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Moorish Isbilia

Moorish Isbilia

Moorish Isbilia

The arrival of the Arabs in the year 711 resulted in a radical transformation for the entire Peninsula, but especially for the South, which is where they ruled the longest. Isbilia (the Arabic name for Seville) would become a flourishing city in the Islamic world, with an Arabic-Andalusian culture. Jews, Christians and several ethnic groups of the Arab world lived peacefully side by side in Isbilia. Mozarabs also appeared as a result of the fusion of cultures.

Isbilia was an important city, although the capital of Al-Andalus was in the nearby city of Cordoba, against which it rose in arms on several occasions. The reign of Al-Mutamid (11th century) is a key period in this time of Seville’s history, when it became the most important enclave in the West. Then, with the arrival of the Almoravids, who displaced the Berbers and even eventually expelled Al-Mutamid himself.

In the 12th century, the Almohads arrived and the city recovered its lost splendour. The Giralda, the minaret of the mosque, is a good example of this.

Baños Árabes

Arab Baths

The Baths of the Moorish Queen

In 1551, the Baths of the Moorish Queen were donated to a home for repentant prostitutes and dedicated to the “Sweet Name of Jesus”. Ortiz de Zúñiga, though, dates this in 1562. In the 17th century, the building became a convent and was reformed in 1641.

Patio of Ablutions

Patio of Ablutions

The old mosque of Ibn Adbbas

In the very heart Seville, El Salvador Church was built on the site of the old Great Mosque of Seville. All that remains of it is the patio of ablutions and the base of the tower or minaret.

Hall of the Ambassadors

Hall of the Ambassadors

A masterwork of Arab artisans

The Hall of Ambassadors is the main chamber in the Real Alcazar. The Hall is covered by a majestic, semi-spherical gilded dome with geometrical designs in wood. Its former name, the Hall of the Half Orange, was a reference to this magnificent dome. Reconstructed in 1427 by Diego Ruiz, it still has the original doors from 1366 as well as the plasterwork decoration and tiles on the walls.

 

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