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.
Al-Andalus is a term that the Muslims used to refer to the territory that they conquered and ruled in the Iberian Peninsula. Obviously, this territory changed over time under the pressure of the Reconquista (The Reconquest Battles), until –by the XIII century- it was limited only to the Kingdom of Granada, the Last Kingdom.
The Islamic rule in al-Andalus spanned some eight centuries (711 – 1492), and left a lasting legacy in science and humanities, in art and culture, and obviously, in the memory of stone. From the splendor of the Mezquita (Great Mosque) of Cordoba (the jewel of the Umayyad architecture) to the spectacular palaces and gardens of the Alhambra (the Nasrid art at its best), I was fortunate enough to live and study in Andalusia for a year, visiting every single monument from the al-Andalus era and traveling extensively to visit one site after another.
In this post…
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