Medina Azahara is a palace-city built by the first caliph of Al-Andalus, the Umayyad Abderraman III or Abd-al-Raman III, around 940 in the foothills of the Cordoba mountains to the northwest of the city. According to one legend, this architectural complex, which could accommodate up to 12,000 people, was built in honour of al-Zahra, the most beloved of the wives of his harem. But in fact the main reasons for its construction were more political and ideological, related to the need to show the caliph’s dignity and power, as well as his superiority over his great enemies, the Fatimids of Ifriqiyya, the northern part of the African continent. Another explanation for the name Medina Azahara or Madinat al-Zahra is that Madinat means city and Zahra means bright, luminous, so Medina Azahara would be known as ‘the bright city’, perhaps because of the reflection of the sun on its whitewashed walls. This is the simplest explanation, although several historians have pointed in other directions, such as that the name was given in honour of Fatima az-Zahra, the daughter of the prophet Mohammed, or to honour the protector of al-Andalus, the planet Mars. If you want to discover more interesting things about Medina Azahara, don’t miss this exciting visit to the jewel of Umayyad splendour in Cordoba.
Options available for the visit:
Guided tour by official tour guide for a group of min. 10 people (without transport). Price 21 euros/person Guided tour by official tour guide for a group of min. 10 people (with transport). Price: on request (depending on the number of people).