The proposed tour currently begins at the round walkway of the North Wall, although in the 10th century, formal visits began at the south wall, ascending to the Alcázar; therefore, we should bear in mind that the tour is currently carried out in reverse order, descending from the highest area. Entrance to the inside is gained through a door at a bend, the Puerta Norte (North Gate), from which one of the paths which links Madinat al-Zahra with Córdoba begins.
From this door, turning west, to the right, you can gain access to the residential part of the Alcázar through a street parallel to the wall leading to the ¿Viviendas Superiores¿(¿Upper Dwellings¿). These are two residential units, the rooms of which are organised around spacious square courtyards. A street which separates them leads into the so-called ¿Cuerpo de Guardia¿(¿Corps of Guards¿) from which access among the administrative area, situated to the east, and the most private section of the Alcázar, was controlled. Between the two areas, the ¿Caballerizas¿ (the ¿Stables¿) can be found which now act as an access point to the residential section, and specifically, to the so-called ¿Casa de Ya¿far¿ (¿House of Ya¿far¿), a good example of a residence of a senior official of the caliph''s administration, inside which, two areas can be established again: a domestic one in the northern half and a representation one to the south. The latter came about as a result of a significant construction of a basilica plan with three naves opening onto a large courtyard, where the façade is beautifully and abundantly decorated with atauriques. Separated from this large dwelling only by a corridor or passage, you can find the ¿Viviendas de Servicio¿ (¿The Staff Dwellings¿), where the domestic servants of the important figures who lived in the large residences located to the south carried out their work. Good evidence of this is the existence of an oven to prepare food. Other examples of these large residences are the ¿Vivienda de la Alberca¿ (The ¿Dwellings of the Alberca¿). and the ¿Patio de los Pilares¿ (¿The Patio of the Pillars¿) both of which are, at present, being consolidated and are not open to the public.
Returning to the \"Cuerpo de Guardia\" (\"Corps of Guards\"), and going eastwards, we begin the tour of the administrative section of the Alcázar. The first building that we come to is the so-called ¿Edificio Basilical Superior¿(¿Upper Basilica Building¿). which has a set of rooms and courtyards for official use around a large basilica room with five naves, very austere in decoration, which opens to the south into a large courtyard which did not originally have landscaped gardens.
Across a street with two inclined sections you can gain access to a large porch, which is the monumental, formal entrance of the Alcázar. This series of arches is a magnificent architectural design, positioned as a façade of the parade ground of the palace where, among other events, military parades must have been held.
In our descent to the next terrace, we can see the Aljama mosque, located on the lower level of the city and correctly oriented towards the South East. Situated on the outside of the walled enclosure of the Alcázar, the Aljama Mosque is joined to this enclosure by a passageway or covered bridge (sabat), used exclusively by the caliph to gain access to the oratory. In front of the mosque, there are a number of dwellings which may be associated with the staff of the mosque.
The tour through the official part of the Alcázar concludes on the terrace which is presided by the \"Salón de Abd al-Rahman III\" (\"The Drawing Room of Abd al-Rahman III\"), one of the stately drawing-rooms assigned to the political receptions held in the city. This building, of a basilica plan, and with an exuberant decoration in stone stuck to the walls (ataurique), has been, since its construction around the middle of 950, the symbolic reference of the new capital city. It stands at the centre of an ensemble comprising an extensive garden with cross paths, a building in the central position ¿which has completely disappeared- surrounded by 4 basins, and a series of luxuriant rooms which open onto the northern pathway enclosing the garden and which end in an individual bath. All the rooms were paved in white marble
At the highest part of the Alcázar, not included in the proposed tour and to which, at present, the public cannot access due to preservation problems, there is another building of particular importance: the Royal Household (Dar al-Mulk), which we can hypothetically identify with the private residence of the caliph Abd al-Rahman III.