Wander through the fascinating ruins of a palace and an entire city before learning more about Andalucía’s golden age in the adjoining museum.
Medina Azahara was once a city, centered on a palace and built at the height of Andalucía’s power. Visit today to find the place left in spectacular ruins, a testament to the dreams of an ambitious caliph. Explore the expansive archaeological site on foot and visit the accompanying museum, which provides details of this grand folly.
Discover the story of the palace’s short-lived glory. The vast complex was built in A.D. 936, either as a competitive statement to other empires or as a romantic gesture by Abd al-Rahman III. It took more than 35 years and 10,000 laborers to build, but it was destroyed in A.D. 1010 by raiding Berbers.
Stroll through the complex of ruins making up the medieval city. Medina Azahara spreads out over three tiers, with the palace on the highest level. Explore its remains, looking for the Rich Hall, which was divided into three naves by a series of red-and-white arches. Imagine yourself relaxing in the High Garden on a terrace overlooking the rest of the city.
Take a guided tour of the ruins to learn about each of the buildings. Some of the recognizable ruins include the Casa de Yafar, where the prime minister lived, and the royal reception rooms. Spot the remnants of the mosque at the bottom of the highest tier. Large swaths of the city, including the area where the workers lived, remain unexcavated.
Wander around the museum, which gives visitors a more complete picture of what the palace would have looked like in its prime. The 10th century was a time of financial and scientific flourishing in Andalucía. The museum documents this period of success in the city’s history.
Medina Azahara is located about 6 miles (10 kilometers) outside the city center of Córdoba. Parking is available next to the museum, where you can buy your tickets to the ruins. Pick up a bus ticket to the archaeological site from one of the tourist offices in the city.