The first documents of Baena Castle date at the beginning of the 9th century (890), during the reign of Emir Ahdullah, whose Governor in Regio since 889 had been Omar Ben Hafsum who rebelled and took Baena in 891.
In 1228, the governor of Fernando III in Baeza attacked the castle, belonging then to Seville. Subsequently the castle was attacked by Mohamed, the king of Granada, 1297. In July 1320 a peace treaty was signed in this castle between the Alonso XI and Ismail, King of Granada, which guaranteed this peace for eight years. In 1332, this same Alfonso XI garrisoned the castle in the face of danger from Granada, and in 1341 he left Baena to attack the Nasrid kingdom, not before providing the fortress with men and materials. In 1362 Abu Said, King of Granada, the Bermejo, took refuge in Baena and was accompanied to Seville by people from Cordoba.
In 1401 the castle was ceded by Henry III to the Marshal, Don Diego Fernández de Córdoba, with the opposition of the inhabitants of the city, taking possession of it in 1438.
Since the 16th century it has been used as the Palacio de los Duques. Diego Fernández de Córdoba, III Conde de Cabra, established his residence in the castle at the beginning of the 16th century and gave it a more palatial character. In 1520 the Baena and Condado de Cabra estate became related by marriage to the Duchy of Sessa. En 1566, by a Royal Decree of Philip II, Baena became the Duchy of Baena whereupon the lords of Baena came to be the Dukes of Sessa and Baena. It is from that time when there began to be a succession of structural changes in the fortified enclosure aimed at making the place suitable as a residence, and the military character of the complex faded into the background.
Baena Castle is square and still has part of its original walls and three of the four towers located in those of: El Secreto, Los Cascabeles and the last one of the Cinco Esquinas or Las Arqueras.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.