The town of Almodovar del Rio played an extremely important role in the Middle Ages owing to its strategic location on a hill around 252 metres high next to the Guadalquivir river, which at that time was navigable for small vessels. The traces of multiple cultures, amongst which are Islam and Christianity, can be evidenced in the architectural style of this unique building. In the year 756, this fortress became the estate of the Moorish Prince Al’delMalik Ben Qatan and from 758 onwards it passed into the hands of the Emirate of Cordoba in the reign of Abderraman I.
During the 10th century it was tied entirely to the Caliphate of Cordoba, going on to belong in the 10th and 12th centuries to the Taifa of Carmona, subsequently to the Taifa of Sevilla and finally to the Almohad Empire.
The Moorish King Abed Mohammed de Baeza would later die at the gates of the Castle during the 13th century in 1226, the year in which the fort fell into Christian hands having been handed over to Fernando III ‘The Saint’. Henceforth, the castle would go on to be subjected to successive extensions initiated by the Castilian Kings D. Pedro I of Castile and Enrique II of Trastamara. Meanwhile, Alfonso XI ‘The Just’ and Pedro I ‘The Cruel’ would also end up getting involved in these extensions.
The castle has played host to myriad events over the course of its history. Figures such as Doña Juana de Lara (wife of Prince Don Tello, stepbrother of King Pedro I) have been imprisoned within its walls, it has housed the treasures of Castile and its dungeons have been impenetrable witnesses to the agony of illustrious prisoners such as the 1st Duke of Benavente. Amongst other to have figured in its history are governors Don Alfonso Diaz de Vargas, Diego Fernandez de Cordova and Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordova.
Al-Mudawar Al-Adna went on to be called Almodovar del Rio, in reference to the municipality in the province of Cordoba which is home to one of the most magnificent and best kept castles in Spain.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.