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Turismo de Alcalá de Guadaíra

Marchenilla Castle

A CASTLE ON LOS ALCORES ESCARPMENT

Known as Marchenilla's Castle, it is placed on the escarpment of Los Alcores, next to the historic road that linked Alcalá de Guadaíra to the Guadaíra's Countryside or Campiña and Morón's Mountains.

By means of archaeological researches we know that the Marchenilla zone shows signs of human occupation at least from the Chalcolithic (ca. 5,000 years ago), although possibly it is not until Turdetanus Period (6th-3rd centuries BCE) when a stable settlement takes place at this location. The population would continue along Roman Age, although we ignore its importance, possibly associated to an establishment of agricultural character related to the close town at the Mesa de Gandul.

Marchenilla Castle

We know that by the end of Andalusí Period (between 12th-13th centuries), Marchenilla would be one of the farmsteads or agricultural exploitations that occupied the district of "La Llanura" (Spanish for The Plain) (al-Sahl), at the East of Seville. The very place name of Marchenilla proves its Andalusí origin. After the Castilian conquest in 1247, the place was given in 1253 by King Alfonso X to Rodrigo Álvarez. We do not know, however, what shape or size had the settlement in that moment. By the end of the 13th century, the Benemerine raids, coming precisely from Ronda through "Morón's road" would be a reason to fortify Marchenilla, with a small walled enclosure and a great quadrangular-plan tower similar to other ones of the close Castle of Alcalá.

Marchenilla Castle

During the Late Middle Ages, Marchenilla is included in the dominion of Gandul and Marchenilla, instituted in 1369 in favour of Arnao de Solier, mercenary that had assisted King Enrique II in the civil war against King Pedro I. At the end of the 14th century, the lordship would pass to Sevillian Velasco family, who enlarge the enclosure of Marchenilla with a singular wall with late-Gothic decorations, pretty infrequent in the military Sevillian architecture of the epoch.

Just to mention a historic singular detail: Marchenilla would be the scene in 1474 of the negotiations between the Ponce de León and Guzmán families, which would culminate in the Peace of Marchenilla, end to the Nobles' confrontations linked to the rise of Isabel I to the throne of Castile.

Marchenilla Castle

During the Modern Age, Marchenilla would keep its character of nobility residence linked to Gandul's lordship, with an ample surrounding agricultural exploitation. During these centuries various transformations take place, like the construction of the chapel of San Isidro Labrador, dated back to the 17th century. Already in the 19th century the last enlargement of the enclosure is carried out, with a cortijo-like yard or patio added east of the original building.

Nowadays, Marchenilla belongs to the typology of Sevillian cortijos (or country estate with houses), even though the elements of the medieval original fortification (tower and outer walls) add a picturesque touch that allow us to speak about a "fortified cortijo", quite exceptional at the monumental Sevillian panorama. You can add to these historic and patrimonial values the ecological singularity as it is one of the nesting places for the colony of Lesser Kestrels of Los Alcores, as it happens with the Luna (Moon) Castle from Mairena del Alcor.

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