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Tuesday, May 15, 2007 

Lisbon - an Arab city in the heart of Europe. Part 2.

Some posts come back to haunt me. Some of the most interesting comments are often left months after I put the post up. So when André sent these messages, I thought they deserved their own post.

Back in February, I claimed that Lisbon could almost be an Arab city.

Here are André's contributions:

I'm from Portugal, I live near Lisbon and I studied ad work there for 18 years. Arab influence is present allover Portugal, but specialy in southern regions (the ancient gharb al-andalus). Northern portuguese often call us "moorish" and "morroccans".

And some free e-books in portuguese (left column) and arabic (right column) about arabic influence in Portugal, and also about cultural rapports between Portugal and some arab countries: here.

A picture from one of the most famous Lisbon restaurants, "Casa do Alentejo":

Our language is a latin language, but we have lots of arabic words. Lisbon toponimy has lots and lots of arabic names. Let me mention only some of the most known districts and subburbia with arabic names. Some are quite obvious, other no so.

Trafaria - (tarأfya)
Almada - (al-ma'dan)
Atalaia - (at-Talaha)
Alcoentre - (al-qunaytara)
Alverca - (al-burqa)
Santa Iria de Azأia - (az-zawya)
Azambuja - (az-zabuja)

City districts:
Alvalade - (al-balad)
Aljube - (al-jub)

We also have lots of arabic words used everyday by everyone. Some common exemples:

(fulanu / fulana): fulano / fulana (some man, some woman)

(insha' Allah): oxal (hopefuly)
(az-zayt): azeite (olive oil)

and lots of words starting with al.

Very very interesting, it's always interesting for me to read more about that period of history in the Iberian peninsula. It's almost as if somebody had done their best to erase history, luckily the traces have proven more stubborn and could not be removed!

Arabic colonialism, what a great time, you are right, golden past and black future.

dont forget the link between syria and the iberian peninsula it's the ommayad syrians that introduced Islamic civilization into europe and they build the first university in Europe.
syria is not this syria of ali al deek ,bashar and makhluf.Syria is land of civilization ,center of knowledge and science.and will be back to its former glory inshallah.

Anonymous. Colonialism that you mention was a Western European phenomenon which involved the extraction of surplus value from colonies and oversears possessions to the industrialising core states. It was a parasitic endeavour which, in it's worst forms such as the Americas and Australia, involved ethnic cleansing, forced conversion and slavery on a scale seldom seen. The legacy of it still scars the world's many countries. If Arab Spain was 'colonialism' I'll have that any time rather than a European "mission civilisatrice".

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  • From Damascus to London via Beirut. Based in and out of the central Damascene hamlet of Saroujah. News and feelings from the streets every day. I'm talking rubbish? Leave a comment. Welcome to the information democracy. See below for info about this site.
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