In this Spanish province you will find the most – and most beautiful – castles

by Lorraine Williamson
Spanish castles - La Iruela 

ANDALUCIA – In the game program ‘Saber y ganar’, all kinds of interesting facts about Spain are shared on RTVE. Recently, the Spanish province of Jaén in Andalucia took centre stage because this province is home to the most – and the most beautifulcastles and fortresses in all of Spain. 

In total, Jaén has 237 special buildings. This includes 97 castles, 126 watchtowers and bunkers, and dozens of other fortress walls and fortresses. Since it is impossible to show them all 237, the Spanish news site RTVE.es has made a selection of the seven most impressive castles in the Spanish province of Jaén. This immediately provides inspiration for people who would like to see Andalucia in a different way. 

Alcaudete 

Castle Alcaudete is located on a hill at an altitude of 713 metres in the town of the same name. Then, the Arabs built the castle on top of the remains of a Roman fortress. However, in 1085 it was taken by the Christians. Today the castle is open to the public and has a museum where the castle´s history can be viewed. 

Segura de la Sierra 

In this commune of Jaén, the castle of Segura de la Sierra was built during the Muslim period. Later, the castle was rebuilt and became the residence of the Grand Master of the Order of Santiago in the late 15th century. After this time, everyone moved out of the castle, it stood empty for hundreds of years and was only restored around 1960. However, today it is a historic public building where, among other things, cultural activities are organised. 

Canena 

This palatial castle was commissioned by the high-ranking official Francisco de los Cobos under Emperor Charles V. The Renaissance building dates back to the 17th century and has a beautiful balustraded courtyard with Ionic columns all around. At the front, the round towers protect the main facade of the castle. 

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La Iruela 

This Andalucian fortress is located on a rock called El Picacho, in the town of the same name, La Iruela. Inside are ruins of the Church of Santo Domingo. It is quite a small fortress but its location makes it very spectacular. In the past, this special location made it difficult to conquer the fortress. The view from the tower is impressive, to say the least. 

Banos de la Encina 

The castle of Baños de la Encina is a building from the 10th century, during the time of the Caliphate of Cordoba. This is the second oldest castle in Europe and is one of the best-preserved fortresses from the Muslim period in Spain. The castle was declared a national monument in 1931 and is surrounded by a wall with fourteen towers. 

Castillo de la Yedra in Cazorla 

From a height of 831 metres, you have a view of Cazorla and the beautiful surroundings of the castle. The building dates from the Berber period and contains a mixture of both the Islamic style and Christian elements that give the castle a Gothic character. 

Alcala la Real 

This concerns the fortress of La Mota which is located in Alcalá la Real and is located at an altitude of 1,029 meters. The fortress dates from the 13th and 14th centuries although some elements are older. The complex is no less than 145,000 square meters and in the Middle Ages, an entire city was even built in the fortress. Three of the seven gates are still visible, as is the wall system. The underground galleries dug under the rocks are also visible to the public. 

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