Palmanova is a town in northeastern Italy and an excellent example of star fort of the Late Renaissance, built up by the Venetians in 1593.

Palmanova was built following the ideals of a utopia. It is a concentric city with the form of a star, with three nine-sided ring roads intersecting in the main military radiating streets. It was built at the end of the 16th century by the Venetian Republic which was, at the time, a major center of trade. It is actually considered to be a fort, or citadel, because the military architect Giulio Savorgnan designed it to be a Venetian military station on the eastern frontier as protection from the Ottoman Empire.

Between the points of the star, ramparts protruded so that the points could defend each other. A moat surrounded the town, and three large, guarded gates allowed entry. The construction of the first circle, with a total circumference of 7 kilometres, took 30 years.

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La Iruela Castle

The castle of La Iruela, small but astonishing, is located on the top of a steep crag in Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park. From the castle, impressive views of the surrounding area and of the town can be enjoyed.

The keep dates from the Christian era. It has a square base and small dimensions and is located at the highest part of the crag.

There are some other enclosures within the tower that create a small alcázar which is difficult to access.

In a lower area of the castle, protected with defensive remains of rammed earth and irregular masonry, is an old Muslim farmstead.

After a recent restoration, an open-air theater has been built on La Iruela castle enclosure. This theater is a tribute to the Greek and Classic Eras and holds various artistic and cultural shows throughout the year.

History

The first traces of human activity in La Iruela area are dated from the Copper Age. An intense occupation continued until the Bronze Age.

Originally, La Iruela (like Cazorla) was a modest farmstead. From the 11th century, a wall and a small fortress were built on the hill to protect the farmers.

Around 1231, don Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada, Archbishop of Toledo, conquered La Iruela and made it part of the Adelantamiento de Cazorla. Over the Muslim fortress, the current fortress was built.

Once the military use of the fortress ended, it was used as cemetery.