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Andalusia: The Cross and The Crescent

When Europe was groping its way through the Dark Ages, 10th century Islamic Spain, Andalusia, was considered the jewel of the world.

Christianity and Judaism mixed easily with Islam, and no where else in Europe were the arts and sciences as brilliant as they were in Cordova, the capital of Andalusia in southern Spain

The land is arid, but the cities of Cordova, Grenada and Seville vibrate with color and resonate with Flamenco and Gypsy music.

Cobblestone streets lead past elegant arches and medieval walls.

And In Seville the magic of the Al Hambra with its intricate fountains and elegant courtyards has a beauty and grace that Europe only achieved in the later Renaissance.The Alhambra (from Arabic الْحَمْرَاء = Al-Ħamrā’, literally “the red one” was a favorite of American writer, Washington Irvington, who described the Christian “modifications” as a “brick among lace pillows,”

A must see.

Except it’s too bad the Spanish tend to deny or not embrace their Arab roots.

So many Spanish words come from the Arabic: “Holla” from Allah; Zaitune (olives) from the Arabic word for Olives.

Even the great river, Guadalquivir comes from the Arabic Wadi el Qabir, or big valley.

Any Spanish word with “Al” or “El” from the Arabic, meaning “the”.

There are attempts by some to affirm the Arab roots of Europe’s Spain. It’s not easy, though. Especially in this anti-Muslim climate.

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