Growth in Spain Threatens a Jewel of Medieval IslamBreaking News
Pools of mercury could be shaken to spray beams of reflected sunlight across marble walls and ceilings of gold, according to contemporary records.
Doors carved of ivory and ebony led to sprawling gardens full of exotic animals and sculptures made of amber and pearls.
"Travelers from distant lands, men of all ranks and professions in life, following various religions, princes, ambassadors, merchants, pilgrims, theologians, and poets all agreed that they had never seen in the course of their travels anything that could be compared to it," wrote the 19th-century historian Stanley Lane-Poole in his book "The Story of the Moors in Spain."
Archaeologists are more hesitant, saying that while many of those marvels may have existed, physical evidence of them has yet to be found. But they, too, are full of superlatives.
"This was the largest city ever built from scratch in Western Europe," covering nearly 280 acres, Antonio Vallejo, the chief archaeologist here, said in an interview. "Most large Western cities grow over time. This was built in a single effort, from a single design."
Now, less than a hundred years after its ruins were identified and its location resurrected on modern maps, a threat has emerged. Construction companies are putting up houses on the site of the city, 90 percent of which remains unexcavated.
comments powered by Disqus
- Letters collection offers unique gimplse into ordeal of Australian aborigines
- War, More Than ISIS, Is Destroying Syria's Ancient Sites
- Pew Poll: Trust in government is at historic lows
- If "The Donald" Said It Happened, It Happened! And Don't You Forget It!
- Solved: the mystery of Britain’s Bronze Age mummies
- Anne Frank Faced Challenges Similar to Syrian Refugees, Richard Breitman Says
- Douglass North, Nobel Prize-winning economics historian, dies at 95
- Craig Shirley says Ted Cruz is right and the Huffington Post wrong about Ronald Reagan’s 1980 Presidential Campaign
- Mystery at Notre Dame: A priest-historian has been forced to back off a project promoting authentic Catholic education
- William & Mary launching a gay history project