Estepa castle was known in the Islamic period as Hisn Istabba, and was taken by Spanish king Fernando III on 15 August 1241.
The city walls that still surround the old town on the San Cristóbal hill were first built in the tenth century by the Moors, renovated by Almohad invaders in the twelfth, and again reconstructed when Estepa fell to the Christian Order of Santiago in the thirteenth century. The keep inside the walls was built against attacks from Granada in the fourteenth century, and at 26 metres offers sweeping views of the town and surrounding countryside.
A defensive tower built by Lorenzo Suárez de Figueroa, Master of Santiago, it carried out defensive and logistical functions, measuring 26 metres high by 13 metres wide. On clear days, you can see Sierra Nevada from the roof.References:
The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily, including Ragusa, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. They represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1693 Ragusa was devastated by a huge earthquake, which killed some 5,000 inhabitants. Following this catastrophe the city was largely rebuilt, and many Baroque buildings from this time remain in the city. Most of the population moved to a new settlement in the former district of Patro, calling this new municipality 'Ragusa Superiore' (Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city 'Ragusa Inferiore' (Lower Ragusa). The two cities remained separated until 1926, when they were fused together to become a provincial capital in 1927.