Morayma took her husband’s hand and pressed it to her cheek. Atop a peak 2,800 feet above Granada, they both looked down at their beloved Qal’at al-hambra. It’s thirteen vermillion towers, whitewashed here and there, starkly rose hundreds of feet above the river Darro. The endless fountains and pools within reflected the sun and blinked like a thousand little stars. And just over the walls, they could make out the Generalife, their garden of paradise where Morayma would walk in happier days with her husband among the jasmine and azahar and bougainvillea. She had only just composed herself after hours of ceaseless crying when she began to sob heavily again. It was January 2nd, 1492. After nearly eight hundred years al-Andalus was gone, Granada the last of the great cities to fall under the conquering cross. Expelled, she cried for their paradise lost.

Her husband, the king, could no longer contain himself either. In anguish, he dropped to his knees and groaned. “Allah Achbar! But when did such misfortune equal mine?!” He wrapped his arms around Morayma, and they both wept bitterly.

From a smooth outcropping of dolomite along the southern trail, the king’s mother heard his crying and stormed over to reproach him. “You weep now like a woman over what you could not defend as a man!” The scorn in her voice stabbed at Muhammad’s soul. He took one more doleful look at the banners of Ferdinand and Isabella flying over the fortress and rose and lifted his wife to her feet. Servants and guards rushed over to help them mount their horses and like a funeral procession, they continued their sorrowful journey into the towering snow-capped mountains of the south to their exile in the valley of Purchena. This would come to be the “Moor’s Last Sigh.”

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