Castillo de La Calahorra (Spain)
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The Castle of Calahorra is one of those places from which its vision from afar awakens in us a great interest.
In the region of Guadix, framed in a particular landscape, and on top of a hill, stands this fortress, dyed red and black due to the dust coming from the mines of Alquife, only 5 kilometers away. From the citadel built more than 500 years ago, the vast lands of the Marquesado del Zenete, a border area with the Sierra Nevada and the Sierra de Baza, are dominated.
The Calahorra Castle was built on an old Arab fortress. It is given as the "official" date of the beginning of the construction of 1509, being the owner, Mr. Rodrigo Díaz De Vivar and Mendoza (Marqués del Zenete), but there are historical documents that indicate that Cardinal Pedro González de Mendoza, began the works in summer of 1491. In the following spring, the prelate left the territory and donated it to his son Rodrigo. From 1492 to 1508, the works of the castle continued to be carried out, in which Valencian artists and artisans had great relevance.
The most studied and written stage about its construction, is undoubtedly the one that covers from 1509 to 1512. The main architects of the construction that we can visit today are Lorenzo Vazquez from Segovia and Michele Carlone, a Genoese architect brought to Spain by the Marquis of Zenete and who replaced the Spanish architect.
Once the castle of Calahorra was completed in 1513, it was immediately fortified, and it was not until two years later, when Rodrigo de Mendoza and his family settled in this palace-fortress, having previously spent some time in the house Grenadine de la Tiña, also owned by her. The marquis had to mobilize all his court seigniorial, composed of fifty old Christians, where were the cooks, servants, pages, soldiers, ladies, doormen of cameras, ...
The Castle of Calahorra is presented to us as a fortress, it has a rectangular ground plan, with four towers at the corners, a central courtyard and two floors of elevation. We may seem at first glance a medieval anachronism, but if we stop for a moment we realize that it is Renaissance, because its bastions are circular and not square as it was in the Middle Ages.
The walls of this fortress are made of ashlars made of local stone, with few holes. Three on the top floor.
Its only access door to the interior, is located in the northeast corner and maintains the original materials. It is small in size, with a half-point arch in adovelado, and on it is placed the coat of arms of Fonseca, (second wife of Don Rodrigo), the arms of the Mendoza family and some lily flowers that refer to the Duke of Medinaceli. On the cover is the following inscription in Latin: «This fortress was made for the guardians of the knights whom the kings wanted to denounce»
Passed the door, a small open vestibule gives access to the room of guard, rectangular stay, covered with vault of edge, in which a small staircase leads to the "cortile" (open patio and porticado). This patio that centers the building is of two floors, it has double gallery of arcades, beautiful balustrades of Carrara marble and an artistic staircase.