Daily quote – April the 6th – On Arab influence in Western Europe

”To this day the Arab influence is evident in southern Italy, northern Africa and, above all, in Spain.” – Carroll Quigley

 

As some of you might know, the Arab influence in Spain and Portugal was really big. The most famous example of Arab heritage left in Spain is the Alhambra in Granada, a beautiful palace and garden, fully conserved and up until this day opened for visitors.

There is a debate going on amongst historians though, as to whether or not Spain and parts of Portugal were ”conquered” in the pure sense of the word. Some of them claim that these regions gradually became under muslim domination, rather than being captured in the way we know it. Whichever way it has happened, what we do know for sure is that the muslim rulers have left a great and very interesting heritage in these parts of Europa. Not only in Granada, but in Cordóba too. In this beautiful small Spanish city, there is the famous Mézquita, a church with a very long and immense history, dating back from the Roman period. In the Mezquita, a mihrab is still present, which indicates that it has once been a mosque. The mihrab is a niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the way in which muslims pray, to Mekka. This idea is called qibla. Not only the fact that this building has been both a mosque and a church is interesting though. The interior, too, is very unique, with its striped arcs.

 

Not only in Spain there are signs of this interesting period in the history of the Iberian Peninsula, or, how the muslim rulers used to call the regio, Al-Andalus. In Portugal there are signs that refer to this time as well, however harder to find and not as well-known as these in Spain. An example, from my visit to Portugal, last february:

 

This is a picture made in Silves, the former political, cultural and financial centrum of Portugal. The city has had a time in which it flourished, after it was captivated by the muslims, who began to expand their territory after 713. It was called the Baghdad of the West.

More about this soon, when I’ll have visited Rome! Enjoy your weekend and if you’re celebrating Easter: Happy Easter!

 

 

 

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