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Al-Andalus, the Route of the " hammams "
HEALTHY ROUTES

 

By MAYTE SUAREZ SANTOS
Journalist specialized in Medicine and Thermalism
Publisher of the electronic Magazine TermasWorld.com


The Granada nazarí is the first stage of a route in which we will discover the natural cult to the water as symbol of corporal and spiritual purification according to the precepts of the Koran and of poetic inspiration from Ibn Zamrak's beautiful verses, perpetuated in the walls of the Alhambra.

In the Albaycin, we will surrender ourselves to the seduction of its teterías or tearooms and "hammams" spread about this neighborhood which is a Patrimony of the Humanity.

Following the mark of the Arabs, we go into Al Andalus, name by which was known the area of muslim occupation in the Iberian Peninsula that covers more than seven centuries, from the VIII c. to the XVc., an islamic state whose extension was contnuosly varying as the borders were modified according to the hispanic-muslims and the castilian-aragonese, were advancing in the conquest of the spanish territory.

However Al Andalus was something more. An enriching Islamic civilization that came from East and overflowed toward West: over North Africa, the Magreb, Spain, part of Italy and France. This civilization was, after its zenith of splendour, forgotten by Europe and by the muslim universe itself like it has ben only a beautiful and unreal legend.

Its legacy is more valid today than ever, and in order to rediscover it, nothing is better than travel to the heart of the cultural andalusí power: Granada, along with an exceptional guide: Ibn Zamrak (1333 - 1393), the most brilliant poet of the Alhambra that surrendered cult to the water when describing it as: "a lover whose lids are filled with tears, but he hidds the tears so that they don't accuse he..." What is really it, but a cloud that spills the water over the lions? (Poem written in the fountain of the Lions of the Alhambra of Granada)

In the Al Andalus we are in risk of suffering an overdose of Islamic history, for this reason we have to dose our curiosity and to follow the itinerary of the cultural legacy of the " hammam " or Arab Baths, of great interest for the thermalim scholars. The Arabs inherited the tradition of the Roman thermal baths of Bizancio and Rome through the cities of the Near East and North Africa, reducing the dimensions and standaricing the design of the ground plan. The concept of the Thermal Baths as public space, the function of the diverse rooms and some architectural elements such as the arched vaults are essentially romanesque.


 
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