Top Historic Sights in El Puerto de Santa María, Spain

Explore the historic highlights of El Puerto de Santa María

San Marcos Castle

San Marcos Castle is a 12th-century fortress, commissioned by Alfonso X 'The Wise' upon the remains of a Moorish mosque on the banks of Guadalete River. Despite being so old (800 years), the castle is preserved in perfect conditions of use. Cultural events, conferences, lunches or dinners can be held both inside or outside in the garden, for up to 300 people. The inside of the old mosque is an ideal place for ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: El Puerto de Santa María, Spain

Priory Church

The Priory Church (Iglesia Mayor Prioral) is documented from 1486 when the building was under construction. It was damaged by an earthquake in the 17th century and was partly rebuilt in the Baroque style. As a result of being constructed in two phases, the church contains both Gothic and Baroque architecture, exemplified in its portals. The church was built in a Gothic style, although it has baroque and Plateresque eleme ...
Founded: c. 1486 | Location: El Puerto de Santa María, Spain

Doña Blanca Castle

Castillo de Doña Blanca is a tower built in the 15th or 16th century to watch the Cádiz bay. It is named after lady Blanca de Borbón, who was imprisoned there.  The tower is built to the archaeological area. The remains of walls, necrópolis and parts of houses date from the eighth to the third century BC and were built by the Phoenicians. It is considered an ancient city with a significant development and urban plan ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: El Puerto de Santa María, Spain

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Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.