THE SHINING CITY
This is the story of a city, a city that is now in ruins: Madinat al Zahra. The year is 947 AD, a time when southern Spain is under the rule of the Moors. The ruler, Caliph al Rahman III is rich, powerful and cultured. His lands are, at long last, at peace and the capital, Córdoba, is considered to be not only the most beautiful city in the civilised world but also the seat of learning and culture. Against this background we meet the artisan Qasim - he and his family have moved to Madinat al Zahra to make their fortune as potters.
Qasim is a good husband and father. He works hard, says his prayers and keeps out of trouble. But Qasim has a secret; his past is not what it seems. When a stranger arrives asking questions about him, he is worried that his secret will be discovered and everything he has worked for will be destroyed.
In the meantime, unbeknown to Qasim, his youngest son, Omar meets and falls in love with a slave girl who has been sold into the Caliph’s harem. The young man is obsessed with the thought of seeing this beautiful woman again and breaks into the palace grounds to meet her. Omar’s infatuation with the slave girl has consequences that he could never have foreseen, not only for himself but for all his family.