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.References:
The Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg is situated in a strategic area on a rocky spur overlooking the Upper Rhine Plain, it was used by successive powers from the Middle Ages until the Thirty Years' War when it was abandoned. From 1900 to 1908 it was rebuilt at the behest of the German kaiser Wilhelm II. Today it is a major tourist site, attracting more than 500,000 visitors a year.
The first records of a castle built by the Hohenstaufens date back to 1147. The fortress changed its name to Koenigsburg (royal castle) around 1157. The castle was handed over to the Tiersteins by the Habsburgs following its destruction in 1462. They rebuilt and enlarged it, installing a defensive system designed to withstand artillery fire.
The fortification work accomplished over the 15th century did not suffice to keep the Swedish artillery at bay during the Thirty Years War, and the defences were overrun.