The oldest standing construction in Madrid

In Madrid, very close to the Royal Palace and even closer to the cathedral of Santa María la Real de la Almudena, there is a construction that perhaps goes unnoticed before the hype and majesty of its partners. However, it is a place much older than them. It dates back to the 9th century, when Madrid was Mayrit. We are talking about the Muslim wall of Mohamed I of Cordoba, belonging to the park of the same name. This is the weekend getaway that we suggest for the last weekend of February, a place sometimes unknown by tourists and even locals.

Park of the Emir Mohamed I

Park of the Emir Mohamed I. | Wikimedia

The history of the wall of Mohamed I

The wall of the slope of the Vega, where the ruins of the fortification are located, was part of the defensive enclosure that surrounded Mayrit. Because yes, before being the city that it is, Madrid had walls and trees and was a metropolis capable of maintaining the balance between nature and urban life. Not only that, but Mayrit, founded during the Umayyad era of al-Andalus, was an Arab enclave for two centuries.

In the 1950s, after the demolition of the Malpica palace, the foundations of the wall were uncovered. Thus, in 1954 the building was declared a Historic-Artistic Heritage Site and in the 1980s it was restored. However, at the end of that same decade, the enclave was abandoned. Many years later, between 2010 and 2011, the municipality designed a park around the wall that today is known as the Emir Mohamed I. Later, in 2015, the City Council together with the Islamic Culture Foundation, restored the garden. And so we arrived at the place that can be visited today.

Mohamed I

In the background, the Almudena Cathedral and just in front the wall of Mohamed I. | Wikimedia

Curiousities of the Mohamed I Park

The park of Mohamed I is dedicated to the founder of Mayrit, Muhammad I of Cordoba. Likewise, this Andalusian-style garden was built with the intention of ‘remembering the diversity of cultures that have lived in the city of Madrid‘ or at least that is what is indicated from the City Council itself. Its main element, apart from the wall, consists of a fountain in the shape of a six-pointed star, located in the center of the place. In addition, the park is completed with the presence of different tree species, belonging to the Andalusian period, such as fig trees or a hackberry tree.

But the main element of the Emir Mohamed I Park is, of course, the wall. The side of the Almudena provides the backdrop for what remains of this fortification. 120 meters of wall that are located in the southwest corner of the park, next to what was known as Puerta de la Vega, which communicated with the Manzanares River in the past. To visit this park, by the way, you must keep in mind that you can only go on weekends and holidays between ten in the morning and nine at night. A real weekend corner.

Mohamed I Park

Mohamed I Park, very similar to the Andalusian gardens. | Wikimedia

Spots near the park

The Mohamed I park and its wall are located in the heart of Madrid, so the closest options are clear. To begin with, a visit to the Andalusian garden should go hand in hand with a walk around the Royal Palace, as well as a visit to the interior of the Almudena Cathedral, which more than one Madrilenian has committed the sin of never seeing the inside. Built between the late 19th and late 20th centuries, this building has a neoclassical style on the outside, neo-Gothic inside and neo-Romanesque in its crypt.

From there, there are many options to visit. Just a few minutes away you can reach the Puerta del Sol, the Plaza Mayor or Gran Vía street. In fact, it is best to make a tour of all these places until you reach the Plaza de España. In this way, you will have seen a very important part of the center of Madrid. And if you have enough time? And if you have already seen all this? Well, next to the Plaza de España and just 20 minutes walk from the park Emir Mohamed I, is the Temple of Debod. Because in Madrid to go from seeing an Arab site to an Egyptian monument is easy.

Almudena Cathedral

Interior of the Almudena Cathedral. | Shutterstock

There are still places to discover even in big cities

The Emir Mohamed I Park is a place unknown by tourists, but also by locals. The possibility of knowing new places in places that are as famous as the Royal Palace or the Almudena and, in general, the whole center of Madrid, is what leads us to select this garden as the weekend getaway. Because it teaches us a history that many people forget, because it makes us connect with other cultures and with our roots.

You can also read this article in Spanish and French.


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