The cities of Al Andalus, or Sefared as it was known to the Jews, are completely magical. In 10th century Cordoba the sophistication knew no compare, gigantic libraries contained the knowledge of the Ancients refined by the science and arts of the Arabs and their wise counsellor, the Prince of the Jews, Hasdai Ibn Shaprut. Amongst the forest of columns in Cordoba’s Friday mosque the sensitive visitor is brought to tears. Up on the Alhambra hill in Granada, set off against the snow-capped sierra, the keen eyed visitor can scan the luscious vega below and spy where Columbus was contracted for the enterprise to discover a New World. In Sevilla maiolica tiles glisten, standing tables arrayed with fino sherry and almonds are theatres to catch up on the gossip of the day. This is the cityscape of orange groves, bougainvillea and Carmen’s castanets. The cathedral, with its soaring arab minaret, was “so enormous they would think us mad’, contains a treasure trove like a museum, just paces away from the Alcazar and its gardens enjoyed by Emperors and Kings.




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