Are you ready for Granada’s millennium anniversary?

1013 is the year that historians have agreed marks the ‘year zero’ of the Kingdom of Granada, which would reach its greatest splendour a few centuries later with the construction of the Alhambra Palaces, before finally being integrated into the Catholic Spain of Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492. The Kingdom of Granada arose out of the collapse and fragmentation of the Caliphate of Cordoba, which throughout the tenth century had vied with Baghdad for supremacy in the Islamic World.

It was from 1232, when the Nasrid Dynasty came to power in what was to become the last Moslem enclave in Catholic Spain, that Moorish Granada flourished, but as early as the eleventh century under the rule of the Ziri Berber clan, the city began to take on its familiar medieval shape, with its heart on the Albaicin hill, across the River Darro from the Alhambra. Over a period of almost 500 years, the Kingdom forged its reputation as a tolerant intercultural society, where Christian, Jew, and Moslem co-existed and built a legacy which arouses the admiration of many today, in all parts of the world.

That lauded co-existence of civilisations, cultures and religions came to an end on 2 January 1492 when the Moorish city fell after a long siege to the (also eulogised) Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella. Over the following decades, Granada was purged of anyone or anything that did not conform to the ruling Catholic ideology.

In 2013 the city will celebrate the inception of that pre-Catholic period that many see as a glorious and hard-to-emulate epoque in the city’s history. Many granadinos will join the celebration whole-heartedly, others grudgingly. Granada, true to its nature as the city of la bella y la bestia, will be divided by events. There will be those who see the event as something of concession to Islamic revanchism and a betrayal of Spain´s great Catholic inheritance.