Madinat al-Zahra

This site has sadly had a long life as an abandoned ruin. It was even used as a quarry for building materials, until 1910 when the first digs turned it into an archaeological site of extraordinary interest. The structure of a city of the times of al-Andalus can be made out. Found in the foothills of the sierra, in Chabal al-Arus (Hill of the Bride), the ground plan covered a little more than 100 hectares, on three levels from north to south: the visit starts at the North Gate from where one reaches the higher level through a corridor; this is the fortress. To the right stand the court's private quarters, including the caliph's apartments and courtyards, built above the guardhouse of what was called “reservoir house” and the “home of Chafar”, who was a freed slave and al-Hakam’s prime minister. This part has the best preserved remains.