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Everything you need to know to visit Medina Azahara | 11 MAY

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In this article, you will find out everything you need to enjoy your visit to Medina Azahara, one of the most important archaeological sites in the country. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2018, crowning Córdoba as the city with the most World Heritage Sites in the world.



What’s Medina Azahara?

Medina Azahara, or Madīnat al-Zahrā by its original name (literally, "The shining city"), is an ancient palatial city on the outskirts of Córdoba. The Caliph of Córdoba Abd-al Rahman III ordered its construction in the year 936, less than a century before the end of the caliphate.



What’s the history of Medina Azahara?

Caliph Abd al-Rahman III conceived the city as a symbol of power, with the intention of showing the superiority of his caliphate to his political and religious opponents.

Unfortunately, it was destroyed and looted not much later by the Berbers, between the years 1010 and 1013, in the context of a civil war that put an end to the Caliphate of Córdoba.

The ruins were buried for almost a millennium until the excavations began in 1911. The city extends over 112 hectares, of which only a third has yet been excavated.



How to get to Medina Azahara?

The city is 8 km from Córdoba, so you will have to take a vehicle. You can get there in several ways:

  • By car: from Córdoba, take the A-431 road until you find the sign indicating the exit to Medina Azahara (CO-3314). You can leave your car there, in the museum's free car park, but the trip from the museum to the site can only be done by shuttle (you can buy tickets right there).
  • By bus: you can book a visit with bus transportation included, which will take you to and from Medina Azahara. This way, you will benefit from a reduced price and all the advantages of a professional guide.


When can I visit Medina Azahara?

You can visit Medina Azahara from Tuesday to Sunday. The complex has 4 different schedules throughout the year:

Day visits

From January 1st to March 31st

  • Tuesday-Saturday: from 09:00 to 18:00.
  • Sundays and holidays: 9:00 to 15:00.

From April 1st to June 15th

  • Tuesday-Saturday: from 9:00 to 19:00.
  • Sundays and holidays: from 9:00 to 15:00.

From June 16th to September 15th

  • Tuesday-Sunday (holidays included): from 9:00 to 15:00.

From September 16th to December 31st

  • Tuesday-Saturday: from 9:00 to 18:00.
  • Sundays and holidays: from 9:00 to 15:00.

Night visits

The night visits are only to the excavation site (not the museum) and are only available in summer:

From June 1st to June 31st:

  • Fridays and Saturdays: from 20:00 to 22:00

From July 1st to September 15th:

  • Tuesday-Saturday: from 20:00 to 24:00


Conclusion

Medina Azahara is a complex with a fascinating history that belongs to one of the most decisive periods in Spanish history. A hallmark of Córdoba and Andalusia that evidences its Muslim past and enriches the incredible heritage of this beautiful place.

Come and visit Medina Azahara and discover all the secrets and history of this magnificent city. In order not to miss anything, we recommend that you have the help of a professional guide who will ensure that you enjoy your visit to the fullest.