Al-Andalus (The Lost Civilization)
Exhibit by: Othman A.
In the late 7th century, Muslim tribes defeated the Byzantines under the leader Musa ibn Nusair in Kairouan, in an area of northern Africa which is now Morocco. In 710, the Visigoth Roderick became a king in Spain. A great commander from the Byzantines named Julian had a daughter who was raped by Roderick.
From that day, Julian wanted his revenge by killing Roderick. During that time, and because of the conflict, Musa hesitated to enter Spain, but another leader, Tarif ibn Malluk, crossed the Mediterranean to reach southern Spain, and the area now is called after him, Tarifa. Now Musa was more motivated and got support from “the Governer of Tangier”, the Berber Tarik ibn Ziyad, and, accompanied by Julian claimed Al-Andalus. Muslims entered Spain in 711 and continued to expand into that region and northern Africa.
Culture: The mix of cultures in Al-Andalus, from Jews, Christians and Muslims between the 8th to the 15th century is brought to life as one of the most influential cultures in the areas of music, architecture, and education.
Education: Many people came from all around the world to Al-Andalus seeking knowledge from the famous libraries and universities that they had in that time. Al-Andalus and Bagdad were competitors in the best civilization of that age.
In Al-Andalus, Muslims have always considered architecture to be related to nature. Water, as the most important element of life, was a priority when they built and constructed buildings, gardens and landscaping. It is the symbol of providence in the country.
Al-Andalus explored and demonstrated new techniques in agriculture, developing botany and irrigation in their cities. Automatic watering of plants through the gardens was run between the channels as well as fountains, and collected into ponds. Water has always provided a great sensation of refreshment. Making water available to as an art form brings tranquility.
Architecture: Engineers in Al-Andalus used the best materials to construct their castles and mosques. Alhambra castle is one the best examples of art in buildings. In 889 the Alhambra was originally constructed as a fortress and later, in 1333, it was converted to a royal palace. The palace is amazingly beautiful. It has a perfect combination of original colors around the column arcades, fountains with running water, and reflecting pools were used to add to the aesthetic and functionality. In the middle of the palace there is a fountain surrounded by lion sculptures whose mouths spout water as if speaking a prayer in time with the changing times for call to prayer at different times of the year.
Music: Music in Al-Andalus had great culture. In that time, musicians had invented and or developed the musical instruments and written the music itself. In that age, they added the fifth string to the oud, and later on they invented the guitar. Unfortunately, in the 16th century the Muslim’s power collapsed and speaking, singing in Arabic was officially banned. The Al-Andalus name has been changed to Andalucía.