• This article is a stub as it does not provide effective content depth for the core subject discussed herein. We're still working to expand it, if you'd like to help with it you can request expansion. This tag should be removed, once the article satisfies the content depth criteria.
    What is this?

al-Andalus (الأندلس) was the Muslim-ruled area of the Iberian Peninsula. The term is used by modern historians for the former Islamic states in modern Portugal and Spain.

Contents Hide/Show

History and Archaeology of al-Andalus


For nearly a hundred years from the 9th century to the 10th, al-Andalus extended its control from Fraxinetum over the Alpine passes which connect Italy to Western Europe.

al-Andalus was a centre of learning, and the city of Córdoba, the largest in Europe, became one of the leading cultural and economic centres throughout the Mediterranean Basin, Europe, and the Islamic world. Achievements that advanced Islamic and Western science came from al-Andalus, including major advances in trigonometry (Geber), astronomy (Arzachel), surgery (Abulcasis al Zahrawi), pharmacology (Avenzoar), and agronomy (Ibn Bassal and Abū l-Khayr al-Ishbīlī). al-Andalus became a major educational center for Europe and the lands around the Mediterranean Sea as well as a conduit for cultural and scientific exchange between the Islamic and Christian worlds.


The name 'Alhambra' appears towards the end of the 9th century CE in a variety of different forms, the most common being al-Qalat al-Hamra, 'the red castle' due to the colour of the clay used in the walls. The palace complex of the Alhambra, Qasr Alhamrā; literaly meaning the red one, originates from the period of Islamic-Moorish period (Nasrid sultans). This 'city within a city' was built in the 13th century by the Moors on Sabika hill in Granada. After the city of Granada fell to the Catholics in 1492 CE, this palace was also taken in possession. The Alhambra as we know it today dates mainly to the second half of the 8th year of Hijrah / 14th century CE with significant later modifications. It is the only Andalusian palace with a set of inscriptions that explain the architecture and gardens.

Explore Alhambra | Islamic Architecture | Islamic Archaeology

Featured Article: Gibraltar (Jabal Ṭāriq)

The name is derived from Arabic, Jabal Ṭāriq (جبل طارق), lit. 'Mount of Tariq', or 'The rock of Tariq', (named after the 8th-century CE Moorish-Muslim military leader Tariq ibn Ziyad). That continues to be its name in Arabic. The modern name "Gibraltar", applies to the small peninsula on the southern Iberian coast near the entrance of the Mediterranean Sea. The peninsula has evolved from a place of reverence in ancient times into "one of the most densely fortified and fought-over places in Europe".

Explore >

Let's bring some history to your inbox

Starting in November 2023 we will be publishing a monthly newsletter / online magazine.
No spam, we promise.

Privacy Policy