Un Poco de Maruecos en España

Liana Cramer is a student at the University of Notre Dame and an official API Student Blogger. Liana studied abroad this summer with API in Granada, Spain.

This is my second time studying abroad in Spain. After a summer in the city of Salamanca, I had not
 had enough of the country: its tradition, culture, or language. So, I decided to return, to advance my Spanish language skills and get a taste of another Spanish city. Granada is a completely different experience, the city has revealed a part of Spanish culture and history that I did not know existed. The
city is located in the region of Andalucía, the southern-most part of the country. The Moors, Arabs from the North of Africa, controlled the region until 1492 when the city was conquered by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. I witnessed the enduring Arab influences while living in Granada and fell in love with Andalucía’s unique mélange of Spanish and Arabic traditions. Let me give you a taste of some of the experiences I’ve had that I never imagined I would find outside the Middle East.

Arabic Baths: In the 11th century, while the region of Andalucía was thriving under the Nazari Dynasty, a Moorish caliphate, the Arabic baths of Granada were built. The bathhouses served as an important social, political, and religious center. Today, some of these bathhouses have been restored with the same splendor I imagine they once had. From the elegant archways, columns, and tiles, to the tumbling waters, bath oils, teas and incense, this Arabic tradition has been completely recreated. And the massage…well, that’s just all part of the cultural experience.

 

Moroccan Tea: The Albacin neighborhood of Granada is lined with exquisite Moorish tearooms, or teterias. Rich velvet couches, dimly lit rooms, and the exotic scent of the teas transport you to the Middle East.

Bazaar Bargaining: The Albacin is like a mini-Marrakesh. Hookah bars, tea salons, and vendors that sell traditional Moroccan clothing and foods line the narrow streets. Just as if you were in Morocco, the way to get a good deal here is to bargain…an excellent way to practice your Spanish.

Lessons on Islam: At the University of Granada I enrolled in a course called Islamic Culture in Spain. I am no history buff, but it ended up being one of the most interesting classes I’ve ever taken. We studied the invasion, rule, and legacy of the Arab dynasties on the Panamerican peninsula. From discussion of their military prowess, politics, religion, and culture throughout history and today I gained a whole new perspective on European history and relations between the West and the Arab world. The professor was incredible knowledgeable and very amusing.

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Jul 28, 2021 @ 12:15
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