Saint Catherine's Castle (Castillo de Santa Catalina) is a castle that sits on the Cerro de Santa Catalina overlooking the Spanish city of Jaén. It is now the site of a parador.
The castle began as a Moorish fortress in the 8th century, later improved by the Nasrid ruler of the Emirate of Granada, Abdallah ibn al-Ahmar (who also built the Alhambra). Earlier, where the parador now stands, there was a tower known as Hannibal's Tower, of which some traces remain. After King Ferdinand III of Castile captured the city in 1246 after the Siege of Jaén, he commenced a transformation of the castle, including construction of what became known as the New Castle on the eastern extreme of the hill. The bulk of the work, however, took place under the reigns of Alfonso X and Ferdinand IV. There are five towers and a donjon, with one of the towers holding the Chapel of Saint Catherine. One of the last structures built during this period was the donjon, which was the work of the Conestable of Castile, Miguel Lucas de Iranzo. The builders of the new castle used some of the towers and ramparts of the old fortress, and destroyed or replaced others. The construction in 1965 of the parador resulted in destruction of many of the elements of the Old Castle. The few remnants of the original fortress occupy the western extreme of the hill.
The 17th century saw some interior remodeling of the buildings. Then in the early 19th century, Napoleonic forces built a gunpowder store, stables, hospital, offices, kitchen, and artillery platform. Little beyond the foundations remains of most of these.
On the top of the hill there is a monumental cross that recalls the cross that Ferdinand III had erected there. At the foot of the cross, engraved in the rock, is the 'Sonnet to the Cross' by the poet Almendros Aguilar.
The castle and parador have a view over the valley of the Guadalquivir to the ridges of the Sierra Morena. General Charles de Gaulle stayed in the parador while writing his memoirs.References:
Monte d"Accoddi is a Neolithic archaeological site in northern Sardinia, located in the territory of Sassari. The site consists of a massive raised stone platform thought to have been an altar. It was constructed by the Ozieri culture or earlier, with the oldest parts dated to around 4,000–3,650 BC.
The site was discovered in 1954 in a field owned by the Segni family. No chambers or entrances to the mound have been found, leading to the presumption it was an altar, a temple or a step pyramid. It may have also served an observational function, as its square plan is coordinated with the cardinal points of the compass.
The initial Ozieri structure was abandoned or destroyed around 3000 BC, with traces of fire found in the archeological evidence. Around 2800 BC the remains of the original structure were completely covered with a layered mixture of earth and stone, and large blocks of limestone were then applied to establish a second platform, truncated by a step pyramid (36 m × 29 m, about 10 m in height), accessible by means of a second ramp, 42 m long, built over the older one. This second temple resembles contemporary Mesopotamian ziggurats, and is attributed to the Abealzu-Filigosa culture.
Archeological excavations from the chalcolithic Abealzu-Filigosa layers indicate the Monte d"Accoddi was used for animal sacrifice, with the remains of sheep, cattle, and swine recovered in near equal proportions. It is among the earliest known sacrificial sites in Western Europe.
The site appears to have been abandoned again around 1800 BC, at the onset of the Nuragic age.
The monument was partially reconstructed during the 1980s. It is open to the public and accessible by the old route of SS131 highway, near the hamlet of Ottava. It is 14,9 km from Sassari and 45 km from Alghero. There is no public transportation to the site. The opening times vary throughout the year.