Mosque in Siurana

Apparently they’ve found the remains of a mosque down in Siurana de Prades, which was the last Muslim stronghold in these parts and which fell to Ramon Berenguer IV in 1153. The following anecdote was included in the C13th/14th author Al-Ḥimyarī‘s geo-historical encyclopaedia Kitāb al-rawḍ al-miʻṭār fī ḫabar al-aqṭār and is quoted in one of my favourite Catalan anthologies, Dolors Bramon’s De quan érem o no musulmans:

A sheikh from Siurana … called Ibn Zaydān told me that he used to go with the bands to [the Tarragona] region, and that on one of these raids he descended with his companions to the structures below the city of Tarragona, and that when they wanted to return they were lost and couldn’t find the way out. So they spent three days going round in circles until finally on the third day they found the way when God – praised be he! – granted them salvation. The people declared that there were vaults full of wheat and barley from times past with the grain blackened and changed in colour. In this city the Muslims lie in ambush when they seek the opportunity [to surprise the enemy] in the vanguard [?: en l’algarada in its normal sense doesn’t seem to fit the bill, but neither does algara nor algarrada], and the enemy does the same with the Muslims.

It’ll be interesting to see whether the local council decides that what little remains still has planning permission for religious use, since Muslims in nearby Reus have been prevented for years from opening a mosque. I don’t see why it shouldn’t be have: I believe that Barcelona’s synagogue (or is it just a damp cellar designated a synagogue for the purposes of tourism?) now hosts services, and it doesn’t seem to be too difficult to convert deserted hamlets in the Pyrenees into huge ski resorts.

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