This Moorish Versailles just outside Córdoba, was constructed in the 10th century by the first caliph of al-Andalus, Abd ar-Rahman III. He named it after the favorite of his harem, nicknamed “the brilliant.” Thousands of workers and animals slaved to build this mammoth pleasure palace, said to have contained 300 baths and 400 houses. Over the years the site was plundered for building materials; some of its materials may have been used to build the Alcázar in Sevilla. The Royal House, a rendezvous point for the ministers, has been reconstructed. The principal salon remains in fragments, though, so you have to imagine it in its majesty. Just beyond the Royal House are the ruins of a mosque constructed to face Mecca. The Berbers sacked the palace in 1013 when the Umayyad dynasty briefly took control of al-Andalus.
- Frommer's Staff