Arcos de Jalón Castle, dating from the 14th century, stands on the site of an old Arab fortress. It was besieged in the 14th century by the supporters of the Castilian King Pedro I, who fought against the rebel D. Fernán Gómez de Albornoz, supporter of his bastard brother Enrique de Trastamara.
This castle has a rectangular floor plan although it is quite irregular due to the fact that it adapts to the rugged land of a high and narrow hill that divides the town into two parts. A robust keep is attached to the castle walls which are made of thick stonework, horizontal brick rows and ashlar with stonecutter’s marks on the corners. There is only one entrance which is located high up and two loophole windows.
Inside there are remains of the structures that divided the tower, which once was taller, into different floors, and all throughout the perimeter, you can see where the foundation walls began and some towers that reinforced the structure.
This fortress is so unique due to the double-lined brick walls, a technique that mainly had a structural purpose, but has also given the castle beautiful reddish lines between the stonework. This construction method has a clear Mudejar origin which was most likely influenced by the amount of Muslims in the village and in the area of Aragon.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.