El Castillo

4500 Years of human history over the Cerro del Castillo

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Its history

LEARN ABOUT

its architecture

A FACILITY

of legends

GALLERY

of Images

THE CASTLE

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CENTER OF

Interpretation

The Castillo de Alcalá is the result of nearly 4,500 years of human history on the Cerro del Castillo.

The oldest archaeological findings date back to the Bronze Age (II millennium B.C.), when a small walled settlement was established at the western end of the Cerro.

It would be a settlement dedicated to the agricultural production of the Guadaíra countryside, which due to its size would depend in some way on the nearby (and larger) settlement located in the Mesa de Gandul.

Schedule

  • Monday closed
  • Tuesday to Friday: 9:30-13:30
  • Saturdays: 10-14 and 16-18
  • Sundays and holidays: 10-14

July and August

  • Monday to Friday: 10-12 and 20-22
  • Weekends, closed

Alcalá de Guadaíra Castle

Castle Interpretation Center

Avda. del Águila, s/n
Alcalá de Guadaíra 41500
Seville, Spain

T. (+34) 95 579 64 74
M. (+34) 646 305 570
info@turismoalcaladeguadaira.es

Interpretation Center

The contents of the Interpretation Center show a wide range of information about the Castle itself and its relationship with the territory. The interior architecture of the building itself has been used, where we highlight a peculiar quadrangular nave with three naves with vaulted ceilings, themed in such a way that, on the side wall, we find all of the chronology The three naves contain extensive information on the relationship between the Castle itself and the territory through the water, earth and stone.

All the content is reinforced with videos and a representative model of the site itself, recreated as described by Father Flores in his memoirs.

A bit of History

Between 1,500 B.C. and the Roman period, the hill of the Castle remains uninhabited, dating from the I-III century A.D. Roman archaeological remains found.

Again, from the fourth to the eleventh century the hill is uninhabited, and it is with the first documentary sources that cite the “Castillo de Yabir” (Qalat Yabir) in the time of the Taifa Kingdoms, when there is again evidence of occupation.

Everything we can see today dates from after the 12th century, when the Almohad caliphate built a first fortress at the western end, around the Patio de los Silos. Later it would be extended in the area of the Patio de la Sima, including a bath(hammam) for the garrison.

After the Castilian conquest of 1247, Alcalá became part of the interior line of the border between the kingdoms of Seville and Granada.

In 1280 Alfonso X founded the Villa de Alcalá on the eastern esplanade of the castle, giving rise to the first stable urban settlement on the hill. The walls that protected this medieval city only allowed passage through the gate of Santa Maria (Mocha tower) and San Miguel.

Architecture

Its landscape of walls and battlements
marks the best known image of the Castillo de Alcalá,
its evolution between the twelfth and seventeenth centuries.

Possibly in 1247, the construction of the
two octagonal towers
which constitute an interesting example of
“protocastellana” architecture in Andalusia,
background of the Torre de la Plata,
built a few years later in Seville.

The town of Alcalá developed during the 14th century on the upper part of the Cerro del Castillo, around the church of Santa María del Águila. At present we can see nothing of its urban planning,
but archaeology has located
large blocks of houses.

Did you know that … ?

The castle of Alcalá de Guadaíra is home to numerous legends. Here are some of them.

The Eagle of the Castle

It is one of the most widespread beliefs in the city, and narrates that the Virgin of the Eagle, the patron saint, was found through the intermediation of an eagle. If it had happened, the episode could have been more or less like this:

The Christians, who had recently taken control of the castle by wresting it from the Moors in the Reconquest, spent their days touring their new domain on the castle hill and getting an idea of the possibilities for their new life.

Since their arrival, they had observed that every day an eagle flew over the walls and landed in the same place. Puzzled by the bird’s presence and even more by its behavior, they decided to go to the place chosen as the eagle’s perch.

In this place, after a brief search, they found buried an image of the Virgin that would have been hidden by the Christians upon the arrival of the Muslim invaders. This Eagle not only rescued the Virgin from her hiding place, but also gave its name to the invocation.

The mystery of the chasm

In the Castle there is a construction full of unknowns and that in spite of several investigations remains intact in its mystery. This is the large chasm in the courtyard to which it gives its name. It is a large construction excavated in the albero rock in the lowest part of the Patio.

There are several interpretations. The most orthodox says that it is a water reservoir for supplying the castle and for accessing some subway watercourse. But there are other valuations that find too much entity in the construction to be about it. The fact is that it is currently full of debris and garbage.

Several attempts have been made to get to the bottom of it. Several workers worked on it, but after digging deep into it, they did not reach the bottom. Pending the unraveling of the mystery, the assessments are many. Some say that it is the beginning of a network of tunnels that led to the outside of the castle, allowing its inhabitants to flee in case of harassment or the bravest to get water or other elements to continue resisting those who besieged the fortress. And going even further, there is talk that at its bottom is a great treasure hidden by a Moorish king.

The Moorish princess

Legend has it that in the strongest tower of the Castle of Qalat Chábir lived the princess Alguadaira, young Muslim daughter of the mayor of the Castle. Her father had promised her in marriage to the Muslim Abul-Suleiman. However, the princess fell in love with a Christian captive imprisoned by the Muslim troops, Garcí-Meléndez. Every day the young princess would sneak to the dungeon where he was imprisoned to see the young Castilian lover. One day she decided to free him and escape with her beloved through the Gate of Seville or betrayal (for she betrayed her father, who had promised her in marriage to Abul-Suleiman).

Crossing the river by boat, and on the other bank they met Abul-Suleiman, who stabbed the princess to death. The young girl’s blood mixes with the water of the river, becoming part of it. Since then the river has been named after the princess.

Prisoners of the Castle

“protocastellana” architecture in Andalusia, In its centuries of use, it has served as a fortress, dwelling, watchtower or prison. This last case has given rise to some episodes of singular cruelty.

The cistern was the prison of Diego García de Padilla. For months he lived in the water tank fearing drowning when the rainwater filled it.

Bishop Juan de Cardellac was imprisoned in one of the subway wheat warehouses in the courtyard of the Silos for his opposition to King Peter I; he was there for years and was released when he was already on the verge of death and completely insane. On the walls of his prison remain the footprints left by the prisoner with marks of the days and weeks he spent there.

Other resources that may interest you

Tourist Office

Harinera del Guadaíra

Avda. Tren de los Panaderos, s/n
Alcalá de Guadaíra 41500
Seville

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