After the success of 'Duende', Jason Webster continues his search for the essence of Spain, this time on a journey into the secrets of Moorish Spain.
Spain's Moorish past is evident everywhere you look: in the language, culture and customs of modern Spain; in its most visited tourist sites- the Mosque at Cordoba, the Giralda in Seville, the Alhambra in Granada. From the year 711 to the 16th century, Spain was the only European country to have sustained contact with the Islamic world, and Christians, Muslims and Jews lived there for centuries side by side in peace.
During that time, it was home to some of the greatest philosophers, geographers, poets and physicians in the world, and after the Moors' expulsion by King Phillip II, all their knowledge, skill and artistry was lost, sending Spain spiralling into an economic decline from which it has only just begun to recover.
Jason Webster originally travelled to Spain to learn to play the flamenco guitar, and told of his adventures on the Spanish wild side in the acclaimed 'Duende'. A qualified Arabist, he now embarks on another journey together with the intrepid Pepe, following in the footsteps of an Austrian nobleman who wrote of his Grand Tour of Spain in 1494.
In his quest for the forgotten soul of Spain's Arabic legacy, Jason has encounters with illegal immigrants, border patrol guards and Moorish descendants which are amusing and frequently dramatic, giving a very modern twist to this timely story.
Because of the current political world climate, are there any lessons to be learnt from the harmony that existed for so long in medieval Spain- and from the fervent attitude to race that ultimately prompted the expulsion of the Jews and Muslims?