Priego de Córdoba Castle
Priego de Córdoba Castle – Arab Fortress
Priego´s Castle is located in the Llano Square (Plaza del Llano), just few minutes from Nuestra Señora de la Asunción Church, from the Saughterhouse and Market and from the San Pedro Church, in the andalusian village of Priego de Córdoba.
The Castle of Priego de Córdoba (declared National Monument) is an urban fortification that was gradually configured throughout the Middle Ages, from the 9th through to the 15th centuries, with some later additions and modifications carried out during the Modern and Contemporary periods. Most of it was donated to the town by the descendents of Víctor Rubio Chavarri, its former owner, in 1996.
Originally (9th and 10th centuries), the castle was fortress of the Moorish town of Madinat Baguh (Priego), and residence of the town governor. Little remains of this original al-Andalus castle, and what we have of it comes from archaeological excavations that have been carried out: defensive walls, silos, doors, baths, recropolis, etc. This Moorish castle had a square floor plan, with towrs ant the corners and other towers and buttresses on the defensive walls.
After the Catholic conquests by Ferdinand III (1225) and Alfonso XI (1341), the castle underwent substantial remodelling by the new lords of the town, first the military order of Calatrava, and then the noble Fernández de Córdoba family. The works carried out at that time (13th-15th centuries) were so substantial that we could easily say that the castle visible today corresponds to that period. Hence, it was the Calatrava order that built The the grand keep, while the Fernández de Córdoba family were responsible for the majority of the towers and outer walls that can be seen today, including the highest ones that face El Llano Square.
When visiting we would recommend that you start by going up to the towers of the main façade (15th century). From here there is a wonderful aerial view of the whole fortress and its surrounding area: the La Villa neighbourhood, watchtowers on surrounding hilltops, and the layout of the various towers, defensive walls and cisterns of the structure itself. In these towers you can also see the firing chambers which still conserve their original loopholes and masons´marks.
Next we head down to the patio, which has numerous stone catapult balls from the 14th and 15th centuries, and we enter the keep. Before going in, be sure to look at the original doorway -a high, round arch- and the early staircase, alongside the current access. The keep was built between 1245 and 1327, and has three floors. The lower level has no access from outside and was used as a cistern. The remaining floors had multiple uses, according to necessities at th time: storerroms, living quarters, bedrooms, for receiving visitors, etc. The windows of the third floor have attractive horseshoe arches, clearly inspired in Mudejar style.
In the patio once again, we now explore the northern area of the archaeological excavations, where part of the olf defensive walls can be seen, dating from the 9th and 10th centuries, along with other interesting elements such as an old door (10th century) and the embrasure (15th century). Once outside the castle, don´t forget to take a close look at the castle´s original doorway, protected from above by a projecting parapet.
Forteresse arabe réformée aux XIIIè et XVè siècles. En plus de la tour de l´hommage, les remparts possèdent sept tours, deux d´entre cylindriques, les autres cuadrangulaires. Il s´agit d´un monument historique et artistique national.
Fuente: Tourist Brochure Ayto. de Priego