Due to its excellent strategic location, Socerb Castle was already an important stronghold in Illyrian times, while in the Middle Ages, it became a mighty and well-fortified castle controlling the Trieste hinterlands and the commercial routes between Carniola and the coast. The castle has an exceptionally rich and turbulent history that can be traced from the Early Middle Ages to 1780 when it was struck by lightning, rendering it uninhabitable. Its important strategic position made it a cause of fights between the Venetians, Trieste and the Habsburg Monarchy. It was owned by the Venetians from 1463 to 1511 when it was an important stronghold serving as defence against the Turks and Imperial Austria in the Austro-Venetian wars from the early 16th century.
In the early 17th century, during the Uskok War (1615-1617), the Castle was owned by Benvenuto Petazzi, a nobleman from Trieste. The Counts of Petazzi kept their sway over Socerb until 1688, when they returned it to the Archducal Chamber in Graz and moved to Žavlje. In the first half of the 18th century, the Socerb Seigniory came under the Marquises de Priè and was bought in 1768 by the Counts Montecuccoli from Modena who kept it even after releasing the peasants in 1848.
The results of a fire caused by lightning in 1780 caused the castle to slowly start deteriorating in the 19th century. The castle ruins and the nearby cave were described by Count Giroloamo Agapito in 1823 and painted by August Tischbein in 1842. The dilapidated castle was bought in 1907 by Demetrio Economo, a Trieste Baron, who refurbished it in 1923-1924 concentrating mainly on restoring the surrounding walls whilst other remains were removed.
During the national liberation war, the castle’s excellent strategic position made it important for both the partisans, who used it as the seat of the VOS (Security-Intelligence Service), and the people’s court, as well as for German units who occupied it in autumn of 1944, making it a fortified stronghold. The castle was refurbished after the war and today serves as a popular excursion destination with its natural and cultural sights offering food and services to tourists.References:
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.
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.
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.
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.