It has been 100 years since excavations started on the Madinat Al Zahra, the magnificent 10th century palace city near Cordoba in southern Spain.
In a curious parallel, new techniques such a tele-imaging, that are being used in order to understand the 115-hectare site, reflect the revolutionary building techniques developed here a thousand years ago, and which came to define the distinct “Andalucian style”.
A nearby museum completed on the site in 2008 and shortlisted for this year’s Aga Khan Award for Architecture, is the base where research and restoration is carried out on objects recovered from the archaeological site.
Archaeologist Ramon Fernandez points to the remains of the palace where the caliph lived. It stands high above the rest of the city, giving the ruler a psychological advantage. He used it to impress his might on his subjects – and visiting foreign ambassadors.