The ancient remains of the Caliphate city of Medina Azahara in Spain have been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status following a meeting of the organization in Bahrain last weekend.
The remarkably well-preserved remains are a legacy to the vanished Western Islamic civilisation of Al-Andalus playing an important role in the history of Moorish Spain.
Located near the Spanish city of Cordoba Medina Azahara the magnificent palace-city was destroyed during a civil war that ended the Caliphate in the 10th century.
The city was built as a symbol of power to rival that of Bagdad by Caliph Abd ar-Rahman III over a period of 35 years before being laid to waste by rival Berber soldiers after existing for just 100 years.
Over the centuries the site was plundered for building materials before archaeologists discovered it early in the 20th century.
Today the site is open to the public, complete with a modern museum that depicts how the palace and gardens would have looked.
In their report, UNESCO said: “The site is a treasure trove for archaeologists, presenting a complete urban ensemble, including roads, bridges, water systems, buildings, decorative elements and everyday objects.”