Long time followers of this blog might recall my lovely photos of Cordoba when I wrote about the extent of Islamic rule in Europe a thousand years ago. Being half-Portuguese (my mother is from Porto) I’ve always been fascinated by the legacy left behind by the so-called “Moors” in what is now Spain and Portugal. So this blog instantly caught my attention as it reminded us that at the time of the first crusades and foundation of the Templars, the southern part of the Iberian peninsula was still very much an Islamic realm – Al-Andalus. And as this blogger rightly points out..Cordoba, Seville and Granada were jewels in the crown of the caliphate. It should also be remembered that the crusades were not just fought in the Middle East – but also in Al-Andalus and the Baltic region – which were both seen as targets for conversion by the papacy.