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Medina Azahara

Located a few miles west of Cordoba, the remains of 10th century palace city of Medina Azahara (also known as Medinat al-Zahra) are worth a short trip. At one time, this city was of unimaginable luxury and glory. Although there is nothing but ruins, visitors can feel the former magnificence of the city.

In 936, Abd al-Rahman III commanded to built this city which was probably the most beautiful manmade place the world has ever seen. It took three decades and the power of 10,000 workers to built palaces, dwelling houses, gardens and a mosque.

Medina Azahara was built on three large terraces on a southward slope. Its plan is rectangular and it spans over an area of more than 110 hectares (270 acres).

Chronicles give evidence of the exceptional magnificence of Medina City. These records report of a Golden Saloon and a Throne Hall being decorated with arches of ebony and ivory, marble, gold, and jewels.

The height of this great city where, in the first instance, foreign representatives and ambassadors were received, was not of duration. 74 years after it was completed, Berbers took and looted the city so that it sank into oblivion. It was 1910 when archaeologists rediscovered Medina Azahara and started to excavate its ruins. Since 1923, the remains of the city had been declared as protected historic site.

Even in present days parts of glorious paintings, columns and walls are in relatively good condition. Two Saloons underwent restoration in the 1990s. Restoration is to be continued; reconstruction work may result in temporary closures of certain areas of the monument.

On November 18th, 2014 Medina Azahara has been accepted for the recommendation list for future world cultural heritage sites. Subsequently, since 1 July 2018, Medina Azahara belongs to the world cultural heritage.

In addition to the regular opening schedule, Medina Azahara offers nocturnal visitation. As many as 814 LED lights illuminate buildings, gardens and paths meandering through the monument as the sun goes down. More information on nocturnal visitation is available on our Spanish page.

Image Gallery

 

Medina Azahara Image Gallery

 

Info

 

Location

 

Carretera de Palma del Rio, km 5.5
14005 Cordoba
Tel.: (+34) 957 10 36 37

Hours

1 January - 31 March
Tue - Sat: 9 am - 6 pm
Sundays, holidays: 9 am - 3 pm
Closed on Mondays

1. April - 30 June
Tue - Sat: 9 am - 9 pm
Sundays, holidays: 9 am - 3 pm
Closed on Mondays

1 July - 30 September
Tuesday - Sunday, holidays:
9 am - 3 pm
Closed on Mondays

1 October - 31 December
Tue - Sun: 9 am - 3 pm
Closed on Mondays, except for 12 Oct, 2 Nov, 7 Dec

On these days, the monument is open:
- 28 February (Day of Andalusia)
- 29 March (Holy Thursday)
- 30 March (Good Friday)
- 30 April
- 15 August (Assumption Day)
- 8 September (Day of Fuensanta)
- 12 October (Friday, National Holiday)
- 24 October (Day of San Rafael)
- 2 November (All Saints' Day)
- 7 December (Day of Constitution)
- 8 December (Day of Immaculate Conception)

On these days, the monument is closed
- 1 January
- 6 January
- 1 May
- 24 December
- 25 December
- 31 December)

Admission

EU residents (proof required, e.g. passport) free, all others 1.50 EUR

Fare for shuttle between museum and
monument

Adults: 2.50 EUR
Kids (5-12) and seniors (65 and over): 1.50 EUR
Kids under 5 years: free

Tickets are good for round-trip.

How to get there

From Cordoba use N-431 westbound, make a right turn at km 5.5 and follow the road until reaching the parking lot.

There is a regularly scheduled bus service between Cordoba and the Medina Azahara archaeological site. Departures are in Cordoba, Paseo de la Victoria Blvd.

GPS coordinates:
37.88759, -4.86904
 

Nearby

San Jerónimo Monastery, Cordoba Hermitage

 

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