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“An impressive archaeological treasure.”

Archaeological Ensemble of Madinat Al-Zahra
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US$24.02*
and up
Medina Azahara Tour from Cordoba
Ranked #9 of 140 things to do in Cordoba
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Monday Closed
Reviewed 21 July 2014

This historic site is truly worth a visit. You'll be walking among the ruins of an impressive and powerful, yet short-lived, complex from the first millennium. It is easy to reach by bus or car (some brave souls walk the distance from old Cordoba to the archaeological dig, but I wouldn't recommend this on a hot Summer day). When you get there it is recommended that you spend an hour at the museum, where you can get some valuable historical context and facts. Then you need to take a shuttle from the museum to the actual archaeological dig that is open for tourists. A very enjoyable experience!

2  Thank KookieKo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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211 - 215 of 1,849 reviews

Reviewed 5 July 2014

booked the transport from a little shed near the Royal Palace, not expensive. Went to meet fellow travellers the next morning (early) and was greeted by our guide , on the bus and then off to the dig. Wow! really enjoyed the introduction (in a newly built underground interactive area), then taken onto site of the City of the Caliphs (936-1013) - if you enjoy or are interested in history -do not miss this sight.

Thank MARGOT S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 July 2014

If you are in Cordoba do not miss a visit to this archeological wonder! We took a guided tour (by Artencordoba Visitas Guiadas) through the Cordoba Tourist Office and this included the bus to and from the site. This was well worth the additional cost as our guide was an archeologist who was very knowledgeable about the site and its history.

1  Thank liam_mcdonnell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 June 2014

A historic place no to miss. A once caliph palace. If you have the time to read before your trip, I would highly recommend reading the book (or at least the first half before you reach Cordoba) 'The Ornament of the World' by Maria Rosa Menocal. It gives you a background of medieval Spain highlighting Cordoba and the Medinat Al-Zahra.

If you are in Cordoba and not driving or don't feel like driving, you can book your bus trip to the Madinat Al-Zahra ruins at a TI (tourist info) kiosk. I would recommend doing that as soon as you get into Cordoba. Or at least book the day before with them. The Madinat is closed on Mondays. The TI kiosk will give you about three different departure times and they will show you on a map where the departure bus stop is. We caught the big yellow bus outside of the historic wall just as you step through the Puerta de Almodovar gate. It was a bit confusing as my husband and I split up looking for the shuttle bus stop sign they told us to look for. We couldn't find it and had to ask a policeman. The shuttle stop is actually not on the first street along the wall, but on the main busy boulevard 'Paseo de La Victoria'. Just walk across the smaller street and through the gardens and up to the boulevard behind the hedges. We barely made it one minute before departing and so glad we gave ourselves 30min ahead of time which we thought we were going to spend the time waiting. Phew!

THERE ARE TWO SHUTTLE BUSES, TWO DIFFERENT TICKETS. Will explain below.
The fee for the city shuttle bus includes round trip, so it will bring you back to the historic center of Cordoba. It does not drop you off in town back at the same stop where you have boarded, but across the busy street. So familiarize your self with the area even though the bus driver will announce the stop. What makes it slight confusing is that there are two pick-up and drop-off spots, so know which one is yours or you'll end up having to make a longer walk. Keep your Cordoba city shuttle ticket for your return into town. I've seen and heard where people toss them once they get to the site, when you actually need them to show it to the bus driver for your return trip. The excursion is only 2.5 hours. We took the 11:00am bus and had to be back on the specified 2:15 return shuttle. There is a different site bus that takes you up to the ruins every twenty minutes. No cars can drive up to the ruins. So be sure that you have done your site seeing and take the ruin site bus down to the museum parking lot 30 min prior to catch your scheduled back-to -town Cordoba city bus shuttle. They leave promptly and don't keep count of their passengers, so they will not know you're missing if you're late.Time flies when in awe, so keep an eye on your watch.
The other ticket is your admission ticket that you purchase inside the museum that you will also use for the shuttle that takes you up to the ruins. Have that in hand when boarding the site shuttle as the bus driver is the admissions entrance officer to the ruins.
If you have your own car, you have to leave it in the parking lot by the museum. And there is less time restrictions when driving since there are no worries to catch a scheduled bus shuttle.

As I usually pass up introductory films, but as others have recommended, PLEASE DO watch the film inside the museum. It explains things well so you don't visit the archeological site clueless. And the computer animation is impressive. Then breeze quickly through the museum exhibit as you would want to spend most of the time up on the ruins. Again, if you take your own car, then no time restrictions.

Oh, and one more thing....don't let it cross your mind that you can hike up or hike down from the Madinat archeological site. Its a really good distance and, well.. not allowed.

8  Thank LaLiebre
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 May 2014

Five miles from the centre of Cordoba so you need to have a hire car or catch a bus to get here. However, it is well worth the trip. Make sure that you watch the short film in the visitor centre before you catch the tourist bus up to the site, as it puts everything in context, and makes it easier to understand what you're actually seeing.
A fabulous site which deserves better publicity, so more people can appreciate this amazing place.

1  Thank Geo-0131
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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