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Same old me
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Ruins of Madinat al-Zhara (in Arabic: Madinat al-Zahra, مدينة الزهراء) are located about 5 kilometers from Córdoba, Spain.

The ruins were discovered about ninety years ago. Only about 10 percent of the 112 ha site has been excavated and restored. The city flourished for approximately 80 years. It had been built by Abd ar-Rahman III the Caliph of Córdoba starting between 936 and 940. After Abd al-Rahman III proclaimed himself Caliph in 929, establishing the independent Umayyad Caliphate in the west, he decided to show his subjects and the world his power by building a palace-city 5 miles from Cordoba . The largest known city built from scratch in Western Europe , Madinat al-Zahra was the forgotten Versailles of the middle ages. It would be described by travelers from northern Europe and from the East as a dazzling series of palaces full of treasures never seen before. Around 1010, Madinat al-Zahra was sacked by Islamic purists from North Africa who considered the Muslim culture it represented far too liberal in its interpretation of the Koran. The raid effectively wiped the city off the map for a millennium.

What is visible of the ruins of Madinat al-Zahra today is only 10% of its extension, forgotten for 900 years. The 112 hectare-urb was no mere pleasure palace for weekend excursions, but the effective capital of al-Andalus , the territory controlled by the Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula from the beginning of the 8th century to the middle of the.11th The magnificent white city, built in steppes into the hillside at the base of the Sierra Morena with the Caliph's palace at the highest point, was designed to be seen by his subjects and foreign ambassadors for miles.

Abd al-Rahman III moved his entire court to Medina Azahara in 947-48. We may imagine that his beloved al-Zahra was already comfortably installed in the new Medinat.

With time the entire city was buried, not to be unearthed until 1911.

The restoration of that portion of the city that has been excavated is very impressive. Excavation and restoration continues, depending upon funding by the Spanish government.



































 

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Same old me
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
In the text I posted above the pics, it gave this explanation:

"Around 1010, Madinat al-Zahra was sacked by Islamic purists from North Africa who considered the Muslim culture it represented far too liberal in its interpretation of the Koran. The raid effectively wiped the city off the map for a millennium."
(Quoted from Wikipedia)

This is another explanation I found:
"Destrucción:

Sin embargo, Medina Azahara, tal vez la más hermosa de las ciudades andalusíes, parecía estar condenada a desaparecer.
El califa de Córdoba llegó a dominar casi toda la península, sólo le quedaron por controlar algunos territorios del norte de la península. Para ello contó con un gran general: Almanzor. Este general para aumentar su poder, trajo del norte de África un ejército de bereberes que le ayudaron en sus enfrentamientos con los cristianos. Fueron éstos los que se sublevaron contra los cordobeses, ocuparon la “Ciudad de la Flor” y fruto de los enfrentamientos entre bereberes y cordobeses, fue arrasada la cuidad"
 

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Same old me
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah, it is a pity that it was destroyed... because apparently it was really amazing! I was there a few years ago, with my parents, even just the ruins are impressive :)
 

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Same old me
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here's some more info I found about the destruction of Medina Azahara, this text also supports the explanation that says it was the berbers brought by Almanzor who destroyed the city. Apparently, Almanzor brought berbers from North Africa to help him fight against the Christians, but then the berbers revolted against him (against the Cordoba Caliphate), and thus the city was looted and destroyed by the berbers, also during the clashes between the berbers and the Cordobese.

"La importancia de Medina Azahara como ciudad palaciega y sede del califato se redujo cuando Almanzor, primer ministro y regente del califa Hisham II, todavía menor de edad, fundó en las cercanías de Córdoba la residencia de Madina az-Zahira (978 - 980). El final de Medina Azahara no llegó, sin embargo, hasta el año 1010, cuando grupos rebeldes bereberes redujeron a cenizas el que había sido el monumento más característico del calid¡fato de Córdoba, si bien las ruinas de la ciudad palaciega estuvieron pobladas al menos hasta principios del siglo XII."

P.S: I hope everybody realises I'm just trying to gather historic info here, and in no way I'm trying to give a bad image of the berber people.
 

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Casa hiya mdinti
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thank you anton for allowing us to discover this incredibile city and one of the master pieces of islamic architecture.personaly i never heard about it. but now i m enjoying reading all the articles and wonders about this city. it is really worth visiting . do you know how many kilometers from algesiras to azahara?

here is an article that i found about this incredible city "ruins"





10th century Caliph Abdurrahman 3 was a most amorous man, and nobody pleased him more than his favourite wife az-Zahra. His love and lust took total control over 1/3 of the annual state budget from 936 until 961, in order to build her a city he believed was fit for a woman like her.
For modern visitors, the Medina Azahara can look like never was completed and then abandoned. But this condition is actually a product of looting for building materials over centuries. Both the Alcazar of Sevilla and the nearby Monastery of San Jéronimo were served with pieces from az-Zahra's palace city.
It was not before 1944 that excavations and restoration of the area was begun. Many areas are still in such a poor condition that your imagination will have to do all of the reconstruction. The nicest parts are also the most important, the palace.




The Medina Azahara was 2000 metres long and 900 metres wide. It climbs down to the Guadalquivir river by 3 terraces. In order to entertain az-Zahra, a zoo, an aviary, 4 large fish ponds and 300 baths were added to the palace. The employees of the palace filled 400 houses,and there were weapons factories and several mosques as well.
The wealth of the area was stunning to contemporary visitors. Many of the public rooms were decorated with visual effects. One conference room had crystals creating an inner rainbow when lit by the sun. Another room had a mercury bowl in its centre, that would send sunbeams around the room if rocked.
The life span of the Medina Azahara was short, less than 100 years. Its demise would not come from abandonment, rather it became virtually a prison for the caliph. With the vizier al-Mansur in Cordoba and the caliph in Medina Azahara, control moved from the caliph, and Medina Azahara was unable to protect itself from a mob in 1010, and was subsequently burned.
 

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Same old me
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thank you anton for allowing us to discover this incredibile city and one of the master pieces of islamic architecture.personaly i never heard about it. but now i m enjoying reading all the articles and wonders about this city. it is really worth visiting . do you know how many kilometers from algesiras to azahara?
Medina Azahara is located in the surroundings of the city of Córdoba (also famous for it's old quarter and its awesome mosque/cathedral), so I checked on www.viamichelin.es the distance from Algeciras to Córdoba, as well as the estimated driving time, here's the result:

Distancia y tiempo
Tiempo: 03h12 de los cuales 02h44 en vías rápidas
Distancia: 297km de los cuales 271km en vías rápidas



Córdoba, Sevilla and Granada are the main cities of the so called "Rutas del legado Andalusí" (Routes of the Al-Andalus legacy), which also include smaller Andalucian towns, I leave you a couple of links here, cos I think it could interest you.
I've been to many of the places the routes recommend, and I can honestly tell you it was an unforgettable experience, the monuments and cities are amazing, and the guides in the different places do a great job at helping people imagine how it all was back in time.
http://legadoandalusi.andalucia.org/ (Official website)
http://www.legadoandalusi.es/legado/contenido/rutas/index.html
 
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