

The high garden is at the same level as the Salón Rico. In its center is a building called the Central Pavilion. It was destined for the royal family.

Lower Garden of Medina Azahara

The low garden, of large dimensions and being the first of a long list in Al-Andalus with the same style, is located next to the High Garden with a few meters of height difference.

Medina Azahara Rich Room

It was a hall for political receptions also known as “Hall of Abderraman III”. It was built between the years 953 and 957 which can still be seen in the epigraphic inscriptions in the hall, being one of the most symbolic and representative places along with its large garden next to it.

Salon Rico Medina Azahara

Architecture of Medina Azahara

Its typology is palatine city and is designed in the Caliphate style. Its sites consist of the archaeological remains of what was once this city. This monument is considered one of the most representative points of the medieval era, being one of the most original and faithful to the Andalusian architecture and Islamic art.

The Medina Azahara site is rectangular in shape, with dimensions of 1515 by 745 meters and an area within its walls of 112 hectares. In addition, something to highlight is that at present, we can only appreciate 10% of what was the whole of the brilliant city.

Photos of Medina Azahara

In this section we will show you some of the best images of Medina Azahara in order to contemplate its beauty and architecture and to better understand its history.

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Frequently asked questions about Medina Azahara

  1. What was Medina Azahara?

    “The shining city” was a palatine city. The well-known Medina Azahara in Arabic called Madinat al-Zahra.

  2. When was Medina Azahara built?

    Medina Azahara was built in 936.

  3. What percentage of Medina Azahar is excavated?

    Only 10% of the caliphal city is excavated.

  4. What is the meaning of Medina Azahara?

    Medina Azahara is the Spanishization of the Arabic name called مدينة الزهراء (Madīnat al-Zahrā), meaning “the shining city”.

  5. Why was Medina Azahara destroyed?

    By the civil war in 1010, putting an end to the caliphate of Cordoba and destroying the palatine city.

  6. Who built the palace of Medina Azahara?

    Medina Azahara fue construida por Abderramán III (Abd-al Rahman III).

  7. What was the function of the construction of Medina Azahara near Cordoba?

    It had the function of trying to overcome the eastern Abbasid caliphs.

  8. How large is Medina Azahara?

    Medina Azahara has an area of 112 hectares.

  9. Where is the city Medina Azahara Spain?

    It is about 8 kilometers west of Cordoba in Andalusia.

  10. When did Abderraman III die?

    He died on October 15, 961.

  11. When was Medina Azahara abandoned?

    Between 1010 and 1013, due to the civil war and the loss of the caliphate, it was abandoned.