Various legends of later years, with Christians as the actors, could be explained if we knew that information.

It is possible, however, that in the "almudena" or the "medina" of Madrid there may have been water for the baths, but no shred of evidence, not even a place name, has come down to our days. In Arabic towns there were, and still are in certain Moroccan and Mauritanian towns, baths located outside the medina proper and outside town.

Usually these baths used water from springs, which were preferred for their purity and thermal qualities. In Madrid of the Middle Ages, there is record of some baths located next to the San Pedro stream.

But then, to speak with certainty of places where commercial trading was carried out is to fantasize, for in Madrid no place-name has survived relating to these practices, which is to the contrary of many Castilian and Andalusian towns. Yet, a comparison with these and with present-day Arabic cities in Northern Africa, may permit us to hazard some conjectures.

In Moslem Madrid there could have been a market-place in front of the castle, before the mosque or in the immediacies of the gateways, especially that of Santa María or that of Almudena, since the surface-areas were flat within the walls as well as outside, in contrast to areas at the Puerta de la Vega.

Given the population and its importance in this early Madrid, which did not amount to anything extraordinary, one must think that trade in Madrid must have dealt mainly in local needs, and at the farthest with some nearby village centers.

Through all the Middle Ages, Madrid did not develop as a center of commerce in the Kingdom, in contrast to Alcalá de Henares, with its celebrated fairs. Therefore, its commercial activities were probably proper to a middle-sized community and appropriate to what was an outstanding military garrison.

To supply the demands of the troops in their quarters, there must have been shops and skills serving the Moslem army, and they must have been situated not far from the quarters themselves, or it may be, near the castle-fortress (Alcázar).

The Picture: Imaginary pictorialization of the Arabic wall,
in which the Gateway de la Vega is clearly seen.
- Drawn in 1956, by P. Schild. -

It is believed that the services of that neighborhood during the Austrian-Hapsburg epoch, wherein military skills predominated, had their roots in Arabic Madrid, since the zone near the Puerta de la Vega had a military character, with its blacksmiths, forges, armourers, carpenters, stables, and harnesses for supplies to the garrison, etc.

As much the military population as the civilian did not supply their wants purely from military products and tasks relating to war-making. For very small that Madrid was in those Moslem centuries, one still must grant them the existence of other trades and skills, normal to any town of the Middle Ages.

These skills and trades cold serve the needs of the castle-fortress (Alcázar), but even more of the civilian population of the "medina". In Madrid there would be living and working shoe and sandal-makers, tailors, weavers, barbers, bakers, and perhaps some jeweler and dealer in spices.

One activity in Madrid which reached fame and prestige, though lost in later years, was pottery-making, for from ancient times the kilns of Madrid were lauded, wherein an excellent clay was baked. The most ancient tribute known is from the geographer Al-Himllari, who said:

"There is, in Mayrit, a clay from which earthen pots are made, which can be of good use; one can put them over the flames during twenty years, and they will not break. Food that is stored in them will not be affected by hot atmosphere."

Pottery-making at Madrid must have been lost early for there are no long any traces left of it by the era of the Austrian-Hapsburgs. But we catch a clear echo of it in the utilitarian clays and ceramics found in the area of Alcorcón, a town with a name of Arabic origin near to Madrid that, up to the middle of the 20th century, was making excellent earthen crocks and pots.

Together with jobs generated by the presence of the military, and other tasks proper to any town, the major occupation among people of Madrid, was agriculture and horticulture.

The commitment of denizens of Madrid to cultivation of fields must begin among the Moslems, for when the Visigoths existed here, their dedication was to hunting and the grazing of stock.

The Arabs transformed their town into an "agricultural city," due to the extraordinary activity which Moslem Spaniards displayed in the fields.

It is a matter of record that city dwellers of that Spain loved nature, and couldn't live without escaping once in a while from their close urban centers, to enjoy life in country houses which they built with gardens and orchards in the outskirts of the towns.

It is known also that every Hispanic-Moslem town was set within a great ring of vegetable gardens, as consequence of every Spanish-Moslem's desire to possess a piece of earth where he could plant flowers and trees.

An interesting document of the 14th century is extant, which contains a description of the natural surrounds of the town, and even acknowledging some changes and modifications made later, leads us to believe that they could not be much different from what they looked like centuries before.

This document speaks of barleyfields, saffron-growing, grounds sown with chick-peas, grape-vines, walnut-trees, melon-patches, and orchards. And there was cultivation of apples, figs, cherries, pomegranates, plums, almonds, pears, apricots, cermeña-pears, peaches, quinces, and blackberries.

A little later, in 1500, another document widens the vegetable list with morello (a variety of sour cherry), olive groves, and other fruits. All of which with those well-documented meadows and pastures paints a lush landscape around Medieval Madrid.

Although the most mentioned traditional zone for location of gardens and work-fields is La Vega along the Manzanares, it can be said that almost all the environs of the city must have been used in agricultural, horticultural and stock-raising activities.

Thus, La Sagra gave its name to the extensive fields north of the town, beyond the modern Plaza de Oriente. The word "Atocha" alluded to the fields of esparto-grass, or "atochares" (esparto fields), on the Vallecas road.

The abundance of water made possible, likewise, the cultivation of great irrigated fields in the vicinity of the Monastery of the Jerónimos, and to the east, where later on would be located the Paseo del Prado and the Botanic Garden.

To which one should add the numerous place-names that many streets of Madrid have had or still keep, such as Olivar, Alameda, Vallehermoso, Guindalera, Valverde, Hortaleza, Almendro, Parra, Granado, Huertas, etc.

While certainly this is a description or panorama of the early and later Middle Ages, in the military community, many place-names, words and places will retain their primitive origin until many years later, and even when these disappear, will linger in the traditions and culture of the people.

The imprint of Moslem Madrid was perhaps much greater through the later development of the City and the Court, than we today imagine it.

Moslem architecture and
Hispanic-Moslem characters.

- Hispanic-Moslem type.
He covers his head with a beret,
and wears a vest and hare-skin boots.

- Interior of a Hispanic-Moslem city, about the 10th century.
The horsemen on the left, carry long spears, ride without stirrups;
their horses are adorned with half-moon hangings.
In the foreground each man wears a long mantle as a coat, while at his side,
there is a vendor offering his wares to a woman accompanied by a child.
These are poor houses; they have only one story, excepting the one
rising next to the minaret of the mosque.

- Remains of the old Moslem wall of Madrid.

- Plaque in honor of Muhammad I, placed near the first wall
that he ordered to be built after conquering the small town,
that at that time was Madrid.

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