Medina Azahara was built in the 10th century as a symbol of power to rival the Caliphate of Baghdad.But was destroyed less than a century later in an uprising that ended the Cordoba Caliphate. The remains of the city were forgotten for almost a thousand years until their rediscovery in the early 20th century. Archaeologists say science and culture thrived in the ancient city.
“There was a great scientific production of math, astronomy, medicine, herbalism, literature and most of all philosophy, which paved the way for the European Renaissance in the 15th and 16th century. The city was built between 936 and 940 by a Khalifa Abdul RahmanⅢ and became the capital of Al-Andalus which occupied more than two-thirds of the Iberian Peninsula.”
After decades of prosperity, the magnificent palace city considered to be one of the jewels of Al-Andalus or medieval Muslim Spain,was laid to waste during an early 11th century civil war. Unlike other Caliphate cities such as Cairo and Baghdad, Medina Azahara has had no new construction built over it.Archaeologists say the ancient city’s ruins are relatively well -preserved.
“It’s intact, after some looting in the middle and modern ages. There has been no plundering afterward and nothing has been built on top. So from the scientific and archaeological point of view, all the urbanism, all the decoration are recoverable in order to understand how a Caliphate city worked in the 10th century.”
The archaeological site of Medina Azahara occupies about 115 hectares and only 10 percent of it has been excavated.UNESCO said the 10th century Moorish site provides in-depth knowledge of the now vanished Western Islamic civilization of AI-Andalus, at the height of its splendour.
Zlatica Hoke VOA News Washington.