UNESCO provides key help to Medina Azahara

Excavations to resume after city listed as World Heritage Site

11 July, 12:07

    MADRID - In less than a century, Medina Azahara, Medinat Al-Zahra (the city that shines in Arabic), sank into oblivion although it maintained the memory of its ancient splendor.

    The Caliphate City is an archeological site of a city built in the mid-10th century by the Umayyad dynasty as the seat of the Caliphate of Cordoba and has just been added to UNESCO's World Heritage List.

    Nevertheless, lack of funding and the paralysis of restoration work since 2009, due to the financial crisis, have contributed to maintain the city 8 km west of Cordoba on the brink of ruin in spite of the support provided by international organizations. Its inscription to UNESCO's World Heritage List can save it, given that conservation experts hope this will induce State and local institutions to invest to resume excavation work and complete the restoration of the archaeological site.

    ''If everything goes all right, a new agreement will be signed in the fall to restart work that stopped three years ago'', explained the private World Monuments Foundation, which invested one million euros to restore the Salon Rico, compared to the half million allocated by the regional government.

    The foundation said that before restoration work stalled, ''we recuperated over 5,000 fragments of columns, capitals and decorations with typical motifs in small arabesques, with the atauriques, the carved marble slabs to extract stone. All the material was catalogued and put in order to be reallocated on facades and marble floors. We hope to be able to partially recuperate the Salon Rico, of which we only have 30%'', they said. (ANSAmed)

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