Tag Archives: Cordoba

Travels in Spain – Antequera to Córdoba

Antequera King Fedinand

“I would sooner be a foreigner in Spain than most countries.  How easy it is to make friends in Spain!” – George Orwell

We woke to a glorious morning and sunlight spilled like a waterfall into the room through the splintered cracks in the solar-bleached  shutters weathered over years by rain and sun and in contrast to the previous two mornings there was a perfect piercing blue sky.  These are my favourite sort of mornings!

The hotel was wonderful but didn’t provide breakfast so we found a place nearby and enjoyed hot tea, cheese, ham and pan con tomate, in the company of groups of young men who were sitting around chatting, preparing for later life and practising what the old men of the town do – sitting around and chatting –  just as as Gerald Brennan explained in ‘South from Granada’ “…almost every Spanish peasant becomes wise when he passes fifty.”

For the first part of the morning we split up once more, Kim went to the main shopping street, I declined the opportunity to join her and in the ninety minutes that was allocated I planned a speed sightseeing tour of the city.

I began in the church opposite the hotel but there was a service taking place and I felt like an intruder so I made my way to the city museum which was still closed and not due to open for another hour so instead I walked to the bullring at the opposite end of the city but that was closed as well, with an apologetic sign that explained that it was being prepared for some sort of military display.  I snapped some pictures and then walked back to San Sebastian.

Antequera Bullring

With all of the unexpected closures I still had time to spare so walked back to the Alcazaba and Plaza de Santa Maria where the weather today was so much better for photographs of the city from this elevated spot.  Reunited with Kim I explained about the bullring closure but I don’t think she believed me and we walked all the way back to get exactly the same result!

Now it was time for the moment that I had not been looking forward to – trying to manoeuvre the rental car from the cramped parking spot without damaging it so after settling up at the hotel I made my way pessimistically back to the garage.  I was absolutely certain that it would be impossible to get out of the tight space.  I was sweating, I was panicking, my stomach was tied in a Gordion knot but as it turned out I needn’t have worried, by a miracle ours was the only car in there and getting out was piece of cake but despite this piece of welcome good fortune I still told Kim how difficult it was and that it required all my driving skills to plot a safe way out – that is a secret by the way and I am trusting you all to keep it that way!

It was early lunch time now so before leaving Antequera we found a restaurant on the edge of town with a sunny terrace and a splendid view of the castle and the whitewashed town gleaming like salt flats in the sun or as though there had been an unexpected fall of snow so we stayed longer than intended and ordered more food than we planned and then we left and headed for Córdoba.

Alcazaba Antequera

We didn’t drive directly there but made a short detour to Almodóvar del Rio where a large castle was perched strategically on the top of a hill and this looked well worth stopping for.

The Castillo de Almodóvar is a grand fortress erected on a strategic  mound along the valley of the Rio Guadalquivir, which incidentally at four hundred miles is the fifth longest river in Spain and is one of the country’s most important because it irrigates a fertile valley and creates a rich agricultural area.

Square towers flank its towering walls and the entire castle is surrounded by a large moat.  During the years of Moorish occupation it was an Arab stronghold and after the reconquest it became the medieval home for members of the Spanish nobility.  After the Reconquista and no longer required for a military purpose it gradually fell into disrepair and much of it was plundered for convenient building material by the people of the nearby town but the Count of Torralba rebuilt it a hundred years ago restoring the external appearance of the original Arab fortification.

At its elevated position there was a spectacular view of the plains to the south and the mountains to the north and although the sun was shining it was getting cold and the clouds were getting closer.  We visited the castle in the company of a school outing who were enjoying an interactive history lesson which must have been highly entertaining judging by all of the laughter and giggles.  It was a good castle and well worth the €5 entrance fee and we climbed the towers and walked the ramparts and when we had seen all there was to see we left and continued the drive to Córdoba.

More castles of Spain

Travels in Spain – Postcards from Andalucía

Andalusia Postcard

“We are in the Spanish south.  The castanets click from coast to coast, the cicada hum through the night, the air is heavy with jasmine and orange blossom… the girls have dark eyes and black hair”  –  Jan Morris, ‘Spain’

After two years I have returned to my travels in Spain, this time to Andalucía where there is no Don Quixote of Castilla-La Mancha or El Cid of Castilla y Leon because this is the land of Don Juan, Carmen and famous bull-fighters!

I will tell you  soon about my visit to Ronda, Antequera, Cordoba and Granada…

Andalusia Postcard 2Ronda Postcard

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Victory

El Cid Burgos Spain

El Cid and the Reconquesta

Once over the river we crossed a bridge lined with statues depicting the heroes of the Reconquesta and then, there he was – El Cid, looking fearsome with his grizzled beard, wild cloak flowing madly behind him, his mighty sword La Tizona extended ahead of him,  much too big and heavy for an ordinary mortal, his burning eyes fixed ferociously on an enemy army as he led a charge to victory against the Moors sat on his magnificent famous white steed Babieca.

Read the Full Story…

Game Of Thrones – Film Locations

PB290423

I have never been a fan of ‘Game Of Thrones’, I didn’t get past episode 1, series 1 but more and more I get the feeling that I know a great deal about it because there are so many places that I have been that have by coincidence been used as filming locations for the programme.

I took all of these photographs completely oblivious to this fact and without a glimmer of interest in the series.  The picture above is the Alcazar de Sevilla  which for GOT became the Water Palaces of Dorne.

There are a lot of Roman bridges in Spain, they could have used those in Merida or Salamanca but they chose this one in Córdoba in Andalusia…

Roman Bridge at Cordoba

This is Þingvellir National Park one of several locations used for filming in the photogenic country of Iceland…

Iceland Landscape

A lot of the filming for the early series was done on location on the tiny Mediterranean country of Malta, this is the Azure Window on the island of Gozo,  it also appeared in films such as Clash of the Titans and The Count of Monte Cristo, as well as the television mini-series The Odyssey.

Azure Window Gozo Malta

Also on Malta they used the medieval walled city of Mdina

Mdina Malta

After exhausting the filming location opportunities on Malta the filming moved a few miles east to the Balkan country of Croatia.  This is the Krka National Park  or for GOT The Landscapes of The West

Dubrovnik featured prominently as The Red Keep and the site of the Battle of Blackwater…

And the Roman Palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian was a certainty to be used…

Next time I go travelling I will pay more attention to more possible GOT film location sitings.

Has anyone else come across these or other GOT locations?  Send me your pictures and I will see if I can make a post!

The Dark Hedges Northern Ireland

Weekly Photo Challenge: Converge – The Mosque at Cordoba

Cordoba Mosque

The Great Mosque of Cordoba was, and continues to be, considered a wonder of the medieval world by both Muslims and Christians alike. Built on a Visigothic site, which was probably the site of an earlier Roman temple, the Great Mosque of Cordoba was begun between 784 and 786 during the reign of ‘Abd al-Rahman I and constructed initially from materials taken from demolished Roman structures including those as far away as Merida in Extremadura.

At the time Córdoba became the largest, richest and most sophisticated city in Western Europe.  Mediterranean trade and cultural exchange flourished.  Muslims imported a rich intellectual tradition from the Middle East and North Africa and Muslim and Jewish scholars played an important part in reviving and expanding classical Greek learning in Western Europe.  The indigenous cultures interacted and integrated openly with Muslim and Jewish cultures in complex ways, thus giving the region a distinctive culture which perpetuates even today.

As well as being the second largest Mosque in the world at the time of its construction this was the grandest and most beautiful church constructed by the Moors in Spain and it is situated deep in the heart of the city amongst a lattice work of narrow streets, geranium laden balconies, secret patios and half-hidden plazas in the city’s old Jewish quarter.

Read the full story…

Cordoba Andalusia Spain

 

Cathedrals of Spain

Palencia Cathedral

Palencia, Castilla y Leon

Burgos Cathedral

Burgos, Castilla y Leon

Siguenza Central Spain

Siguenza, Castilla-la Mancha

Cordoba Andalusia Spain

Cordoba, Andalucia 

Girona Catalonia Spain Cathedral

Girona, Catalonia

Santiago Cathedral

Santiago de Compostela, Galicia

Andalusia 196 Seville Cathedral

Seville, Andalucia

Leon cathedral Spain

León, Castilla y Leon

Asturias Cathedral

Oviedo, Asturias

Entrance Tickets – The Mosque and Cathedral at Cordoba

Cordoba Cathedral Entrance Ticket

“The Supreme Caliphate of Cordoba was set up in rivalry to the Abbasside dynasty of Baghdad and was so cultured, sophisticated broad-minded and fastidious a state that for a century southern Spain was the lodestar of Europe”  Jan Morris – ‘Spain’

I visited Cordoba on a cold day in November and was glad to get inside the complex out of the squally rain.  I am certain that I wasn’t fully prepared for what I would see because here was a spectacular man made forest of rock with nearly a thousand red and cream columns of granite, jasper and marble supporting the roof and creating a dazzling visual effect.

Read the full story…

 

Northern Spain – El Cid and the Spanish Reconquista

El Cid 1

“When it was night the Cid lay down. In a deep sleep he fell,                                   And to him in a vision came the angel Gabriel:                                                          “Ride, Cid, most noble Campeador, for never yet did knight                                  Ride forth upon an hour whose aspect was so bright.                                             While thou shalt live good fortune shall be with thee and shine. ” ”                            El Cantar del Mio Cid

As we wandered around the streets of Burgos I was reminded constantly of the story of El Cid.

The seven hundred year period between 722 and 1492 has long been known to historians of Spain as the ‘Reconquista’ and the Spanish have organised and interpreted their medieval history around the drama of this glorious event which over time has become an established feature of the self-image of the Spanish people.

It has become embellished into a sort of organised Catholic national crusade and although there is some truth in this much of it in reality was simply due to the expansionist territorial ambitions of competing northern Spanish kingdoms such as Asturias and León.

In legend the focal point of the story of the Reconquista has been the heroic tale of Rodrigo Díaz de Bivar or El Cid, the National hero of Spain and revered by many as being single-handedly responsible for the victory of the Catholic Kingdoms over the North African Moors but whilst El Cid was undoubtedly a great warrior and soldier he was only one of many who contributed to the Crusade.

The explanation for his pre-eminence is the responsibility of Ramón Menéndez Pidal, who was the foremost Spanish historian of his age and the author of the standard biography of the Cid, first published in 1929.  Pidal gave substantial credibility to the ‘Poema de Mio Cid’, which was a work written at the height of the crusading age and, crucially, fifty years after the Cid’s death.  Then, his valiant deeds against the Muslims made him a suitable exemplar to inspire a generation of holy warriors fighting the Crusades, and his life quickly moved from reality into the realms of legend.

In the eighth century almost all of the Iberian Peninsula was conquered by hostile Muslim armies from North Africa. Only a number of areas in the mountainous north that roughly correspond to modern Asturias, Cantabria, Navarre and northern Aragon managed to resist the initial invasion and many years before El Cid this was to become the breeding ground of the Reconquista.

El Cid Babieca and La Tizona

Life under Moorish occupation was rather mixed, for many it wasn’t that bad and under Islam, the status of Christians and Jews was recognised, there was great religious and social tolerance and in return for a small tax they were free to practice their own religion but for others there was persecution and intolerance and this forced the disaffected to migrate north to take refuge in the Christian Kingdoms.   Conversion to Islam proceeded at a steadily increasing pace however and by the end of the tenth century Muslims of ethnic Iberian origin are believed to have comprised the majority of the population of Andalusia.

In legend the story of El Cid and the reconquest has acquired a rather simple plot of Christian Spain against Muslim Moors but throughout this period the situation in Iberia was much more  complicated.  As well as fighting against each other Christian and Muslim rulers commonly fought amongst themselves, the Berbers of North Africa, who had provided the bulk of the invading armies, clashed with the fundamentalist Arab leadership from the Middle East and to further complicate matters interfaith alliances were not unusual.  The fighting along the Christian Muslim frontier was punctuated by prolonged periods of peace and truces and distorting the situation even further were the legions of mercenaries who frequently switched sides and fought for cash.

El Cid lived at this confusing time and he too at various times had Muslim allies and at other times worked for Muslim paymasters against Christians because he was, in short, a warrior for hire, a mercenary, who spent much of his career fighting for whoever paid him the most.

In popular culture the reconquest has been raised to the status of a crusade and the expulsion of the Moors as liberation from an occupying army but again this is not strictly the case.  At this time Córdoba became the largest, richest and most sophisticated city in Western Europe.  Mediterranean trade and cultural exchange flourished.  Muslims imported a rich intellectual tradition from the Middle East and North Africa and Muslim and Jewish scholars played an important part in reviving and expanding classical Greek learning in Western Europe.

The indigenous cultures interacted with Muslim and Jewish cultures in complex ways, thus giving the region a distinctive culture.  Outside the cities, the land ownership system from Roman times remained largely intact as Muslim leaders rarely dispossessed landowners, and the introduction of new crops and techniques led to an improvement and expansion of agriculture.

However, by the eleventh century, Muslim lands had fractured into squabbling rival kingdoms and this encouraged the northern Christian kingdoms to expand southwards with the opportunity to greatly enlarge their territories and consolidate their positions.

As early as 739 Muslim forces were driven from Asturias and a little later Frankish forces established Christian counties south of the Pyrenees and these areas were to develop into the Kingdoms of Navarre, Aragon and Catalonia.  The Kingdoms pushed south and the capture of Toledo in 1085 was soon followed by the completion of the Christian powers reconquest of all the northern territories.

El Cid’s greatest contribution to the Reconquesta came during this phase of the war and his finest victory was the capture of Valencia in 1094, which he later died defending in 1099.

El Cid Burgos

After a period of Muslim resurgence in the twelfth century the great Moorish strongholds in the south fell to Christian Spain in the thirteenth, Córdoba in 1236 and Seville in 1248 leaving only Granada in the south, which since 1238 was a dependent vassal of the King of Castile.

In 1469, the crowns of the Christian kingdoms of Castile and Aragon were united by the marriage of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon.  In 1478 the Moors were driven from the Balearic Islands and in 1492 the Christians captured Granada, ending seven hundred and eighty-one years of Islamic rule in Iberia.

The Treaty of Granada guaranteed religious tolerance toward Muslims but the new state of Spain was beginning to flex its muscles and the year 1492 marked the arrival in the New World of Christopher Columbus and a law requiring Jews to convert to Catholicism under the Spanish Inquisition or face expulsion from Spanish territories.  The Catholic Monarchy instigated a policy of unrestrained ethnic cleansing and not long after, Muslims too became subject to the same requirement.

Jadraque Castle Central Spain Guadalajara

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More posts about El Cid:

El Cid and Alvar Fáñez – another hero of the Reconquest

El Cid and his horse Babieca

El Cid and his Wife Ximena

El Cid and La Tizona

El Cid and Saint James

El Cid and Alfonso VI

El Cid and the Castle of Belmonte

El Cid – The Film Fact and Fiction

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Twelve Treasures of Spain – Cordoba

Cordoba Andalusia Spain

“To Cordoba belong all the beauty and ornaments that delight the eye or dazzle the sight.” –  Stanley Lane-Poole – The Moors in Spain

The “Twelve Treasures of the Kingdom of Spain” was a contest/poll that was conducted by the Spanish Television Company Antena 3 and the radio broadcaster Cope. The final results were announced on 31st December 2007.  I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the eight out of the twelve that I have visited. 

First in the competition was the great Mosque of Cordoba.

In some ways that may be seen as surprising because in the eighth century almost all of the Iberian Peninsula was conquered by hostile Muslim armies from North Africa.  Only a number of areas in the mountainous north that roughly correspond to modern day Asturias, Cantabria, Navarre and northern Aragon managed to resist the initial invasion and many years before the National Hero El Cid this was to become the breeding ground of the Reconquista.

El Cid

The seven hundred year period between 722 and 1492 has long been known to historians of Spain as the ‘Reconquista’ and the Spanish have organised their medieval history around the drama of this glorious event which over time has become a cherished feature of the self-image of the Spanish people. 

The Great Mosque of Cordoba was, and continues to be, considered a wonder of the medieval world by both Muslims and Christians alike. Built on a Visigothic site, which was probably the site of an earlier Roman temple, the Great Mosque of Cordoba was begun between 784 and 786 during the reign of ‘Abd al-Rahman I and constructed initially from materials taken from demolished Roman structures including those as far away as Merida in Extremadura.

At the time Córdoba became the largest, richest and most sophisticated city in Western Europe.  Mediterranean trade and cultural exchange flourished.  Muslims imported a rich intellectual tradition from the Middle East and North Africa and Muslim and Jewish scholars played an important part in reviving and expanding classical Greek learning in Western Europe.  The indigenous cultures interacted with Muslim and Jewish cultures in complex ways, thus giving the region a distinctive culture which perpetuates even today.

As well as being the second largest Mosque in the world at the time of its construction this was the grandest and most beautiful church constructed by the Moors in Spain and it is situated deep in the heart of the city amongst a lattice work of narrow streets, geranium laden balconies, secret patios and half-hidden plazas in the city’s old Jewish quarter.

I visited Cordoba on a cold day in November and was glad to get inside the complex out of the squally rain.  I am certain that I wasn’t fully prepared for what I would see because here was a spectacular man made forest of rock with nearly a thousand red and cream columns of granite, jasper and marble supporting the roof and creating a dazzling visual effect.  

Cordoba Mosque

After conquering Cordoba in 1236, Ferdinand III king of Castile consecrated the Great Mosque as the city’s Cathedral. The Christian population of Cordoba used the former mosque with relatively minor changes for the next three hundred years but in the early sixteenth century the Bishop and Canons of the cathedral proposed the construction of a new cathedral, and proposed to demolish the mosque in order to build it.

Although the city was now Christian, the overwhelming opposition of the people to the proposed destruction of the building led to the unprecedented decision, endorsed by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, to insert an entire Gothic chapel into the very heart of the former Great Mosque. The result of this compromise is an uneasy and controversial juxtaposition because the soaring walls of a European Gothic cathedral rise from the very centre of the comparatively low, sprawling North African prayer hall whose architectural vocabulary is rooted in the forms of classical antiquity.

When the Christian Cathedral was constructed in the sixteenth century some of the pillars were removed which I suppose might be described now as an act of abject vandalism but in actual fact, despite being a sort of cuckoo in the nest, the Baroque structure does not seem to be entirely out of place.

El Cid 1

By the eleventh century, Muslim lands had fractured into rival kingdoms and this encouraged the northern Christian kingdoms to expand southwards with the opportunity to greatly enlarge their territories and consolidate their positions.

As early as 739 Muslim forces were driven from Asturias and a little later Frankish forces established Christian counties south of the Pyrenees and these areas were to develop into the Kingdoms of Navarre, Aragon and Catalonia.  The capture of Toledo in 1085 was soon followed by the completion of the Christian reconquest of all the northern territories.  El Cid’s greatest contribution to the Reconquesta came during this phase of the war and his finest victory was the capture of Valencia in 1094, which he later died defending in 1099.

After a period of Muslim resurgence in the twelfth century the great Moorish strongholds in the south fell to Christian Spain in the thirteenth, Córdoba in 1236 and Seville in 1248 leaving only Granada in the south, which since 1238 was a dependent vassal of the King of Castile.

In 1469, the crowns of the Christian kingdoms of Castile and Aragon were united by the marriage of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon.  In 1478 the Moors were driven from the Canary Islands and in 1492 the Christians captured Granada, ending seven hundred and eighty-one years of Islamic rule in Iberia.

The Treaty of Granada guaranteed religious tolerance toward Muslims but the new state of Spain was beginning to flex its muscles and the year 1492 marked the arrival in the New World of Christopher Columbus and a law requiring Jews to convert to Catholicism under the Spanish Inquisition or face expulsion from Spanish territories.  The Catholic Monarchy instigated a policy of unrestrained ethnic cleansing and not long after, Muslims too became subject to the same requirement.

Cordoba Moors Mosque

My Personal A to Z of Spain, X is for El Cid and Ximena

El Cid 1

The seven hundred year period between 722 and 1492 has long been known to historians of Spain as the ‘Reconquista’ and the Spanish have organised their medieval history around the drama of this glorious event which over time has become a cherished feature of the self-image of the Spanish people. It has become embellished into a sort of organised Catholic national crusade and although there is some truth in this much of it in reality was simply due to the expansionist territorial ambitions of competing northern Spanish kingdoms such as Asturias and León.

In legend the focal point of the story of the Reconquista has been the heroic tale of Rodrigo Díaz de Bivar or El Cid, the National hero of Spain and revered by many as being single handedly responsible for the victory of the Catholic Kingdoms over the North African Moors but whilst El Cid was undoubtedly a great warrior and soldier he was only one of many who contributed to the Crusade.

A hero needed a wife and El Cid was married in either in1074 or 1075 to Doña Ximena of Oviedo, a city in the modern day Principality of Asturias in the north of Spain but in the eleventh century part of Alfonso VI’s Kingdom of Leon and Castile.

The anonymous Latin prose history of the life of El Cid, the’ Historia Roderici’ identifies Ximena as the daughter of a Count Diego of Oviedo, but there is no evidence to confirm this and the later Poema de Mio Cid names her father as an equally unknown Count Gomez de Gormaz and some historians have laterly concluded that this is one and the same person. Tradition states that when the Cid laid eyes on her for the first time he was overcome by her great beauty and fell in love with her on sight.  If she looked like Sophia Loren then that isn’t all that surprising!

The explanation for the Cid’s pre-eminence in the history of the Reconquista is the responsibility of Ramón Menéndez Pidal, who was the foremost Spanish historian of his age and the author of the standard biography of Rodrigo, first published in 1929. Pidal gave substantial credibility to the ‘Poema de Mio Cid’, which was a work written at the height of the crusading age but, crucially, fifty years after the Cid’s death and in an age without rigorous record keeping then fifty years is a long time in which to get historical ‘drift‘. Then, his valiant deeds against the Muslims made him a suitable exemplar to inspire a generation of holy warriors fighting the Crusades, and his life quickly moved into the realms of legend.

In the eighth century almost all of the Iberian Peninsula was conquered by hostile Muslim armies from North Africa. Only a number of areas in the mountainous north that roughly correspond to modern Asturias, Cantabria, Navarre and northern Aragon managed to resist the initial invasion and many years before El Cid this was to become the breeding ground of the Reconquista.

El Cid and La Tizona

Life under Moorish occupation was rather mixed, for many it wasn’t that bad and under Islam, the status of Christians and Jews was recognised, there was great religious and social tolerance and in return for a small tax they were free to practice their own religion but for others there was persecution and intolerance and this forced the disaffected to migrate north to take refuge in the Christian Kingdoms. Conversion to Islam proceeded at a steadily increasing pace however and by the end of the tenth century Muslims of ethnic Iberian origin are believed to have comprised the majority of the population of Andalusia.

In legend the story of El Cid and the reconquest has acquired a rather simple plot of Christian Spain against Muslim Moors but throughout this period the situation in Iberia was much more complicated. As well as fighting against each other Christian and Muslim rulers commonly fought amongst themselves, the Berbers of North Africa, who had provided the bulk of the invading armies, clashed with the fundamentalist Arab leadership from the Middle East and to further complicate matters interfaith alliances were not unusual. The fighting along the Christian Muslim frontier was punctuated by prolonged periods of peace and truces and distorting the situation even further were the legions of mercenaries who frequently switched sides and fought for cash.

El Cid lived at this confusing time and he too at various times had Muslim allies and at other times worked for Muslim paymasters against Christians because he was, in short, a warrior for hire, a mercenary, who spent much of his career fighting for whoever paid him the most.

In popular culture the reconquest has been raised to the status of a crusade and the expulsion of the Moors as liberation from an occupying army but again this is not strictly the case because history teaches us that (except for the Nazis) there is always two sides to any argument.  At this time Córdoba became the largest, richest and most sophisticated city in Western Europe. Mediterranean trade and cultural exchange flourished. Muslims imported a rich intellectual tradition from the Middle East and North Africa and Muslim and Jewish scholars played an important part in reviving and expanding classical Greek learning in Western Europe. The indigenous cultures interacted with Muslim and Jewish cultures in complex ways, thus giving the region a distinctive culture. Outside the cities, the land ownership system from Roman times remained largely intact as Muslim leaders rarely dispossessed landowners, and the introduction of new crops and techniques led to an improvement and expansion of agriculture.

However, by the eleventh century, Muslim lands had fractured into rival kingdoms and this encouraged the northern Christian kingdoms to take advantage and expand southwards with the opportunity to greatly enlarge their territories and consolidate their positions.

As early as 739 Muslim forces were driven from Asturias and a little later Frankish forces established Christian counties south of the Pyrenees and these areas were to develop into the Kingdoms of Navarre, Aragon and Catalonia. The capture of Toledo in 1085 was soon followed by the completion of the Christian powers reconquest of all the northern territories. El Cid’s greatest contribution to the Reconquista came during this phase of the war and his finest victory was the capture of Valencia in 1094, which he later died defending in 1099.

After a period of Muslim resurgence in the twelfth century the great Moorish strongholds in the south fell to Christian Spain in the thirteenth, Córdoba in 1236 and Seville in 1248 leaving only Granada in the south, which since 1238 was a dependent vassal of the King of Castile.

In 1469, the crowns of the Christian kingdoms of Castile and Aragon were united by the marriage of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. In 1478 the Moors were driven from the Islands and in 1492 the Christians captured Granada, ending seven hundred and eighty-one years of Islamic rule in Iberia. The Treaty of Granada guaranteed religious tolerance toward Muslims but the new state of Spain was beginning to flex its muscles and the year 1492 marked the arrival in the New World of Christopher Columbus and a law requiring Jews to convert to Catholicism under the Spanish Inquisition or face expulsion from Spanish territories. The Catholic Monarchy instigated a policy of unrestrained ethnic cleansing and not long after, Muslims too became subject to the same requirement.

El Cid

__________________________________________________

Other posts about El Cid:

El Cid and Alvar Fáñez – another hero of the Reconquest

El Cid and his horse Babieca

El Cid and his Wife Ximena

El Cid and La Tizona

El Cid and Saint James

El Cid and Alfonso VI

El Cid and the Castle of Belmonte

El Cid – The Film Fact and Fiction

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