Ibn Jubayr 1145-1217

Another of the great Iberian peninsula travelers of the 12th century was  the Muslim merchant Ibn Jubayr who visited Syria during the crisis of the Crusades and returned to Andalusia by route of Sicily which he described in useful detail.

The following passage gives a description of the City of Palermo in Sicily that in 1187 was a city of mixed Muslim and Christian population.

It is the metropolis of these islands, combining the benefits of wealth and splendour, and having all that you could wish of beauty, real or apparent, and all the needs of subsistence, mature and fresh. It is an ancient and elegant city, magnificent and gracious, and seductive to look upon. Proudly set between its open spaces and plains filled with gardens, with broad roads and avenues, it dazzles the eyes with its perfection. It is a wonderful place, built in the Cordova style, entirely from cut stone known as kadhan [a soft limestone]. A river splits the town, and four springs gush in its suburbs… The King roams through the gardens and courts for amusement and pleasure… The Christian women of this city follow the fashion of Muslim women, are fluent of speech, wrap their cloaks about them, and are veiled.  (Wikipedia entry on Ibn Jubayr)

For those who followed the popular video game Assassin’s Creed, Ibn Jubayr appears as the preacher in Damascus with the name Jubayr Al-Hakim. (Wikipedia entry on Ibn Jubayr)