La Calahorra Castle
La Calahorra Castle
La Calahorra Castle-Palace is one of the most important Works of the first Spanish Renaissance. It was constructed on the remains of a preceding fortification of the Medieval period dating from the beginning of the 16th century, probably between 1509 and 1512, and two architects mainly participated in the construction, the Castillian Lorenzo Vázquez and the Italian Michelle Carlone. The castle is a singular building not only for its aspect and location, which make it the most characteristic element in the landscapes of El Marquesado, but also for the originally of its conception and execution.
Two different constructive and stylistic trends coincide on it: the Castillian defensive architecture and the purest Renaissance. The result is a fortress on the outside aspect and an exquisite and intimate palace on the inside, constructed using basically the stone (limestone and for the balustrade and higher colonnade of the yard, marble of Carraca) besides the brick and the mortar for some floorings and wallings up and the wood splendidy carved for the covering of the noblest living rooms. The central yard organizes the design of the inner spaces. This yard is what we can consider the Renaissance work of the construction. It is surrounded by a double gallery with arches that support the coat arms of Los Mendoza and Los Fonseca.
The palace living rooms are designed round it, accessing to the room of arms and the body of arms in the lower part. Through a monumental marble stairs you get the high floor, where the Oratory, whose door is located in the Fine Arts Museum of Seville, the rooms of Arms and Justice and the private lodgins are located, all of them with yard and its constructive elements (columns and arches, main fronts, windows, etc) where the Renaissance decorative program spreads, that is attributed to Michelle Carlone and that a series of vegetable elements and allegonic figures covering friezes, lintels, pillars and pilasters, capitals and rose windows, and etc, are the protagonists. The carcass that protects and hides this interior is a fortification in the Castillian style and with impregnable aspect. A huge box is addled to the central chequered body that overnags to its South side and that lodges the inner stairs, and in the corners cylindrical towards crowned by cupolas. One single entrance, some small embrasures and a few windows are the only gaps that break the solidity of the fortress.
Rodrigo de Mendoza y Maria de Fonseca lived just eight years in the castle, which passed to the hands of the Marquise´s daughters. The War of the Moorishes (1568-71) which was especially violent in El Marquesado of El Canete, brought back the leadership, of the castle where the old Christians of the area took refuge and almost at the end of the war, the Marquis of Mondejar and the Marquis of Javara withdrawed to barracks, under the orders of Mr Juan of Austria. Afterwards the castle was practically abandoned for centuries. At the beginning of the 20th century, almost sold and moved stone by stone to the EE.UU, it was purchased by the Duke of El Infantado and the Marquis of Santillana.