One of the greatest intellectual and academic scandals that Western public education suffered from-(certainly when I was enrolled in Public school many years ago), was an incomplete teaching of the historical truth. It is still unknown to me as to whether such an intellectual and academic scandal was deliberate and purposeful or if it was just largely overlooked, simply due to laziness and/or a cavalier temperament.
Whatever the reason(s) were, it is scandalous to think that an entire Public educational system would disregard or even deliberately omit the near 800 year rule of the Moors in Spain and the legacies of Al-Andalus and Toledo. The fact that this Public educational system insisted on using and even browbeating the (now anachronistic sounding) term, "Dark Ages", shows that there was no interest in connecting the historical dots when trying to better understand the origins of The Age of Scholasticism and in particular, the Northern Italian Renaissance-(in other words, properly and accurately chronicling...the true origins of Early Modern Europe).
The Moorish civilization of the Middle Ages, was Europe's Beacon of Light during its so-called, "Dark Ages". When looking at its architecture alone-(i.e. The Mezquita in Cordoba and of course, The Alhambra in Granada), one sees an impressive level of artistic dedication, creativity and vision.
Where does one begin when talking about the Moors of Spain? Well, how about Horticulture, Botany, urban street planning, centralized waterway systems, stucco architecture, Libraries, Schools, Palaces and many, many other contributions to the early histories of Spain, the Iberian peninsula, Europe and really....to the history of Islam and to the history of the world.
Now while the Moors certainly had their own Luminaries, they, like other civilizations prior to them, had some help along the way; that is to say, they, like the Romans centuries earlier, were deeply influenced by the writings, in particular, the scientific, medical, mathematical and philosophical writings of the Ancient Greeks-(especially, the writings of Aristotle, Archimedes, Euclid and Hippocrates).
About 1000 years ago, at the height of Muslim Andalusian civilization, Arabic translations of Ancient Greek texts, were exported from Baghdad, as well as Cairo and traveled throughout North Africa to the city of Fes in Central Morocco and to its prestigious University. Eventually, these same Ancient Greek texts arrived in Andalusia-(namely, Cordoba....the Capital of the Iberian/Western Caliphate), then a few centuries later, arrived in the Castilian city of Toledo.
While Cordoba made impressive gains and advancements in the above mentioned fields, it was really in the city of Toledo whereby the translations of these Greek texts became an interreligious and interethnic cultural experience. Typically, in 13th century Toledo, an Arabic translation of Aristotle's "Metaphysics", was then translated into Hebrew, as well as into Castilian Spanish and then subsequently, was translated into Latin. (It probably would have been very difficult for Thomas Aquinas to write his, "Summa Theologica", without the provision and availability of translated copies, more specifically, of Arabic translated copies of Aristotle).
But, like all great civilizations, Moorish Spain came to an end in 1492 with the Fall of Granada. However, while 1492 marked the official end of Moorish Muslim Spain, it did not necessarily mark the end of their legacy and impact on the evolution of Modern Spain and in particular, Modern Christian Spain.
If we look at the historical evolution of Spanish North America alone, we see how the Spanish-(while highly ambitious in spreading the Catholic faith to the Native peoples in places, such as California and the Southwestern United States), had also brought with them, a visual imprint of their architectural and horticultural development of their famed Mission Churches and Chapels.
While many Churches and Cathedrals in Spain are Gothic in structure-(i.e. in places, such as, Seville and Santiago), the Spanish-American Mission Churches, were often designed in the Mujedar style that was commonplace in Muslim Spain, in particular, within Andalusia. Just the California Missions alone-(from San Diego to San Francisco), are Churches and chapels that evoke a more Mediterranean/Andalusian style of architecture, accompanied by its finely designed gardens. There are no appearances or remnants of the older, towering Gothic style in these Mission Churches; instead, you see the finer architectural elements of the Moors-(albeit combined, with Catholic imagery and iconography).
One could focus on the Moorish architectural and horticultural legacy in North America alone and the significant impact it had on the Spanish colonial and missionary style in states, such as California.