Madinat az-Zahra Purposely was an Established Military Fortress
The prime Madinat az-Zahra purpose, was to act as the Political and Administrative Capital of the Cordovan Caliphate.
Dignatories visited Abd-ar-Rahman 111 in the new palatine city: Madinat az-Zahra.
How did Visitors see the Royal City?
The Gran Portico
Inside the Madinat az-Zahra
Water Reflections and Myths
Love or Myth?
A Snow Story
Further al-Andalus related pages
View of Madinat az-Zahra-purpose from the Noble Residences
Stories of exquisitely carpeted roads led from Cordoba. Those 8 kms were canopied by fan-waving slaves.
Troops escorted the diginitaries midst huge fanfare and pomp. Arriving at the Gran Portico gate there would be a special military exibition.
Madinat az-Zahra purpose Gran Portico entrance
The Caliph had a special box-seat built above the arches (can you see the notch?) from where he observed welcoming ceremonies and military exhibitions.
Guests entered though The Grand Portico, escorted via a steeply uprising wide passageway.
Four massive wooden gates protected the entrance into the Palatial areas. The inclined steeply path and exhibition parade area was where, normally, thriving city-markets were held.
The Upper Basilica
Visiting dignitaries were first escorted to the Upper Basilica.
Protocol dictated that the Caliph met his visitors with correct ceremony and this was where introductions were conducted.
Entrance Upper Basilica Original Umayyad Arch
The Upper Basilica has unsurpassed views of Cordoba.
A large horse-shoe arched Basilica hall, with five naves.
Solemn decor, suitable for formal receptions.
There were no windows; it was joined to the arrivals courtyard.
Originally, The Upper Baslica had no garden.
The spacious garden area, you see today, served as a reserved space for palace guards and the cavalry. The French landscaped garden was planted at the beginning of the excavation period.
The Alcazar of the Medina Azahara divided into two distinct areas.
On the eastern side were administrative and public areas, with their corresponding governmental and representational edifices.
On the western side were residential areas for the palace residents
or visiting dignitaries, V.I.P’s and royal family members.
Upper Residence Houses were structured with spacious rooms and comfortable-sized terraces.
The Guard Corps or House of the Viziers - House of the Army was situated just below this area, protecting guests and palace residents, equally safeguarding the Alcazar area.
Stables. A large marble bath was the drinking trough for the Guards’ horses.
“House of Ya’far” belonged to a high ranking government official in the Caliphate. Arabesque decor.
Servants’ Quarters. Situated near to the House of Ya’far and corresponded within a square radius of the situation of the Guard Corps and Stables areas. A large cooking oven is seen.
House of the Pool was another grand residence.
Courtyard of Pillars as of yet has to be ascertained to what was its role.
Another Guards Barracks was situated at the top of the inclined slope leading away from the Portico area.
(Area currently being excavated).
The most important area was the Salon Rico or Hall of Abd-ar Rahman 111
The approach to the Salon Rico led from the Moorish Baths towards the gardens. There were five pools situated
directly in front of the Salon Rico's entrance.
Entrance to the Salon Rico
Silhouettes of Moorish palaces were created in reflection pools, features of Moorish Water Gardens
Guests were dazzled by the bright sunshine and the reflecting pools, as they approached the Salon Rico. As they entered, the first entrance area, the outer hall was fairly dark, designed, to give the guests eyesight respite from the glare: this was a purpose-prop moment. The Salon Rico's main hall was beyond - with a much darker ambience.
The reflection pools cast light rays insde. Thousands of diamonds, rubies, emeralds and amethysts had been encrusted on the walls and columns.
The Salon Rico shimmered. The effect was stunning.
The ceiling was sheathed in gold. Outside the roof was tiled with gold and silver. Every floor was highly polished white marble.
Throne Area Salon Rico Madinat az-Zahra
Servants stirred a bowl of mercury
. Maybe this was also true...
But it was the 'reflections' that astonished. ALL purposely anticipated - to impress the world with the Caliphate's magnificence.
The reflecting pools were water-storage containers.
Water supplies and irrigation channels had been constructed underneath the city.
Stories of the Caliph's bath were famed.
Twelve golden statues: an elephant, a lion, a gazelle, a crocodile, a serpent, an eagle, a hen, a dove, a falcon, a peacock, a cock, a vulture, edged a Grecian green marble bath. Pearls and precious stones decorated the statues.
As the bath was enormous: the statues were taps.
One of the Lions from the Alhambra's Patio de los Leones, was a copy of the one that sat on the edge of the Caliph's Bath.
of Madinat az-Zahra purposely was a Lover's Legendary Delight.
Its name has had many definitions: Shining or Radiant, City of Blossoming Flowers, City of Flowers, She, of the shining face... whichever is the correct description, its concept was from a source of love.
in Spanish means: Orange Blossom
Visit Andalucia Spain
during the months of April and May,
flowering citrus trees, whose Azahar-scent, perfumes
Abd-ar-Rahman 111 called the city "Madinat az-Zahra" purposely in honour of his wife. He was asked how long would he continue to build the city. His reply was: "For as long, as I love my wife." Madinat az-Zahra's construction, continued after his death.
The Caliph, inherited the royal city's intial funding, from his favourite concubine.
Abd-ar-Rahman 111 knew his favourite missed the Syrian snows. In secret, he ordered that a great deal of the Sierra Morena's foothills be cleared.
One of Madinat az-Zahara's
Purposes was to 'See' Cordoba
AND to be Seen
He had workers uproot many of the ancient surrounding pine and acorn trees. Then he ordered, thousands of flowering cherry and almond trees, to replace them.
One early spring morning, he woke his favourite, carried her to the window, opened it and said:
"Snow, my love, You wanted to see snow? Here is your snow."
Delicate pink and white blossoms stretched for as far as her eyes could see...
Glorious Almond Blossom
Another Madinat az-Zahara purpose was to keep the Caliphate safe. Over half-a-million people had come to live in Cordoba.
Moorish Oven in eastern service house Medina Azahara
What Became of Madinat az-Zahra Purposes?
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