Sorry for my long hiatus! August was an action-packed month for me. But I’m back! And so are my anecdotes about Spain. Here’s more about Granada!
On Saturday we took an early morning stroll to see more of what Granada has to offer. We went to the Arab baths and learned about its social importance to the Moors who ruled in Granada for 8 centuries until 1492. In 1492, the last Sultan surrendered the city to Queen Isabel of Castilla-Leon and King Ferdinand of Aragon, and led his people out of the city. There’s actually a spot outside of the city known as “The Moor’s Sigh,” where the Sultan supposedly turned to look at Granada one last time and sighed sadly. According to legend, his mother said to him, “You weep like a woman for the city you could not defend as a man.” Ouch, that one must’ve stung!
Then, we headed to the royal chapel where Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand are buried. This was a huge deal to me. I’m such a history nerd! This couple, known as the Catholic Monarchs, led Spain into its golden age. Prior to their marriage, Spain had been divided in 4 separate kingdoms. With their union, they united the country as well and made it one kingdom. They also expelled all the Jews and Moors from the country and made it a Catholic nation (This lovely period of time was called the Spanish Inquisition and is best known for its religious extremism and violence. Yaaayyy!). Granada was the last Moorish stronghold in Spain. Only after Granada had been reconquered by the Spaniards did the Catholic Monarchs start to pay attention to this one guy by the name of Christopher Columbus. According to the lore, Queen Isabel sold her own jewels in order to fund his excursion to “India.” And the rest, as they say, is history (pun intended).
BTW: The Spaniards LOVE Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón), and Spain claims him as one of its own (despite the fact that he specifically requested not to be buried under Spanish soil). Time after time I was given the impression that Spain takes great pride in their role of the discovery of the American continent, since it was the Spanish who funded and manned his voyage, and Columbus set sail from Spain. He planted the Spanish flag and claimed all new territories in the name of Isabel & Ferdinand. That also explains why he called the land “Hispaniola” when he first landed in the Dominican Republic. The word is similar to the Roman origins of the word España (came from the Latin “Hispania”).
One of my favorite fun facts I learned while I was there was that Ferdinand was the warrior, but Isabel was the brains of the outfit. That’s why, on their tomb, her pillows look like they are sunken more than his are. It’s a sign that her head is “heavier” because of her intelligence. Hee-hee!
Can you tell which one is Isabel? 🙂