LA ALPUJARRA clearly comes from the Arabic, and Arabic is a notoriously ambiguous language. To illustrate the point, here is an extract from JG Hava’s Arabic-English dictionary published in Beirut in 1964:
Jawm:- Black. White. Light red. Day. Intensely black (horse)
Khàl:- Huge mountain. Big camel. Banner of a prince. Shroud. Fancy. Black stallion. Owner of a th. Self magnified. Lonely place. Caliphate. Opinion. Suspicion. Bachelor. Good manager. Horse’s bit. Liberal man. Weak bodied, weak hearted man. Free from suspicion. Imaginative man.
You see what I mean? Anyway, as you may imagine, debate rages hot and strong as to the meaning of Alpujarra. In modern Arabic it doesn’t mean a thing, but then we’re talking about five hundred years ago here, and things change. It has been taken to mean variously: barren hills, fertile hills, green hills, white hills, hard land, fertile land. Take your pick; there’s some truth in all of them.
Anyway, the Alpujarra is the system of hills and valleys that make up the southern foothills of the Sierra Nevada, south of Granada. There are about seventy villages dotted here and there, often in the steepest places, the little flat land having always been reserved for cultivation. The villages are unusual for Europe in their style of architecture, in that the houses have flat rooves in the simple style found throughout the Middle East. They have names like Jorairátar, Ugijar, Laujar de Andarax, Atalbeitar, Yator… the list goes on.
Right, it’s late at night now, and this page is still under construction… but I need to sleep and think about things for a bit. I’ll add some more soon. Goodnight