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MEDINA AZAHARA

At the foot of Cordoba's mountain range, there is situated this magnificent city that has not lost, in spite of the spoils and the abandon of the centuries, the flavour of what once was its authentic and richer value: the aptitude to awake the imagination and the fantasy up, con the beauty of what has come to us from eight centuries of Arabic authority, thanks to the work of archaeologists' conservation and restoration.

Hardly 7 km from the city of Cordoba in direction to the west, so ephemeral as her name, there is situated the former Madinat Al-Zahra or Medina Azahara, the most beautiful example of andalusí city. Raised by order of the caliph of Cordoba Abd al-Rahman III (s. X) in the Mount of the Bride, Chabal al-Arus, opposite to the valley of the Guadalquivir and orientated from north to south, to be the capital of the caliphate as well as royal residence and headquarters of the government.

Taking perfect advantage of the difference of the area, the city was distributed in three terraces; her form is rectangular and occupies 112 hectares, surrounding an impressive wall.

The legend says that was Add al-Rahman´s favourite bride, Zahra, "La flor" who suggested him the construction of Medina al-Zahra to the caliph. The city would reflect the brilliance of the caliphate and the whole luxury, magnificence and power of the last one of the big caliphs of Cordoba.

The civil war in al-Andalus, spoils and fires destroyed the most beautiful city of Occident. Until the XIXth century the formless heap of ruins was not identified as Medina Azahara, beginning the excavations and restoration in 1910. The urban residential complex was realized by series of arches, capitals, colonnades, walls, pavements covered in its immense majority by white marble. Stands out likewise the extraordinary geometric and floral decoration.

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