Medina Azahara

Medina Azahara (Arabic: مدينة الزهراء‎‎ Madīnat az-Zahrā: literal meaning "the shining city") is the ruins of a vast, fortified Arab Muslim medieval palace-city built by Abd-ar-Rahman III al-Nasir, (912–961) Umayyad Caliph of Córdoba, and located on the western outskirts of Córdoba, Spain.


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circa 953 CE

Eastern arcade of the Reception Hall of Abd ar-Rahman III, or "The Hall of Ambassadors", dated by inscriptions to between 953 and 957, is the most iconic building excavated so far. The complex was extended during the reign of Abd ar-Rahman III's son Al-Hakam II (r. 961-976), but after his death soon ceased to be the main residence of the Caliphs. In 1010 it was sacked in a civil war, and thereafter abandoned, with many elements re-used elsewhere.

circa 953 CE

Scale model reconstruction of the royal establishments and partial metropolis of Medina al-Zahara, with the Great Mosque to the lower right.

circa 953 CE

The remains of Masjid al-Jami'a, the Mosque of Medina Azahara bears close resemblance to the Great Mosque of Córdoba; it has been called its "little sister".

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