The origins of Puente del Congosto Castle dates from the 12th and 13th centuries. It was built for defensive reasons, to control the route which connected Ciudad Rodrigo with Avila.
In 1393, Enrique III granted the manor of the Puente del Congosto to Gil Gonzalez Davila, which rebuilt the castle, which would be Posada Real. The Duke of Alba bought the castle to the Emperor Carlos in 1539, adding to the rectangular tower the large cube gives to the building most uniqueness.
The castle is in a good state of conservation. It is made up of an outer enclosure and an inner fortification formed by a great rectangular keep with a second tower build against it.
The outer enclosure is an irregular rubblework hexagon, reinforced in the corners by granite ashlars. Because it is more vulnerable than the others, the western curtain wall of the outer enclosure is extra protected with a small tower in its center. The gate is situated in the northern wall and is protected by another wall. There is also a postern in the eastern wall on a higher floor level.The keep is made up of two great halls with brick vaults sustained by arcs of ashlar masonry. In the lower hall, on a height of about 3 meters in the western wall, is the entrance to the spiral staircase that leads to the upper hall. In the eastern wall is a little window. The top of the keep was originally crenelated.The ground floor level of the second tower is only the one that can be accessed from the courtyard. All the higher floor level in this tower can only be accessed through wall staircase from the keep.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.