La Guardia de Jaén Castle

La Guardia de Jaén, Spain

La Guardia castle dominates the whole village and a big area over the valley of river Guadalbullón. It is an important strategic passage that made La Guardia and its castle one of the most important cities of the area in the 11th century.

The castle´s base is an irregular triangle and it is divided into two individual areas: the alcazar and the alcazaba.

On the northeast corner of the enclosure, we can find the Alcázar built in the 15th century and refurbished and adorned on the 16th century. It is guarded by four different towers: one Muslim rounded tower, two squared towers and the keep which has a square base and rises 35 meters in height.

The fortified Alcazaba enclosure was built during the 13th century. Towers to defend the Alcazaba were unnecessary due to its zig-zag outline. The main fortress entrance was through an enormous late Gothic door built during the 16th century.


La Guardia, formerly the Roman Mentesa Bastia, was built over an Iberian Oppidum. During the Muslim period, it was called Mantisa and it was capital of and one of the oldest cities in Cora de Yayyan.

In 1244, La Guardia was conquered by Ferdinand III before the conquest of Jaén. As a consequence of el Pacto de Jaén, La Guardia became a strategic castle and for two and a half centuries guarded Jaén against a Nasrid occupation through the Guadalbullón basin.

La Guardia Castle was witness to many wars: In 1425 was a battle during which the Archbishop don Gonzalo was captured. In 1460, during a Muslim incursion, the Condestable of Jaén, Miguel Lucas de Iranzo was arrested.

During the late 15th century, when the Nasrid Reign and threat was over, La Guardia Castle was deeply modified losing its strategic military function and becoming a palace for the Mexía family.

In 1812, the castle was still habitable and was occupied by Napoleonic troops which set on fire and destroyed the fortress on their retreat.



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Founded: 11th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Spain


4.1/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ricardo Ruiz Nicás (11 months ago)
Cool. An excellent state of conservation and continuous municipal interventions for maintenance and enhancement. Guided tours can be arranged by calling the Town Hall. The enclave is impressive. The visit can be completed with a tour of other monuments of the town of artistic and historical interest. Highly recommended.
José Miguel Jiménez (11 months ago)
The castle has been recently restored. It is open the first weekend of each month, but it can be visited every day by arranging a guided tour with the La Guardia Town Hall.
francisco jose castillo castillo (19 months ago)
Now there is a very nice girl who explains something about the castle to you and if she can, she teaches you why she is alone. The castle as a whole is very beautiful and I hope they keep looking for more remains
Tomas Rincon Garcia (2 years ago)
Spectacular castle that dominates the town of La Guardia de Jaén and that protected the entrance to the capital of the province. It passed through numerous hands and is based on an old Iberian-Roman fortress although Tarik destroyed it in 711. Later the present castle would be built, which after its Castilian reconquest lost defensive strength and was burned in the 19th century by the French. During the Spanish civil war it served as a refuge for part of the population. It is usually open to visitors although it is currently under construction and is closed.
Sergio Cuéllar (4 years ago)
We did the visit with the guide from the town hall. Juan usually does it, a very nice guy who takes you through every corner of this fortress, tells you all the secrets and stories. The views are unbeatable from the esplanade and from the tower. Totally recommended view.
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