Porto Palermo Castle

Himarë, Albania

Porto Palermo Castle was probably built by the Venetians as it could be relieved by sea and it has the same triangular plan with round towers found in the Venetian fort at Butrint. At that time the identity of its builders ought to have been clear, from a plaque above the entrance gate. This plaque is now missing but the weathering of the stones clearly shows that it has not been missing for many decades. Almost certainly this plaque had a carving of the lion of St. Mark. The most plausible explanation of the error found in the guide books is a rewriting of history in the communist period. Re-ascribing a colonial legacy to construction by an Albanian fits a nationalist isolationist agenda.

The castle would have been vulnerable to cannon fire from the hill above and this also suggests an early date for its construction when cannon had not developed the range they had later. In 1662 the Venetians feared the Turks would recondition it. In 1803 Ali Pasha offered the castle and port to the Royal Navy. At which time the fort only had 4 or 5 cannon implying that Ali Pasha did not see the fort as important for him.

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Details

Founded: 16th century?
Category: Castles and fortifications in Albania

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Caterina Tosi (3 years ago)
A must see place in Albania. Should be better maintained for its conservation and to facilitate the visit
Diol (3 years ago)
Beautiful castle with a very interesting history. The view was amazing. Its only 100 Lek!
Sandra Riffel (3 years ago)
Great view and castle to walk around! Good for a quick stop.
Arminas Zilaitis (3 years ago)
The fortress is an interesting historical artifact, however information inside about the object is limited. The rooms of fortress are hollow, however the views from the top are amazing. Its worth a visit for sure. There is a beach with very food infrastructure, and crystal clear water. Very beautiful place for relaxation and a bit of history learning :)
Gerta Dervishi (3 years ago)
Historical place with a strategic location. Amazing view from the roof. The beach nearby is very nice. I loved spending there a couple of hours.
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Lorca Castle

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.

Muslim Era

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.

After Reconquista

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.

Modern history

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.