The Caliphate city of Medina Azahara is inscribed to UNESCO World Heritage List
  • With the inclusion of Medina Azahara, Spain now has 47 properties inscribed on the World Heritage List and continues having the third highest number of UNESCO sites of any country
  • Medina Azahara is an example of a 10th century Islamic city built ex novo by the Umayyad dynasty as the seat of the Caliphate of Cordoba
  • Spain is a member of the World Heritage Committee until 2021.


The 42nd Session of the World Heritage Committee, held in Manama (Bahrain), has decided today to include in its World Heritage List the Caliphate City of Medina Azahara, in Cordoba.

With the addition of Medina Azahara, Spain now has 47 properties inscribed on the World Heritage List and continues having the third highest number of UNESCO sites of any country. 41 of them are cultural properties, 4 are natural sites and 2 of them are mixed properties.

Spain shows its strong commitment and leadership with respect to the preservation of heritage, as a result of the joint effort and coordination of the corresponding public entities and at all levels of the government. It is a commitment that we take beyond our borders, namely with partner countries of the Spanish Cooperation, both by means of the UNESCO's Spanish Funds-in-Trust, and the Heritage for Development programme. 

Medina Azahara

The archaeological site of Medina Azahara was a new city built in the mid-10th century by the Western Umayyad dynasty as the seat of the Caliphate of Cordoba. After prospering for several years, it was laid to waste and the remains of the city were forgotten until their rediscovery in the early 20th century.

This complete urban ensemble features infrastructure, buildings, decorative elements and everyday objects and provides in-depth knowledge of the material culture of a now vanished civilization at the height of its splendour. Likewise, the extraordinary conservation of its surroundings enables the recovery of the landscape value that contributed to the election of that place, as well as its territorial imprint.

The universality of the cultural value of the site is underlined by its uniqueness, as it is the only surviving city of these characteristics within the European territory and dating from this historical period within the Islamic culture. The fact that it remained ignored for almost 1,000 years has enabled that it has remained unaltered.

The recovery process by means of its excavation and protection has continued over a century, promoted by the public entities. The public financing – first at a national level and lately at a regional level – has guaranteed the ownership of the site, with the greatest level of protection, and has promoted the constitution of a specific institution for the management of the Archaeological Site, providing it with the appropriate facilities and personnel.

Spain, member of the World Heritage Committee

On autumn 2017, Spain became a member of the World Heritage Committee and this is the first meeting of the World Heritage Committee since then. It is the third time that our country is a member of this institution. Spain was previously a member between 1991 and 1997 and from 2005 to 2009.

The World Heritage Committee consists of twenty-one countries chosen by the 193 Member States that have signed the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (Paris, 1972) and it is the executive body of this international convention.

Said Committee is responsible for deciding the new sites that meet the requirements for been inscribed to UNESCO World Heritage List, on the basis of the proposals made by the Member States and the reports prepared by the technical assessment entities. Additionally, it is responsible for evaluating said reports relating to the state of conservation of the sites that are already inscribed and for requesting the countries, when applicable, to adopt protection measures for the proper preservation of the sites.





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