There are probably thousands of placenames in Spain with an Arabic origin, from large regions and rivers to the smallest of hamlets and streets. Arabic toponyms are common throughout Spain, except for areas that never came under Muslim rule or where this was particularly short-lived (Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, the Basque country) and most of Catalonia. Conversely Arabic toponyms are particularly common along the Eastern Coast (Valencia and Murcia) and in Andalusia.
12C Koran used in Al-Andalus (Wikipedia)
This is a first draft. I’ll be adding more names to this.
- Guadiana river. Meaning “River Anae” (from the Latin Fluminus Anae, “River of Ducks”).
- Guadalquivir river. Derived from Arabic wadi a1-kabir – the great river
- Mulhacén. Highest mountain in peninsular Spain. Named after 15th century Sultan of Granada Ali Muley Hacén Abu al-Hasan, though it seems the name is posthumous to 1492.
- Pico Almanzor. Mountain in the Gredos Mountains of Central Spain. Named after “Almanzor” Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir, defacto ruler of Al Andalus in late 10th – early 11th centuries.
- Cape Trafalgar. From Andalusi Arabic Taraf-al-ghar.
- Río Guadix, Spain (The River River River – Río is “river” in Spanish, Guad < wad? is “river” in Arabic and Ix is “river” in Phoenician)
- Albufera : coastal marsh, the most famous of which is L’ Albufera near Valencia. From the Arabic, al-buhayrah, for ‘the lagoon’ or ‘the small sea’.
- Alpujarras (a1-bashurah – the bastion???)
- Guadalviar (wadi al-abyad – white river)
- Gibraltar: from the Arabic name Jabal Tariq, which means mountain of Tariq, or the more obvious Gibr al Tariq, meaning rock of Tariq).
Towns, cities and regions
- Albacete is derived from the Arabic (al-basit- the plain)
- Albarracín town in Aragón. Derived from Al Ban? Razin, name of the Berber governor of the town.
- Alcalá (a1-qa1cah – the fort)
- Axarquía Eastern region of Málaga province, From Arabic Ash-sharquía, The eastern/oriental (region).
- Andalucía from, Al Andalus, the Arabic name for Muslim Iberia, but there is great debate to its origin: see here.
- Algarve From Arabic “Al-Gharb Al-Andalus“. Al-Gharb means “the west”;
- Algeciras from Al Jazeera Al Khadra meaning the green island.
- Almería City and province of Andalucía. From Al Meraya. There is divergence of opinion as to the original meaning of its name. Some sources talk of al-Mirayah meaning the ‘the mirror’, others of Al-Meraya meaning ‘the watchtower’. Whatever the case (probably the latter) it comes form Arabic.
- Benicasim (Bani Qasim – the sons of Qasim) ;
- Calatayud (qal cat Ayyub – the fort of Ayyub [Job]);
- Calatazor (qal cat al-nasur – the fort of eagles)
- Guadalajara Wad? al-?ij?rah, River or canyon of Stones.
- Jaén: From Arabic Jayyan, crossroads of caravans.
- La Mancha Derived from original Arabic name: la’a Ma-anxa : “No water”.
- Medina Sidonia: from madina, city.
- Tarifa: Originally Jazeera Tarif: the island of Tarif. Derived form the first name of the Berber conqueror Tarif ibn Malik.
- Valladolid: from Balad al-Walid in Arabic, meaning ‘Land or town of of Walid’.
- Toponyms (place names) in Iberia of Arabic origin (Wikipedia)
- La invasión árabe. Los árabes y el elemento árabe en español, Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes
- Arabic Contributions to the Spanish Language
- Toponimia de origen árabe en España y Portugal
See also Arabic in Spain