Search of Arab Lisbon
In approximately 711 Lisbon was taken by the Moors under whose rule the city flourished. The Moors, who were Muslims from North Africa and the Middle East, built many mosques and houses as well as a new city wall, currently named the Cerca Moura. The city kept a diverse population including Christians, Berbers, Arabs, Jews and Saqalibas.
Arabic was forced on the Christians as the official language. Mozarabic was the mother language spoken by the Christian population. Islam was the official religion practiced by the Arabs and Muladi), the Christians could keep their religion but under heavy Dhimmi status and were forced to pay the iizyah.
The Moorish influence is still present in Alfama, the old part of Lisbon that survived the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. Many place names are derived from Arabic; the Alfama, the oldest existing district of Lisbon, for example, is derived from the Arabic 'al-hamma'.
In 1147, as part of the Reconquista, knights, led by Alfonso 1 of Portugal, sieged and re -conquered Lisbon. Lisbon was now back in Christian hands.
The Reconquista of Portugal and re-establishment of Christianity is one of the most significant events in Lisbon's history; although it is known that there was a bishop in the town that was killed by the crusade and that the population was praying to the Virgin Mary when afflicted with plague, which indicates that the Mozarab population followed the Mozarabic rite. Arabic lost its place in everyday life. Any remaining Muslim population were gradually converted to Roman Catholicism, or expelled, and the mosques were turned into churches. (Though in Portuguese historiography this was often mentioned as 'turning the mosques back into churches', in fact many of the structures concerned were built as mosques to begin with).
Technical DetailsIssue Date: 15.02.2007
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