Lorca Castle

Lorca, Spain

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.

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Address

E-15 594, Lorca, Spain
See all sites in Lorca

Details

Founded: 9th century AD
Category: Castles and fortifications in Spain

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

DANNY DAVIS (4 months ago)
Quite extensive grounds. We had a wonderful guide, Carlos Real. The views from the fort are stunning.
lynn odonnell (6 months ago)
I have driven past this castle many times, finally went in, so glad I did. Lovely place with lovely staff. Stayed much longer then anticipated as there was lots to see. Stunning views. Definitely recommend it.
Barbara Mitchell (6 months ago)
Professionally presented and interesting visit. We learned much about the history of Lorca and Spain in general from 711 to 1492. The attendants were enthusiastic and welcoming. Well worth a visit. Recommend wearing trainers. A free car park is available.
Jeff Miller (6 months ago)
What a spectacular visit! This massive Moorish hilltop fortress has been restored beautifully. The site has two towers you can visit along with the remains of one of Spains few remaining ancient synagogues.
Adrian Easterling (6 months ago)
I would definitely recommend visiting this amazing castle. Unfortunately we went when it was 44 degrees and struggled to get around but the fantastic air conitioned restaurant soon had us cooled off, filled up and ready to carry on. You will need to get your timings right as the main parts are only open for set times but the staff are fantastic and don't rush you out. What a great look back into the past.
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