The eighth century's greatest adventure story. Abd al-Rahman, low-ranking Umayyad prince, finds himself the only male member of his family to survive a massacre at the hands of the Abbasid rebels. He escapes through many adventures to the Maghreb (present-day Morocco) where he decides to try his luck in Spain, or as it was called then: Al-Andalus. More adventures await him there before he eventually becomes the Emir of Córdoba, establishing what would become Medieval Europe's richest and most prosperous country.
His greatest achievement is the mosque that still stands in Córdoba today: the Mezquita. Row upon row of red and white double arches fill the immense, contemplative space, except for a giant Renaissance cathedral dropped in the middle of it.
Sarah Kildow, listener and Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of Akron, stops by to discuss visiting Córdoba, seeing the Mezquita, eating tapas and enjoying Féria, the great Spring fair. Plus salmorejo, a chilled tomato soup that's perfect for hot summer days.
Andalucía is one of my favorite places, and I'm excited to bring this story to you.
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Gerber, Jane S. The Jews of Spain: a History of the Sephardic Experience
Jayyusi, Salma Khadra and Manuela Marín. The Legacy of Muslim Spain
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Kennedy, Hugh. Muslim Spain and Portugal: a Political History of al-Andalus
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Lonely Planet Guide to Andalucía
Lowney, Chris. A Vanished World: Medieval Spain’s Golden Age of Enlightenment
Masood, Ehsan. Science & Islam: A History
Menocal, María Rosa. The Ornament of the World
Rick Steves Spain
Photograph by Fabio Alessandro Locati