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Archive for March 15th, 2019

In 711 the Moors crossed the Gibraltar strait and came to Hispania, conquered the Iberian Peninsula and for almost eight centuries the Muslims govern the area (except for Asturias and Galicia). During these years the Islam was a wide spread religion across Spain. Due to the Islam influence today we can find several cities, sites and places inspired by Islamic heritage.

The heart of the Muslim empire was in southern Spain which is nowadays called Andalusia. The name of the area also comes from the Arabic term Al-Andalus, which means Muslim Spain and which was the name of the occupied territory.

The Islamic period preserves a rich and varied heritage, especially during the Almohad Caliphate period in the 12th century. In this time Seville or earlier Isbiliya become in the capital city of Al-Andalus and several other city in the area strengthened and gain potency.

The almost eight hundred year of conquering of the country not only brought few beautiful mosques and book to Spain but several much more.

  • Gastronomy

One of the biggest influences of the Muslim occupation was on the cuisine, a tradition which fortunately continues today. The gastronomic costumes have survived for over thousands years and still part of the everyday Spanish life.

When the Moors came to Spain brought several new type of fruits and spices and when settled down they have started to plant the plough fields. Many of these products are the basic ingredients of today’s Spanish cuisine and include most spices and produces such as saffron, apricots, melons, artichokes, eggplant, carob, sugar, aubergines, grapefruits, carrots, coriander and rice.

spices

Different type of spices used in the Spanish kitchen

However, the Moors not only brought ingredients but several typical dishes and cooking methods to the Iberian Peninsula. One of the most famous and well – known dish in Spain, which can best symbolises the Spanish cuisine, the Paella comes from the Muslim ages. The main ingredients of this typical food are rice and saffron which weren’t known in Hispania before the Moor occupation. However, we should also mention other excellent platters such as the Arroz con Leche (Rice pudding), Pinchito Moruno Andaluz (a dish normally made with chicken, saffron, cumin and coriander), salt crusted baked fish and several other.

In today’s Spanish kitchen a favoured cooking method which is also due to the Moorish occupation is to coat different vegetables and fishes in flour and then fry it in oil. Another really important method is to salt fishes or vegetables and soak them in vinegar for a long time. A typical example for this is the Boquerones en Vinagre which means anchovies in vinegar.

 

food

Paella Valenciana (in the middle) and other different typical Spanish food       (Tortilla de Patatas, Pimiento Padrón, Jamón Ibérico, Croquetas, Queso Curado)

  • Architecture

The Islamisation of Spain transformed their socio-cultural and economic structures from poverty and darkness into prosperity and enlightenment. This has brought certain advantages in the architecture and art. Several region in Spain but especially Andalusia started to evolve and produced some of the world’s most fascinating architectural monuments including a number of palaces, mosques and gardens. They have started to achieve heights with stretching the buildings as well using new ornaments such as the horseshoe and multifoil arches. These new innovations are well visible in the Great Mosque of Cordoba, Al-Zahra (is the ruins of a vast, fortified Moorish medieval palace-city) or in the Alhambra Palace in Granada.

mosqeu cordoba

The inside part of the Great Mosque of Cordoba

alhambra

The Alhammbra Palace in Granada

  • Universities

The earliest universities in Europe, the madrasas or Islamic universities have been created from the 11th century. The first madrasas that was opened in Al-Ándalus was the University of Malaga and later several other cities such as Granada and Zaragoza opened their own universities. From the beginning up until the 16th century the teaching language was Arabic and the universities were dedicated to medicine. Only Cordoba, which in that times was the centre of culture, arts and the empire had three universities, 80 schools and a library with 700,000 manuscripts.

madrasa

Madrasa de Granada

  • Language and Vocabulary

Since Hispania was under Moor occupation for more than 800 hundred years the language also has been influenced by the ancient Arabic language. The current Spanish language is a result of the evolution of the ancient Castellan and Mozarabic languages. Several words and phrases comes from the Arab and a good example is Andalusia which was the heart of the Moor Empire and the name was in the era Als-Andalus. But we can find more than hundred Arabic origin words in the language. Just to mention a few: aceite (oil), zanahoria (carrot), naranja (orange), almohada (pillow) and so much more.

book

Book with Arabic writing

  • Islamic heritage routes across Spain

Ruta de al-Mutamid

The Route of al-Mutamid starts in Lisbon and embraces the south west cost of the Iberian Peninsula up until Seville. The original route goes through in 11 cities and offers a mix of Islamic heritage sites, gorgeous monuments and natural beauties including Sagres which is the most south western point in Europe, Albufeira, one of the most famous holiday site in Portugal, Huelva, Seville which is the home of several beautiful Islamic heritage monuments and several other fascinating cities and sites.

Ruta de al-Mutamid

The map of the Route of al-Mutamid

albufeira

The coast of Albufeira

Ruta del Califato

The Caliphate Route is an Islamic heritage route combining historical – monumental heritage with beautiful landscapes and great attractions. The path goes in the southern part of Spain, in Andalucía from Cordoba to Granada. During the way travellers will go through in three provinces: Cordoba, Jaen and Granada and can enjoy the main attractions of the way. Some of them are the Great Mosque of Cordoba, the Sierra de Moclín natural park, Alhambra Palace in Granada.

Ruta del Califato

The map of the Ruta del Califato

sierra de moclin

The Sierra de Moclin natural park

Ruta de los Almoravides y los Almohades

The Ruta de los Almoravides y los Almohades is a 400 km long path runs through in the province of Malaga and Cadiz in the south part of Spain. This cultural route begins in Tarifa, a south close to the Gibraltar and runs up until Granada. The tour uncover coasts, countryside, mountains, towns and cities in the area. Visitors can discover magnificent landscapes, legendary monuments and castles, traditions and heritage during the way. The tour ends in Granada, which gives home for several important Islamic heritage sites such as the Alhambra which is UNESCO World Heritage site since 1984.

Ruta de los Almoravides y los Almohades

The map of the Ruta de los Almoravides y los Almohades

cadiz

The city of Cadiz

If you get interested for the Islamic heritage, Spanish cuisine, fascinating architectures and history of Spain our Islamic Heritage packages are the perfect for you! For further information feel free to contact us!

map islamic heritage

Map of the cities which are home of several important Islamic heritage sites

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