The site is very well indicated, all the most important buildings are easily recognized, but one of the highlights of the place is wandering through the not designated areas, discovering spots and details unknown. We found this small patio with a marble basin not described in the information guide given in the entrance.more
Just after the viewpoint is located the Basilical building, that consists in a big patio surrounded by five rooms supported by beautiful columns with Arab style motifs. This building was used for protocolary ceremonies. This building is maybe one of the best preserved parts of the complex.more
After passing the main entrance there are two possible ways to visit the Site turning right are the residential buildings, we took the left one in the direction of the Plaza de Armas, the administrative area. Just after the Gate, there´s a viewpoint that shows you the beggining of the wonderful things that you´ll see.more
This is the main Buidling of the site, very well restored it housed the Oriental Salon, this hall was used for political receptions held by the Calypth. The building has three corridors decorated with arches and a main section. The interior is really impressive, i specially liked the stone carved pannels in the walls.more
Beautiful, I guess that is a word that I use a lot, need to find some alternatives....But if the Taj Mahal is todays leading architectural structure built for love, then Medinat a-Zahara may well be the middle ages triumph to love. At one time this structure was the governmental center of this city, today in ruins, but you can still see the effort...more
Here in the Hall of Abd al-Raman the progress of restoration is well underway. During our visit an archeologist was working on the "puzzle", or how to put back together all the thousands of pieces laying on the floor into some semblence of order so that we today could enjoy the splendor that was Medinat a-Zahara before it was destroyed.more
Also visible from the viewing area at the “House of Ya’Far” you can see the impressive “West Wall of the Upper Garden”. Although it looks like a structure build to defend the Madinat al-Zahra, it’s main purpose is actually more to give support to the hold up the artificial terrace of the Upper Gardens. In the photo you can only see the first part...more
If you manage to drag your eyes away from the "House of Ya'Far", which I found quite difficult, I have to admit, you shouldn’t forget to walk to the other side of the street. From here you'll have a really nice overview over the "Upper Garden". The garden is located around 10 metres below the view point allowing for a perfect overview of the area....more
By far the highlight for me of the residential area of the Madinat al-Zahra is the "House of Ya'Far". This house is a good example of a residence of a senior official of the caliph's administration; most likely this was the house of the hayib (prime minister) of the Caliph State from 961 to 972. For me personally the highly intricate plaster...more
Having slowly worked our way back up the hill we got back at the road crossing which divides up the area of the administrative section of the Alcázar (which we just visited) and the residential part of the Alcázar. In the residential area I was struck by how impressive the work has been with finding and fitting all the pieces of the puzzle back...more
The most flexible way to get to the Madinat al-Zahra is by car. But it is possible to get here by public transport as well.
There is a daily bus towards the historical site, but only once a day, so make sure not to miss it! The bus leaves Córdoba at 11 a.m or 10 a.m. (depending on day of the week and time of the year) and picks up in two places: la Avenida del Alcázar and el Paseo de la Victoria. The bus returns to Córdoba two hours after it arrives in Madinat al-Zahra, which gives you approx. 1,5 hours at the monument. For more detailed information about the bus times and departure points please look at the daily bus to Medina Azahara time table.
A return bus ticket including an illustrated guidebook of the monument will cost you 6,50 euros (2008). Reservations can be made at the online shop, by phone +34 902 201 774 or dropping by at one of the Tourist Information Points. Attention: it is not possible to buy the tickets in the bus!
Getting to the Madinat al-Zahra by car isn't that difficult and certainly not that far (roughly 8 kilometres). Probably the most difficult part will be the bit at your hotel, to get out and in again from the historical part of town. We asked at our hotel lobby at they gave us some clear driving directions (on a map). Roughly said, from the historical town, try to get on the Avda. Conde Vellellano and continue to the Paseo de la Victoria. Make an exit to the Avda. de Median Azahara and continue to the Periodista Quesadea Chacon. This road will lead you to the Ctra. A Palma Del Rio (C 431). It sounds difficult, but it isn't really. There are signs along the road giving directions towards the Madinat al-Zahra (might be called Medina Alzahara at times as well). When you are well outside of town on the C431 a small road (there is a road sign) exiting to the right will bring you to the archaeological site of Madinat al-Zahra. Parking at the official parking place of Madinat al-Zahra will cost you 0,80 EUR (2008),
The Madinat al-Zahra is a work in progress and archaeologists are hard at work to preserve and discover more of this lost city. This also means that some parts are not open to the public due to a variety of reasons. So be forewarned and don’t be disappointed during your visit if a particular area is closed off. Please respect the work in progress and the work that is being done to discover and conserve this amazing place for the future.
Examples of areas that are ’temporarily’ closed off are the Vivienda de la Alberca” (The “Dwellings of the Alberca”) and the “Patio de los Pilares” (“The Patio of the Pillars”) around the “house of Ya’Far”. Signs will show you which parts are not accessible and ropes will clarify where you are allowed and not allowed to go.
The weather in the area around Cordoba is said to be sunny quite often, which was more then true during my visit on a wonderful sunny day in early spring (early March). The weather was just perfect for a visit to the Madinat al-Zahra with temperatures hovering just above the 20 degrees and the sun shining brightly.
Summers can be very very hot though with temperatures rising up to 40C. Be aware that the archaeological site offers very little shade and I can imagine it feeling like a frying pan walking up and down the hill during a hot summer’s day. On the website of the Corboba tourist office you can find an overview of the average weather in and around Cordoba.
Just a few last views to show, the entrance gate leads you to a "lookout" where you can see the Porticio Arches to your left and the Courtyard of the Pillars to your right.As you descend into the city you pass through the upper residence where you see a single room where part of the marble floor has been replaced sort of haphazardly.The last photo...more
I don't remember seeing even a single door or portal that was not done with an arch, some like the House of Yafar as seen in the first photo were multiple arches and very fancy. Others, like those in the stables and bath house were simple and less ornate. But even the most simple were done with attention given to every detail, even the most simple...more