Frontier Monument

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Monument, Vejer de la Frontera, Spain

Monument, Vejer de la Frontera, Spain

The names of many villages in southern Spain (Andalucía) include the phrase “de la Frontera”,  because they were on the frontier when they were named. This was a frontier between cultures and religions.

A clash of cultures that lasted centuries took place in Spain. Muslim and Christian leaders battled for influence and power. Moroccans and Saharan Berbers controlled vast areas of Spain including Córdoba, Sevilla, and Granada for more than 200 years. Islamic culture and ‘Moorish’ architecture and art are intricately woven into the fabric of Andalucía. Muslim, Christian, and Jewish religions were all practiced, but didn’t always co-exist peacefully. To me, logically, religion should be the least likely pretense for fighting and war, but it has been a common cause of intolerance and conflict throughout history.

This monument is in Vejer de la Frontera near the southwest coast of Spain. The veiled Muslim woman is a powerful image.  It is a recognition of the period when Vejer was within the area controlled by Islamic leaders.

I found this little plaza and monument one morning just before dawn as I was photographing the streets and buildings.  It is surrounded by the so-called ‘Juderia’ or ancient Jewish section of Vejer. It was a quiet and thought-provoking space overlooking the newer part of the city. It was intended as a reminder of changing cultures and their influences.

Vejer de la Frontera is a beautiful and well-preserved ancient village. On the hill behind this monument there are three enormous old wooden windmills. Andalucía has not forgotten the advantages of wind. There are thousands of even bigger modern wind generators scattered over the rolling countryside mixed in with large solar power generation facilities. Spain is advanced in the use of these kinds of electrical generation technologies.

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