The Moors’ Final Stand


After more than 700 years the Moors were finally left cornered in Granada, Spain, once having ruled all of the Iberian peninsula and much of western Europe. Their stronghold was the magnificent Alhambra, a castle and fortress on the grandest scale. It remains today as one of the wonders of architecture in the world. We had the privilege of visiting it on our trip through Spain. This is an outside wall with flowering trees at the base. The whole of the Alhambra is so vast that one tiny perspective like this is like viewing one crevice of the Grand Canyon. You simply have to go to really appreciate it. There is ornate room upon room, sprawling through what must be dozens of acres. And there is a summer home higher in the hills just to the east of the main complex, where the rulers spent the hotter months in the coolness of the mountain breezes and shade.

In 1492 Queen Isabella and her husband, King Ferdinand, decreed Spain to be Christian, forcing the Islamic rulers out and those not of the faith to convert or be expelled. There’s a poignancy among the grandeur that is Alhambra, made sharper knowing of the vibrant culture that the Moors brought to Iberia and the educational and academic advancements that resulted. All this was swept away in an instant, causing a religious diaspora of Jews and Muslims alike, ushering Spain into the beginning of what would be a darker, less open period that included religious persecution and the likes of the Spanish Inquisition.


Watercolor on paper

5.5″ X 4.5″


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