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Medina al-Azhara Cordoba (1/2 Day)

It would be a crime to depart Córdoba without taking a short 5-mile detour to the west, to discover the archaeological site of 'Madinat al-Zahra’.

Located 20 minutes from Córdoba, on the lower peaks of Sierra Morena, the complex was a shining beacon of culture during the peak of the Umayyad rule in the 10th century. It hosted the court, the dwellings of the administration, the royal workshops, and a whole town at the service of the caliphs. Organized hierarchically on terraces, the city was dominated by the palatial and protocol areas, worthy of the Arabian Nights.

According to the Arab sources, the palaces had ceilings covered with gold, pearls and precious stones inlaid in the lavish marble decoration, ivory capitals and a pond with mercury to reflect these wonders. The Eastern Hall (or Hall of the Throne), the House of the Viziers, the mighty portico of the military parades, or the mansion of the Hajeb (chamberlain) Jaafar, were brought to life by archaeologists and partially rebuilt and then covered by fragmented panels of the original decorations.