City of Illusions

A History of Granada

July 2021 9781787385580 360pp
16pp colour illus


Granada is a deceptive city, concealing a layered past and a complex character. The last Muslim capital in Western Europe, over the centuries it has captured hearts and imaginations, inspiring countless myths and legends. Yet its history reveals even more fascinating tales: secrets and follies, victory and failure, poetry and art.

City of Illusions brings together Granada’s many stories—the archaeological forger, the renegade French general, the garrotted liberal heroine, the Jewish poet who served two Muslim rulers. This colourful cast of characters takes us from the founding eleventh-century dynasty and the building of the Alhambra, through the Reconquista, French occupation and Spanish Civil War, right up to the present day.

Granada’s history has long been fought over, rewritten, idealised or buried. This rich, elegant book sets the record straight on a beautiful, elusive city, with all its quirks, mysteries, intrigues and triumphs.


Helen Rodgers is an Arabist, whose fascination for the history of the Arab world has led to over two decades of historical research across the Mediterranean region.

Stephen Cavendish is a writer, editor and historian with a passion for the medieval and modern history of Europe and the Middle East.

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