Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Moslem Spain

The Islamic civilization has been converted during our time into a seemingly malevolent social force, a very unfair representation of a rich and vibrant culture from which a fair share of many of today's advances is derived.

Anyone who has traveled in Spain, for example, can name several examples:

Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba. Once upon a time, this Great Mosque was converted into a Catholic church when the city of Cordoba was reconquered. The builders conserved the arches, placed a nave in the center and constructed a Christian house of worship over a Moslem edifice.

Plaza de Leones de Granada. This is, without a doubt, the most famous landmark in the Alhambra of Granada. A professor of mine said that the fountain may be an addition after the Reconquista, since Moslems are prohibited from depicting humans and animals in their art (a fallacy, says Wikipedia).

Alfajería de Zaragoza. This castle is in the outskirts of Saragossa and houses the courts of justice of Aragon. This part of the Palacio Taifal can be found in front of an exquisite garden and fountain typical of Islamic architecture.

Reales Alcázares de Sevilla. The gardens of the Alcazares of Seville are right next the cathedral. Considering how ebullient the city of Seville is, the royal gardens set against the backgroup of restored architectural masterpieces offer a good hideaway from the maddening crowds.

Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz de Toledo. Did you see the misnomer? (Christ? Mosque?) The Arabic name of the mosque is Bab al-Mardum. It was still under a process of conservation when I visited Castilla-La Mancha the last time.

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