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History of Medina Azahara

Medina Azahara - At 7 kilometers to the west from Cordoba 14001

The city is laid out in three terraces surrounded by a wall, being on the highest and middle terraces where the “Alcazar Real” (Royal Palace) is located. The lowest terrace was reserved for dwellings and for the Mosque, which was built outside the compound. According to old records, about ten thousand people worked daily on its construction. Abd al-Rahman was not mean on the materials used for this construction, in order to achieve the effect he wanted: the emblem or insignia of the powerful kingdom he ruled. Rich violaceous and red marbles, gold and precious stones, apart from the careful craftsmanship works, done by the best stone cutters, and the Byzantine contributions, helped the raising of his precious project.

Part of the “Alcazar” (Palace) had a public use and was where the Official visits took place. At the highest part, the “Salón Alto” (High Lounge) was located, distributed on five naves with arcades. Lower down, there is the “Salón Rico” (Rich lounge) which is divided into three naves with red and blue marble arches, being the lateral ones blind arches and the central one is open. The “ataurique” decoration, with carved vegetal motifs, the richness of the materials and the baths, have configured the name of this enclosure, which is opened to the “Jardin Alto” (High Garden) of great beauty. This garden has four areas, the intersection point is occupied by a pavilion and four ponds.

The legend says that one of this ponds, the one situated in front of the Rich Lounge, had mercury in its interior and that it bathed, the great enclosure, with a thousand sparkling colours.

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