Submitted by Zelma Rush
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For almost eight centuries, the Iberian Peninsula lived one of its most privileged moments, not only with regard to Spain, but also to Europe as a whole: the age of Moslem Spain, which the Arabs called Bilad al-Andalus.
The Routes Of The Legacy Of Al-Andalus
The mixture of races, religions and cultures gave rise to a brilliant civilization, where both the Arts and Science flourished. Silks, objects of art produced in ivory, bronze and marble, ceramic tiling, the creation of a subtle architectural style and luminous sensual poetry all made al-Andalus the cultural focal point of Europe; a bridge between East and West; the cradle of a splendid and refined civilization.
The Foundation The legacy of al-Andalus aims to recover disseminate and preserve the historical, artistic and architectural heritage of al-Andalus. But also, its wish is to promote the most outstanding values of that civilization: the people's feeling for life, how they lived together in tolerance and harmony, their music, gastronomy, everyday life. The mark left by al-Andalus is reflected in the concept of art, in the character and in the attitude toward life of the present-day inhabitants, heirs to this legacy.
Today we can all delve into this living inheritance, thanks to projects such as the Routes of the legacy of al-Andalus, which will take us through beautiful spots, providing us with an overall vision of the culture, as well as with the chance to truly experience it.
Route of the Caliphate
This Route runs through lands of Cordoba, Jaen and Granada, along the N-432 and N-331 main road and covering approximately 180 km. It links two large geological depressions; that of the river Gaudalquivir and that of Granada, traversing passes in the Sub-Betic mountain ranges opened by basins and river valleys. Both depressions are closed in by the Sierra Morena and Sierra Nevada massifs. This journey follows one of Andalusia's main communications routes.
This Route is a true adventure for the spirit: from Cordoba to Granada, also crossing ancient borderlands of Jaen. Two turning points in history; two unrepeatable moments; two golden ages. It showes the two extremes of the region, revealing the magnificent cultural, religious, political and social heritage left by the Moslems on the Iberian peninsula. Cordoba, the acme, the binding brilliance that made all the other western cities pale by comparison. Granada, the refined terminal mannerism of a civilisation under threat. And, between the two, a succession of walled towns and castles perched atop strategic vantage-points; places that, at first, became the scene of, or were witness to, the occassionally agitated military exchanges and then formed the camps and bases from which to besiege Granada.
This journey is not just a lesson in history. It is also an aesthetic delight, a joy for the senses. Not only for the eyes: refined palates will discover products and tastes with echoes of the past. Those same echoes also seem to be palpable in any of the celebrations and traditions fo the towns and villages along the Route. An itinerary, in short, which will undoubtedly make us that little bit wiser, thanks to all that we will experience along either of its two branches: northern and southern. History, celebrations and crafts, gastronomy.. all taking place in a landscape with a vegetation, agriculture and climate that are unique to these provinces of the Region of Andalucia.
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