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Old January 10th, 2014, 03:10 PM   #101
Nolke
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Among muslim castles, I've made so far comments about the tactical military ones (Burgalimar in Baños de la Encina) and fortified palaces (often vulgarly known as alcázares, although the one posted, the Aljafería in Zaragoza, isn't called that way). There's a third type of muslim castle in the country, called alcazabas in Spain, but which in English have a more widely known name: kasbahs, muslim citadels.

The difference between alcazabas (kasbahs) and alcázares (fortified palaces) isn't very clear. Alcazabas are usually associated with fortresses meant to defend a city in which the local governor may be stablished, in a kind of "palace" or little administrative city, within the walls. However, if that palace happened to be too sumptuous and thought for more important people, it would become a fortified palace (an alcázar). So, in some cities in which these urban military fortresses and royal palaces shared the very same fortified complex, a distinction between the alcazaba and the alcázar part is made; that's the case today in the Alhambra in Granada, as it used to be in the complex of the Alcázar of Seville (where the alcazaba has been lost).

But, according to convention, that wouldn't be the case of the Alcazaba of Málaga, on top of a hill near the sea (originally it was bordering it, the shoreline has shifted away).



[IMG]http://oi44.************/21dqwko.jpg[/IMG]
http://www.cti.uma.es/index.php?opti...&limitstart=20


[IMG]http://oi40.************/21l5r8z.jpg[/IMG]
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ca...of_M%C3%A1laga

This is a complex one (really complicated, I've been preparing this particular post for weeks [not full time, obviously]). The first fortress here seems to date back to Phoenician times (8th century b.C.), and apparently it was altered a little bit in every historical period since then, so imagine... However, the most essential structures date back to the muslim period (11th c., with important renovation during the 13th-14th c.).

This is a cool picture about how muslim Malaga looked. Several things to notice:


http://www.malagahistoria.com/malaga...alaga1487.html

1) the walls reached the shoreline, but those walls in particular don't stand anymore, just like the city walls. However, that doesn't prevent the castle from still having a double, or at some sections triple, perimeter of walls.

2) you can see in the drawing (or in the previous photo) that on the next, taller, hill there's another castle (labeled as "castillo de Gibralfaro"). That's a military castle built in the 14th c.

Why building a castle next to another? Apparently because, with the appearance of artillery, that taller hill could be easily used to fire on the lower one in which the alcazaba was located.

Now, you can see that between the two fortresses there're two parallel walls creating a corridor: that's a solution called coracha which, from what I've read, only exists in Spain and was mostly applied by hispano-muslims. A coracha may have several purpose but two are most usual: connecting two nearby castles (or a castle to an isolated albarrana tower, about which I'll speak in another time), like in this case, and connecting a castle to a source of water.

[IMG]http://oi44.************/1zgtirk.jpg[/IMG]
Bing Maps

So let's now try to figure out the internal structure of the alcazaba with an aerial picture.

As you can see, out of the several enclosures left by the various perimeters of walls, only the inner, upper, one has "buildings" within. In fact, it looks like a small city... Not surprisingly, during the centuries following the Christian conquest (Málaga was part of the kingdom of Granada, so it wasn't conquered by the Castilians until the end of the 15th c.) the alcazaba became a "regular" (rather lowly) neighborhood. However, it was originally the seat of the local governor (or the local king, when Malaga was the capital of its own small taifa kingdom). So, basically, much of the restoration of the palace during the early 20th c. consisted in uncovering the remains left within the walls of humble houses (other parts had to be reconstructed).

[IMG]http://oi41.************/nybamf.jpg[/IMG]
Bing Maps

There's one more cool thing about this most internal perimeter: it has a big-ass tower (on the top right corner, partly ruined). That's a keep, which muslim castles previously didn't have as they had evolved directly from ancient forts (like Roman ones) that only had walls and flanking towers (i.e. an enclosure). Keeps are distinctive of European medieval military architecture. Apparently, this one was built during the 14th c. and is one of the examples of how Spanish muslim castles were also influenced by ideas coming from the north.


Let's now take a figurative walk through the castle. These are the outer walls. You can see there's a mix of materials: here you can see stones (but not ashlars) with rows of bricks. In other parts there's also mud (tapial).


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ca...of_M%C3%A1laga


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ca...of_M%C3%A1laga

The reason why at some sector there're three lines of walls insted of two is that the pathway that leads from the entrance at the bottom of the hill to the fortress is also walled. So the way up from the city to the castle itself is a walled corridor in which gates succeed one another.

With this plan you can see it more clearly:

http://www.andalucia.com/cities/malaga/alcazaba.htm

[IMG]http://oi44.************/9jhgs8.jpg[/IMG]
http://www.fuenterrebollo.com/Herald...a-Jaen/Malaga/


http://www.foroxerbar.com/viewtopic.php?t=12448

Those are Roman columns at the door posts. You may have already noticed the presence of an old Roman theater at the feet of the castle in some pictures, these come from there.


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ca...of_M%C3%A1laga

Finally, after going under one of those arches, we reach a level ground inside the first perimeter of walls, where there're gardens. This is the place where artillery weapons aiming at the sea where placed in past centuries. From here we can enter the inner perimeter (palatial area) through another gate, but that's for another post...


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ca...of_M%C3%A1laga
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Old January 11th, 2014, 10:21 AM   #102
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So we go on with the visit of the alcazaba in Malaga, going past the inner walls:
image hosted on flickr

From Flickr by AlbToxto
http://www.flickr.com/photos/albtotx...n/photostream/

The palatial remains are divided in three parts:

1) the rests of the first palace built in the 11th c. as a taifa royal palace (that means, a palace for the king of Malaga when the city was the capital of its own little independent kingdom). These ones appeared within the walls of the constructions existing here before the renovation of the 1930s. These arches remind caliphal decoration in some buildings of Cordoba.



http://www.deviajeporespana.com/hist...aba-de-malaga/


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alcazaba_1.JPG


http://sancho.alkar.info/archivos/20...parte-segunda/

Some rests, like these typically Nasrid capitals, are more recent though.


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...a-IMG_2869.jpg


2) the rests of the Nasrid palace of the 13th-14th c, built when the city belonged to the kingdom of Granada. In this case, they were only able to figure out the plan of the palace. From that plan, and taking other Nasrid buildings as models (the most known of which is undoubtedly the Alhambra), they invented this reconstruction, which has no real historical value.

[IMG]http://oi42.************/2qvfm14.jpg[/IMG]
http://www2.malaga.eu/recursos/malag...aba/index.html

3) a small neighborhood with houses for servants whose general structure would date back to the times of the taifa palace. The current buildings were also rebuilt in the 1930s, so they're another invention though, but they aren't open to public anyway. They're here, just next to that ruined tower in the background, which is the keep.

[IMG]http://oi44.************/2wfkzl2.jpg[/IMG]
http://www2.malaga.eu/recursos/malag...aba/index.html
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Old January 11th, 2014, 12:13 PM   #103
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Back to Castile and its late noble-family residential castles. The castle in Valencia de Don Juan (León), also known as Coyanza, was built in the 15th c. This one isn't as well preserved as others.




From Panoramio by CerrotoreCospeto
https://ssl.panoramio.com/photo/72443768

It was built (on the site of a previous military castle) near the banks of the Esla river by noblemen, descendants of the Portuguese royal family, who had been granted with these lands in the 14th c (see the pattern again?). They sided with the wrong candidate in the war for Castilian succesion, so the castle was sieged and damaged by the end of the 15th c. That's not the reason why the castle is ruined though (it was reconstructed after that), it just got abandoned in the 16th c.

The remains are essentially the keep (well preserved, just missing one side wall) and a small section of the walled perimeter. The keep's cool but looks like so many others in Castile built in the same period (soon I'll make a post about the so-called "School of Valladolid" type of castles). The walls are more unique though: instead of proper flank towers, it has that sort of bastions with those little towers on top of the battlements (that make it look very tall) that feature carved coats of arms. It has an outer wall too.


From Panoramio by LGMLeo23
https://ssl.panoramio.com/photo/87087971


From minube.com by AdrianMelon
http://www.minube.com/fotos/rincon/48611/7600638


http://www.aytovalenciadedonjuan.org...astillo_03.jpg

As you can see, there's nothing remaining of the inner structure.


http://blogliterarioyfotografico.blo...e-coyanza.html
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Old January 13th, 2014, 05:39 PM   #104
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As I said before, nobility castles in Castile weren't as abundant as in the rest of Western Europe (or as in Northernmost regions in present-day Spain for that matter, but lordships over there were small and so were their castles), at least prior to the 14th c.

One of the greatest exceptions was the lordship of Molina de Aragón, with an impressive castle built along the 12th-13th c on top of a previous Moorish one. The arguable part is whether this was a part of the Castilian crown or not: it would end up being a part of the kingdom, and it had been settled and was ruled by Castilians, but in the beginning it made up some kind of independent state between Castile and Aragon, as both of these kingdoms claimed the land was theirs. So this lordship's independence was part of the solution given to that conflict. However, this particular lordship was of a peculiar type existing in Spain: one in which people freely elected their own lord (a system called behetría).



The castle's one of the biggest in Spain by surface, mostly because it has a huge bailey (albacara in Spanish): the enclosure that spans the slope of the hill.

image hosted on flickr

From Flickr by JRA3


http://www.turismocastillalamancha.e...n-7064/visita/

image hosted on flickr

From Flickr by Nuazga
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nuazga/...n/photostream/

Just like in the case of the alcazaba in Málaga, there's another castle nearby (also on a taller hill) called Torre de Aragón (which is just a watchtower with a curtain wall). And, just like in that case in Málaga, both castles were connected by a coracha, although in Molina de Aragón it's a subterranean passage rather than a walled corridor.

[IMG][IMG]http://oi44.************/2ekopit.jpg[/IMG][/IMG]


http://www.jdiezarnal.com/castillodemolina.html

The domestic part of the castle was the internal perimeter of the main fortress, with that bunch of tall towers, with gothic arches as balconies, connected by walls that enclose an inner ward. Only about half of the original towers have reached our days.


http://www.virgendelahoz.com/


http://www.jdiezarnal.com/castillodemolina.html


From minube.com by McMuseo
http://www.minube.com/fotos/rincon/71806/3441981


http://www.tierramolinesa.es/2013/felices-fiestas/

image hosted on flickr

From Flickr by maratoniano
http://www.flickr.com/photos/2446286...n/photostream/
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Old January 13th, 2014, 07:06 PM   #105
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Galicia was among the Spanish regions that lived something close to the classic idea of feudalism. So lords' castles must have been abundant over there during the middle ages. The problem is that the system's brutality resulted in a revolt of peasants in the 15 th c. (the Irmandiño wars) during which many (maybe most) of those castles were destroyed (after that, the royal will of re-centralizating the power led to the prohibition of rebuilding the destroyed castles).

So the castle of Pambre, built in the 14th c., is some kind of survivor.




http://www.castillos-de-espana.com/d...?image_id=4278

Galician castles have distinctive features that remind, not surprisingly, the castles in Northern Portugal. In the first place, like most of noble buildings in Galicia, they're built with gray granite stone (very abundant in the region). Another similarity is the triangular shape of merlons (triangular isn't pyramidal, so don't confuse these with the merlons used by muslims, and later copied by Christians, in the south). And of course there's the verdant Atlantic landscape.


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi...ambre_-_02.jpg


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi..._de_Pambre.jpg

The castle consists of a keep, with a square ground plan, closely surrounded by a first wall with a lower tower in each corner. Then there's an outer wall, enclosing an inner ward. Among the most interesting things about this castle is that the buildings in the ward are preserved: that includes a chapel, a granary (an elevated one, typical from the region, called hórreo), some dwellings...


From minube.com by Camiño dos Sabores
http://www.minube.com/fotos/rincon/103293/4214651


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi..._de_Pambre.JPG


http://unpaseounafoto.blogspot.com.e...1_archive.html

You can see the coat of arms of the Ulloa family (owners of the castle) over the door.


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi...535726836).jpg


http://www.pantagruelsupongo.com/200...1_archive.html
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Old January 13th, 2014, 07:27 PM   #106
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Very informative and beautiful pics. . Some castles are so flawless :d
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Old January 14th, 2014, 03:45 PM   #107
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Thank you dragonza!

The castle of Bellver overlooks Palma de Mallorca. It was built in the 14th c for the king of Majorca.




http://www.abc.es/fotos-viajar/20130...025188220.html


Majorca had been conquered to the muslims in the 13th c by the crown of Aragon, but the king that carried out this conquest divided his realms between two of his sons: one got the Balearic Islands and several possesions in what's today Southern France; the other got the crown's dominions in today's mainland Spain. So Palma was once, for more than a century before it was reincorporated into the Aragonese crown, a royal capital.

For that reason, this is another palatial-castle. There's nothing more indicative of that kind of castles than an arcade courtyard: in this case there's a great one.

Apparently, it used to have battlements but it has lost them.


http://living-in-stuttgart.com/2013/...de-mallorca-i/

As you've seen, this is a unique castle, mostly because of its circular ground plan and its concentric design: in the center of the first circle, the courtyard, there's a well; then come the arcades, the central building, the walls with its flank towers and finally a double moat.


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi...ll_bellver.jpg

[IMG]http://oi41.************/zml2ro.jpg[/IMG]
www.castillosdeespaña.es

The keep, also with round shape, stands aside though. It's connected to the main building by a bridge.


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi...on_bellver.jpg


From minube.com by Manuel Gomez Casillas
http://www.minube.com/fotos/rincon/4345/7622969

But the most beautiful part of the castle is of course its circular gothic courtyard.

image hosted on flickr

From Flickr by Juan Antonio Carpó
http://www.flickr.com/photos/juan-an...7623332462448/


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi...llorca_152.JPG


http://www.mallorca-backstage.com/30...rg-von-bellver

A close view of the internal moat.


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi...llorca_132.JPG
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Old January 15th, 2014, 01:47 PM   #108
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The current look of the castle in Peñafiel, one of the most iconic in Spain, dates back to a renovation in the 15th c, commissioned by the master of the military order of Calatrava.

However, you can notice that this one doesn't look like other palatial castles built by noblemen during that century in Castile. To begin with it's located on the very top of a rock, not next to a town on a plain, as in Coca or Guadamur.




[IMG]http://oi40.************/2mrbnz7.jpg[/IMG]
http://www.turismopenafiel.com/multi...g=es&p=1&pag=5

[IMG]http://oi41.************/160o4es.jpg[/IMG]
http://www.bodegastrus.com/es/enotur...ncial-del-vino

That's because it was built on top of a former military castle that dated back to the 9th c. (when the plains of the Douro basin were disputed between the incipient Christian states and the organized armies of the powerful Caliphate of Cordoba, who carried out raids in their distant Northern borderlands in order to control the advance of the Christians and also to obtain slaves). But that doesn't mean that the castle's renovation had an urgent defensive purpose, they just wanted to take advantage of a previous fortress that happened to be located there.

If you have read all these long boring explanations I've been writing, you may already know something about dominant typologies. Anyway, here is a simplified summary for Castilian castles:

-Type 1: older, military, sober, located on high positions, bigger ground plans that adapt to topography, in bad shape
-Type 2: newer, residential, sumptuous, located on plains, smaller ground plan with geometrical design, in much better shape.

So as a consequence of being a renovated older castle, Peñafiel is a type 2 (i.e. good looking) but on high and with a big and elongated ground plan (i.e. very visible). And that's a unique combination...


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi...valladolid.jpg

The elongated (it's more than 200 meters long), pointy ground plan shape and the massive look of the castle makes it look like a ship, and that's how it's called: el buque or el barco de Castilla. Can you see the poop and the prow?


From Panoramio by melgar
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/21581278

This one is a good example of a type of late Castilian castles, those of the school of Valladolid. Those castles have, like this one, a proportionally huge and massive keep and a lot of corbelled machicolations and turrets on the battlements despite the fact that their defensive design is overall mediocre. They're usually, but not necessarily, built in limestone.

However, Peñafiel is atypical within the group because of the location and ground plan shape thing.


http://fvelax.blogspot.com.es/2013/0...-mas-fiel.html

Behind the walls, out of the two wards, one is empty and the other hosts a museum of wine (this is a wine-producing region).


From Panoramio by Joaquín Vila
http://static.panoramio.com/photos/large/14883404.jpg


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi...re_central.jpg


http://www.lugaresymas.com/noticia/5...la-y-Leon.html

image hosted on flickr

From Flickr by Pablo Sánchez
http://www.flickr.com/photos/pablosa...n/photostream/
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Old January 15th, 2014, 02:26 PM   #109
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Back to the 11th c., the kingdom of Pamplona was trying to penetrate in the Ebro valley, dominanted by the muslims of the taifa kingdom of Zaragoza, from the Pyrenees. The Abizanda castle was part of the defensive system they organized.




From Panoramio by Miguel Maza
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/6334389

This used to be a proper castle, with walls and stuff, but there isn't much left, just the tower...


http://www.redaragon.com/m/pueblos/p...blacion_ID=280

It's however a great tower erected by Lombard builders, 24 metres tall, with romanesque windows. It has a hoard at the top (restored, obviously), which among the remains of Spanish castles is something rare.


http://www.romanicoaragones.com/fort...-Abizanda1.htm
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Old July 7th, 2014, 05:49 AM   #110
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Bellver Castle, Palma, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain


00_IMG_3747_sm por incisio!, en Flickr


01_IMG_3765_sm por incisio!, en Flickr


02_IMG_3752_sm por incisio!, en Flickr


03_IMG_3768_sm por incisio!, en Flickr


17_IMG_3780_sm por incisio!, en Flickr
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Old July 7th, 2014, 05:49 AM   #111
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Bellver Castle, Palma, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain


04_IMG_3778_sm por incisio!, en Flickr


05_IMG_3785_sm por incisio!, en Flickr


06_IMG_3783_sm por incisio!, en Flickr


13_IMG_3826_sm por incisio!, en Flickr
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Old July 7th, 2014, 05:50 AM   #112
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Bellver Castle, Palma, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain


12_IMG_3840_sm por incisio!, en Flickr


15_IMG_3843_sm por incisio!, en Flickr


16_IMG_3857_sm por incisio!, en Flickr
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Old July 7th, 2014, 06:05 AM   #113
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Bellver Castle, Palma, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain


07_IMG_3792_sm por incisio!, en Flickr


11_IMG_3820_sm por incisio!, en Flickr


09_IMG_3809_sm por incisio!, en Flickr


08_IMG_3799_sm por incisio!, en Flickr
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