©Wellcome Library, London

The Maristan Hospital is the only known Medieval Islamic hospital in Europe. An inscription above its main entrance informed all who entered that the Sultan, ‘By constructing this hospital ... has performed a fine action for the present times and with no precedent from the introduction of Islam into our Country ... he has offered this to God's glory demanding no reward ...' At the time the hospital was built, the region of Granada which stretched from Gibraltar to Almería, was the last remaining Arab territory in Spain and a refuge for Muslims in an increasingly Christianised peninsula. It remained a sophisticated and generally peaceful area until the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella united the 2 most powerful states in Spain, Aragón and Castile, and inaugurated the Spanish Inquisition.

Steel engraving by Ribault & JJ Sulpis after Francisco Enriquez (fl. 1700).