Madinat al-Zahrà, or 'the city of flowers', but also the city of Zahrà, intended as a woman's proper name), was an Umayyad caldral residence between the tenth and eleventh centuries. The archaeological site is located at the foot of the Sierra Morena, about 5 kilometers west of Cordoba, in Spain. Also called Madinat Azahara, or Madinat az-Zahra' - from the name of the presumed favorite concubine of the caliph Abd al-Rahmàn III, al-Nāsir li-dīn Allāh, who would have sponsored the construction was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site has received funding from the European Community to continue the excavations undertaken for the first time in 1911. The construction of Madinat al-Zahra' began in 936 and was ordered by the first Andalusian caliph, Abd al-Rahmān III, who decided to found it to make it the representative center of the new caliphate, recently proclaimed by him, with an urban project that, by image, importance and use of resources can be compared, making the due proportions, to the realization of St. Petersburg, Caserta or Versailles, so as to be by someone defined as "the forgotten Versailles of the Middle Ages". This beauty, however, was destined to last very little: already in 1010, in fact, began the destruction of the city, which was not even 80 years, following the civil war (in Arabic fitna) which ended the caliphate and the Andalusian Umayyad dynasty. The destruction continued until 1013, also by a tribe of puritan iconoclasts from North Africa and was then continued by the countless that lasted until the last century, in order to recover construction material for the nearby city of Cordoba. The archaeological city consists of three terraced levels: during the visit you enter from the highest level and descend to the lower level. On the upper terrace is the residence of the caliph and of the most important court dignitaries, as well as administrative governing bodies and rooms used to house guards. The median terrace is occupied by gardens and orchards, while in the lower one there is the mosque and the city itself. Entry is possible through the north door, arranged "to elbow": a security device frequently used in Islamic cities. We then descend through a series of ramps to the troop quarters (in Arabic dār al-jund, the 'Army House'): according to the old interpretation a set of rooms and courtyards around a square esplanade used for military receptions and for defensive use, therefore very austere under the architectural profile and now used as a garden. Now, however, a new hypothesis has made its way: that the entire building was available to administrative personnel and so it was called the 'House of Ministers'. To the west of the existing garden, in front of the barracks, were the stables and the private residential area of the castle. To the east is the 'Portico Grande', connected to the barracks by a series of ramped lanes, probably to allow the transit of troops on horseback. The city was enclosed by a wall, which however was more a territorial limit than a true defense device. Only the central section of the north wall, built of limestone, as the whole city was excavated. Outside the wall is reinforced by rectangular towers and inside it has some structural reinforcement buttresses, to contain the ground. The state of the wall, as we can see today, is the result of Félix Hernández's restoration in the 1930s, since almost all of the original wall structure had disappeared as a result of the stripping of the walls.