Due to the keen interest that the palatine city of Medina Azahara has aroused as a result of the recognition since last July 2018 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (the fourth World Heritage Site of the capital of Cordoba), we consider it opportune to make a brief entry dealing with 7 curiosities related to the beautiful “Brilliant City”:
Nowadays, only about 10% of the total area of the Caliphate City has been excavated and since its nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the flow of visitors has increased by an incredible 40%. So, due to the effort of the researchers and the interest of our visitors, we hope that the archaeological work will bring us many surprises in the years ahead.
One of them, revealed in November last year, is that the Eastern Portico had its counterpart at the opposite end of the great Plaza de Armas square.
Another of the great surprises has been to find a building, whose use is currently unknown (located next to this new arcade in the Plaza de Armas square) with strong Abbasid influence, as it has a plant in the shape of T. Dates from the first stage of construction of the city, around the year 940.
Did you know that it is possible to make nocturnal tours to Medina Azahara? Between the months of April and October, we will have the possibility to enjoy the mysterious atmosphere of the “Bright City” at night, being this a truly unique experience.
Alberto Montejo, the current director of this archaeological site, pointed out that Medina Azahara: “It is the only caliphal city that is conserved and that is susceptible to investigation. The other two, Cairo and Baghdad, have populations of 15 and 20 million inhabitants, which makes them irrecoverable. This was one of the main points for its declaration as a World Heritage Site.
During the past month of December and until January 5 of this year, the Salón Rico has been temporarily reopened, closed for 9 years due to an eternal process of restoration of the arabesques that decorate its walls, facade and counter-facade. Throughout 2019 it is expected to sign the agreement for the bidding of works of the second phase of restoration of this hall with the purpose that the visitors can enjoy one of the great jewels that Abderramán III left in inheritance for us.
The arabesque that appears to infinity on the walls of the Salón Rico represents the Tree of Life, but in reality, none of these representations is repeated: each Tree of Life has some detail that makes it unique and different from the rest.
It was not until the beginning of the 20th century that the legitimate authorship of the city was discovered, thanks to research work. Until then, it was thought that the ruins of Medina Azahara belonged to a Roman settlement.
On the other hand, the current entrance to Medina Azahara is located just at the opposite side of the original entrance which would be very close to the current Museum building. This is due to the improvements that are intended to be made in the future to facilitate the flow of visitors and so that the development of the tours has the original meaning that it had a thousand years ago.
From Oway we hope that you have enjoyed this article and if you have not already done so, you are encouraged to visit the incredible city of Medina Azahara, and thus, you can be delighted in person with the mysteries and creations that the last independent emir of the Caliphate of Cordoba prepared for us.