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“You should go there, if you're around”

Archaeological Ensemble of Madinat Al-Zahra
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Medina Azahara Tour from Cordoba
Ranked #9 of 137 things to do in Cordoba
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Monday Closed
Sofia, Bulgaria
Level Contributor
53 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“You should go there, if you're around”
Reviewed August 4, 2013

I can't say that this place is mandatory for visiting, but if you have time you should visit it. The excavations are still "young" and the restorations are still in progress. It's an interesting place with great history, but unfortunately forgotten by the time. Also, it's very hot during the summer days (38 degrees + ), so be prepared. The official way to visit is to stop at the museum's parking ( which is about 1.5 km away ), to enter into the museum and then to catch a special shuttle bus ( on every 15-20 minutes ). As we found out, due to the EU funding, the entrance tickets are free for EU citizens ( but the buss is 2 euro ). If you want, you can try to go to the excavations by your self - there have a small parking, but the road to there is very narrow. Guiding information on place is available, but it's better to find a guide. We was not prepared, but fortunately we met Rafael, a freelance guide, which made us an excavations tour for about an hour. You can find him at rjalvaco@gmail.com, but if not, probably you can ask in the museum.

Visited July 2013
Thank vasilevn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Bremen, Germany
Level Contributor
41 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“It's hot, it's archaeological site, it's in Europe!”
Reviewed July 20, 2013

Very nice archaeological site. I learned a lot about Spain in the past during the Islamic era. I joined guided tour and the guide is good, has a lot of knowledge & passionate about the history. As mentioned by other reviewers, to go there we have to arrange it in tourist info office or travel agent. We then take a bus outside Cordoba for around 30-40 min to the museum. There we change the bus to the archaeological site. The guided tour takes around 1.5 hour and only leave around half an hour for visiting the museum before the bus to Cordoba departs! Surely it's not enough. At least we need another 1.5 hour for the museum. I don't know how to advise on this, but just plan it carefully.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank Asti W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
62 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Travellers beware”
Reviewed July 15, 2013

This is a review of visiting, not of the site itself: you can read many excellent reviews of this magnificent site elsewhere. We first visited the site in 2009: we drove up to the ruins, parked, took the written guide and were amazed. We were seeing a gigantic 3D jigsaw puzzle being solved to reveal a magnificent city that will certainly be one of the great archaeological sites in Western Europe when fully explored.
So we were very excited to return in 2013 to see the progress that had been made. Disaster. The guardians of the site have, rather than spending money on archaeology, spent it on 'an award-winning interpretation centre' a mile aand a half away, complete with expensive computer graphics. Visitors who want to see the real thing, now have to park miles away and walk through blazing heat to the 'interpretation centre' where they can buy tickets for the site. They then have to walk back to the car park and wait half an hour without shade for a bus. During the ride, the ticket collector will try to sell them a meal at a nearby hotel.. And when they get to the site, they will find that some of the most thrilling parts are closed to the public for the foreseeable future. And if they are enterprising and catch a providentially waiting bus, or get dropped off directly at the site, they will discover that the jobsworths won't sell them a ticket there. Instead they will have to wait another half hour for a bus to go DOWN to the 'interpretation centre' to buy a ticket, and then wait another half hour (no shade and 41ºC) for a bus back up again. And the unfriendly unhelpful jobsworths will sneer at their discomfort all the while.
It is a measure of the site that it is probably still worth a visit - although perhaps in Spring or in the autumn.

Visited July 2013
5 Thank Quentar_people
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ratoath, Ireland
Level Contributor
38 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Very impressive museum”
Reviewed July 14, 2013

Brilliant museum and information and history video- modernised very well and vividly, well worth a visit. The archaeological site itself is very very big and could take a long time to get around and can be hard in the heat. Peaceful site though and interesting to imagine what it used to be like.

Visited May 2013
1 Thank srr86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great Experience”
Reviewed July 13, 2013

If you are into archaeology, this is a great sight to visit with the caveat that much of it is still being explored and cataloged and is therefore closed to the public. The museum is a nice place to check out as well although much like the actual site, it can feel a bit barren.

A knowledgeable guide is the best way to experience these sites. Our tour guide, Rafael Jesus Alvarez, made what could have been a boring experience, come alive. He's definitely worth seeking out.

Visited June 2013
Thank Navid_84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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