The Umayyad Route

The Umayyad Route
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The itinerary for this route which starts in the city of Algeciras, called al-Yazirat al-Jadra by the Moors, is the best way to discover the heritage of the first Moorish dynasty that settled in the Iberian Peninsula. The Umayyad Andalusians, which had their capital in Cordoba, laid the foundations for al-Andalus.

Our route starts in the city of Algeciras, a real harbour in the Strait, and runs from the province of Cadiz to that of Granada, through twelve Andalusian districts. After passing through Medina Sidonia (Madinat Sidona), Carmona (Qarmuna) and Écija (Istichcha), monumental cities if ever there were any, we enter Seville (Ishbiliya), which was briefly the Umayyad capital and is now the jewel of the south of Spain.

But if there is one city that deserves the title of Umayyad capital it is Cordoba (Qurtuba). On the banks of the “Great River”, the Guadalquivir, the city still treasures some of the jewels of Umayyad architecture, like the great mosque and the palace of Madinat al-Zahra. This city was also a spiritual centre and seat of Umayyad power.

In the province of Cordoba we'll be stopping in three towns that played an important strategic and defensive role: Carcabuey, Zuheros and Priego de Córdoba. The first two, in the Sierras Subbéticas, have so much history behind them, and Priego is a quiet town that deserves to be visited and admired thoroughly. A jewel of the Andalusian Baroque style with some of the most unique buildings in this style.

Once in the province of Jaén, from Alcalá la Real, and its impressive Qalat (fortress in Arabic), the last stretch of the route starts which will take us to Almuñécar (al-Munakab). Here you can enjoy a well-deserved rest by the sea. Sunny Almuñécar has the deserved privilege of having been the port at which Abd al-Rahman I first arrived.

Finally, the route ends in Granada, near which once stood the long-disappeared Madinat Ilbira which played an important role in the Caliphate and Emirate eras. In the city of Granada, the “Damascus of al-Andalus, pasture for the eyes, elevation for the soul”, we can enjoy a journey's end without equal.

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Routes of the Heritage of Al-Andalus