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City of Medina Al-Zahara, Cordoba, Andalucia, Spain, Europe
Medina Alzahara is the name of a Moorish city built four miles from Cordoba under the reign of Abd-al-Rahman III in the 10th century AD. An immense construct covering an area of 112 hectares, it was effectively intended to replace Cordoba as the capital of the Caliphate. As such it was a palatial-city with three distinct terraced areas; one for the nobility and royal palaces, one for the growing of crops, and another for the mosque and houses. No expense was spared on the new construct which featured some of the best examples of Moorish design in the kingdom. The idea was that travellers and emissaries would be in awe of the city, and so it was built high into a hillside so it could be seen for many miles.
Medina Alzahara was an important political tool at the time; as Abd-al-Rahman III was embarking on a conflict with the Fatimi dynasty for control of North Africa. He had successfully consolidated his power on the peninsular, and a glittering new capital was an ideal way to stamp his authority on the world. Unfortunately the Caliphate was short-lived at this time, and though the royal court was moved there for a time the Medina Al-Zahara never got the wide-spread recognition that it deserved. In fact due to the subsequent raiding and sacking of the city it became known as Old Cordoba.
Today it is one of the best monuments in the Cordoba area. Amazingly only 10% of the site has been uncovered leaving much to the imagination, though what is open to the public is well presented and a worth-while trip.
Cordoba Tourist Office
TEL +34 957 491678
FAX +34 957 475485
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Medina Alzahara, City of Medina Al-Zahara, Cordoba, Andalucia, Spain, Europe
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