The history of the archaeological site of Medina Azahara began with Abderraman III. He decided to build a city away from the capital, between 936 and 976. Its main function was to house both administrative work and residential life belonging to the caliphate.
Layout of the city is characterised by its height, where the city is organised along different terraces. The highest of these was the residence of royalty and also housed the private and governmental functions of the time. On the other hand, at lower altitudes, the city itself was developed, under the development of the services necessary for its subsistence.
Therefore, as the complex is located in such an elevated space, it is necessary to travel to the site by means of a vehicle. Medina Azahara is located about 8 km west of the city of Córdoba, a journey time of about 16 minutes. The most common means of transport used by visitors are their own cars or the comfort of the bus that leaves from Cordoba. The bus takes you directly to the site during the established timetables.
The first viable option for accessing the monumental complex is to travel by car. At the moment you leave Córdoba, take the road to Palma del Río (A-431). Keep driving until you see the sign for Madinat Al-Zahra on the CO-3414 road.
Once you arrive at the site, the first thing you will see is a roundabout, which you must take to access a large esplanade corresponding to the free parking area for customers, which is located next to the reception-museum of the complex.
When the vehicle is parked, visitors should go to the shuttle bus provided to access the complex itself, as this is located 2 km from the visitor reception centre and is the only vehicle authorised to access the site. The shuttle bus runs every 20 minutes and costs €2.50 per person, reduced to €1.50 for children aged 5 to 12. It is not necessary to book the ticket in advance, as the service runs quickly and efficiently.
If you intend to follow the GPS directions, the exact coordinates of the location are: 37° 52′ 50.8″ N 4° 51′ 15″ W. In decimal: 37.880778°-4.854167°.
Another viable option is to take a bus from the capital to the monumental complex. In this way, users can avoid having to travel to the site on their own. The can enjoy the comfort offered by this service, which will take them to the very door of the visitor reception centre and museum. It lasts 20 minutes and also includes the shuttle bus ticket to the monumental complex on presentation of the voucher purchased on the shuttle bus.
Departure point is located at the bus stop at Paseo de la Victoria (Glorieta Hospital Cruz Roja) and at Paseo de la Victoria (in front of the Victoria Market).
The bus has a general price of 9€ per passenger and a reduced fare of 5€ for children from 5 to 12 years old and residents, as well as being free for children under 5 years old. Tickets must be booked at least one day in advance online or at the ticket offices, which are located at the tourist office, some hotels and tour companies. On the other hand, online booking discounts of 5% and 10% are available for groups of more than 20 people.
It is necessary to know that the ticket includes the return trip to Medina Azahara, so it is necessary to be at the bus stop at the agreed time to get on the bus back to Cordoba once the visit is over. The time given to users to see the complex is two and a half hours. Thus, the timetable for this public transport service is as follows:
The last option for travelling to the archaeological site of Medina Azahara is by taxi.
Average price of a taxi journey from Cordoba to the monumental complex varies between 9 and 11€ per journey, depending on the point where the visitor requires the service, totalling around 22€ per passenger, including the return journey. Duration of the journey varies as does the price depending on the point of departure, but it normally takes the same amount of time as the car journey, around 16 minutes.
Several companies offer taxi services to Medina Azahara, the most popular being Radio Taxi Córdoba (+34 957 76 44 44) and Manuel Muñoz Bellido (+34 957 49 22 41). This service can be purchased at any time of the day according to the timetables organised for visiting the monuments by calling the numbers provided.
This option is the most convenient of the 3 options on offer, as you will be able to visit the complex without having to leave your place of residence, park your car or be subject to stricter timetables, as well as being taken to the door of the visitors’ reception. Even so, it will be necessary to purchase a ticket for the shuttle bus to access the complex.
Complete your visit to the capital with our Guided Tours of the Mosque.