By Dean Derhak
When you think of European culture, one of the first things that may come to your mind is the renaissance. Many of the roots of European culture can be traced back to that glorious time of art, science, commerce and architecture. But did you know that long before the renaissance there was a place of humanistic beauty in Muslim Spain? Not only was it artistic, scientific and commercial, but it also exhibited incredible tolerance, imagination and poetry. Muslims, as the Spaniards call the Muslims, populated Spain for nearly 700 years. As you’ll see, it was their civilization that enlightened Europe and brought it out of the dark ages to usher in the renaissance. Many of their cultural and intellectual influences still live with us today.