It’s amazing what you can find if you just dig a little deeper.
We were wandering El Carmen today (our old neighborhood here in Valencia, Spain) showing my youngest daughter and her boyfriend around the city a bit.
I happened upon the International House Spanish school near Tossal plaza in central El Carmen and noticed they had the doors open. I had never been inside, so… I peeked inside the lobby area and asked the security guard if I could look around.
The architect clearly had designed the building (where the school is currently housed) specifically to preserve and showcase the old Moorish wall.
I met a new friend and got a free, mini-tour of the ruins of the Moorish wall on site.
He is the security guard at the International House Spanish school. He didn’t speak much English but when the security guard saw how fascinated I was with the architecture and the ruins, he was more than happy to give me a free, mini-tour and share a little fascinating piece of the history of his city… and, unbeknownst to him, my new city as well. His name is Carlos.
The Moors, originally from the Arabian peninsula in the 300’s AD shortly after the founding of Islam and later Muslims from North Africa, ruled much of Spain from 711 AD to 1492 AD. They left an everlasting impression on the land, culture, language, food, technology, science and more on Iberia and later, by extension, the rest of the world.
This Moorish period was the first Age of Enlightenment in Europe.
It occurred in southern Spain 1,000 years before the Age of Enlightenment that you read about in textbooks.
It was a time when Moors, Jews, and Christians lived not only amongst one another but as part of a single unified culture for hundreds of years largely in peace and harmony. They embraced ancient texts and were almost single-handedly responsible for preserving and transmitting ancient Greek and Roman knowledge (largely around medicine and astrology) as well as their own, to Western Europe.
Unfortunately, in Valencia, very little of that culture remains today… to the naked eye, anyway. There are fragments in museums, but in the city, you have to look harder and know what to look for.
- Have you visited Valencia?
- Did you find relics from the Moorish period?
- Which were your favorites and where did you find them?
Thanks for reading.