Cities of Light - The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain

This film takes viewers on an epic journey back into one of the most captivating and important periods of world history, a centuries-long period when Muslims, Christians and Jews inhabited the same far corner of Western Europe and thrived. Here were the very roots of the European Renaissance. But the fragile union dissipated, destroyed by greed, fear and intolerance. (For more information please click here)


Over a thousand years ago, the sun-washed lands of Southern Spain were home to Muslims, Christians, and Jews living together and flourishing, their culture and beliefs intertwined. Here, the knowledge of the ancients was gathered and reborn. But this world vanished too quickly. Greed, fear and intolerance swept it away.

On Wednesday, August 22, 2007, PBS will presented a nationwide broadcast of Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain, a documentary that takes viewers on an epic journey back into one of the most fascinating and important periods of world history.

The two-hour television event highlights the triumphs and achievements of diverse cultures that co-exist and thrive together, but it also depicts the tragedy that ensues when religious extremism begins to rise.

The story weaves together striking feature-film style re-enactments, vivid footage of great Islamic architecture, scenes of Spain’s beautiful landscapes, and analysis by world-class historians and scholars to tell a story of vital importance for our contemporary world.

The history of Islamic Spain, as told in Cities of Light, demonstrates that when religious diversity is accommodated within a social and political system, problems and tensions may still exist, but society is able to manage them, generally to the benefit of all. But when governing powers and religious movements reject complexity and insist on a single cultural and religiously centered point of view, then society is likely to see widespread loss for everyone.

(archived link)


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