The students of the first year travel agency training course, accompanied by their teachers Lourdes, Scott and David, recently paid a visit to Madinat Al-zahra. This residential city, located close to Cordoba, was constructed at the behest of the caliph Abd-ar Rahman III in the 10th century as a symbol of the Umayaad Dynasty´s power. However, it had stood for only 74 years when it was sacked by the Berbers in 1010. Even so, Madinat al-zahra is, nowadays, one of the most outstanding Moorish traces within the period of al-Andalus (Moorish Spain).

Prior to visiting the archaeological site, we went to the visitor´s recently opened welcoming centre. We arrived there in plenty of time, so the venue was still closed. In the meantime, with the help of teachers, students made the most of it by checking the presentations in English they had previously prepared in class, which they were to give throughout the visit to the site. This was a clever way to face up to the cold morning.

There, a tourist information technician gave us a very full explanation in English about the site, Madinat al-zahra, by means of the pieces and maps on display within the museum.

After that, we watched a very illustrative video of how the palace-city would have been in the past.

After having a quick look at the shop, we went to bus stop and hopped on the shuttle that took us to the site.

During the visit, due to the numerous visitors that were there, the scheduled itinerary was altered.

Firstly, it was Agueda and Ana in charge of reporting on Madinat al-zahra, its location, its layout, its connections with Cordoba, and its working as a residential city-palace.

Secondly, Elena let us know about The North Gate and its function of providing food and beverages, in connection with “El Camino de Los Nogales”.

Thirdly, Carmen reported on the “Edificio Basilical Superior” and its administrative functions.

After that, it was Mª Ángeles who explained about the military and diplomatic functions Portico Oriental” served.

Then, Jose Pablo´s turn came. He reported on Madinat al-zahra´s gardens and the central pavilion.

Following Jose Pablo´s report, Rocío let us know about Ya´Far, its position in the city-palace, and the house where he lived.

Then, it was Fátima in charge of explaining about the houses of Ya´Far´s servants, the “Guard Corp” and its function of border crossing between the Alcazar (on the left) and the administrative area (on the right), and the "Stables".

After that, Laura reported on the Mezquita Aljama of Madinat al-zahra as place of worship for both the caliph, the servants living indoors, and the inhabitants living outside.

In a nutshell, the students paid an interesting, enjoyable and educational visit to Madinat Al-zahra and its brand-new visitor´s welcoming centre, throughout which they got the chance to practice their English Speaking and their social and communicative skills.

Well done, guys!

Author: David Romero.
Collaborator: Scott Lowrey.


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