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Castillo de Castril

Castril is located in an area of high strategic value and a key point in the natural communication routes between the Altiplano de Granada, the Alto Guadalquivir and the area of Murcia

By Nick Nutter | Last Updated 22 Jun 2022 | Granada | Places To Go
Castillo de Castril

Castillo de Castril

Castril castle is an excellent example of a border castle in the Muslim period in Spain in which the topography of the place was decisive when choosing their locations. In the early part of the 13th century, the Christians, led by Ferdinand III, advanced into what is now Murcia and parts of northern Andalucia. The Muslims built castles at strategic locations to protect their territory.

Strategic Position of Castril

Castillo de Castril

Castillo de Castril

Castril is located in an area of high strategic value and a key point in the natural communication routes between the Altiplano de Granada, the Alto Guadalquivir and the area of Murcia. During the Muslim period it controlled the Guadiana Menor corridor, the route between Baza and Guadix and the northern parts of al-Andalus. This meant that since the Neolithic it has been inhabited and coveted by successive cultures throughout history. The Romans established a ‘castro’ or camp on the Peña de Castril, chosen for its imposing presence and the almost vertical walls round practically all its perimeter and the impassable canyon of the Castril River below.

Castril Castle

Castillo de Castril

Castillo de Castril

Following the Muslim conquest, the Peña continued is use as a bastion. There may have been improvements to the fortifications during the 9th century and the construction of the castle began in the 11th century during the Almohad period. However, it was the Nazrids that built the structure you see today, in the 13th century.

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First Mention of the Castillo de Castril

Castillo de Castril

Castillo de Castril

The first mention of Castril is by the geographer, Al-Zuhri, who wrote that there is "a flat stone from which enough water flows to move eight mills." In 1165, it is cited in the chronicle of Ibn Sahib al-Salá who was writing about the advance of the Almohad army that from Granada went up via Castril to attack the city of Murcia.

13th Century Fortress

Castillo de Castril

Castillo de Castril

The 13th century fortress is made up of two levels. The top level, the Homage Tower, was the last bastion against an enemy and the living quarters for the aristocracy. The lower level was housing for the defending army and civilians with a fortified wall with watchtowers. In the case of Castril, there may also have been an overflow population in the areas now called Villa Alta and Villa Baja, protected by a lesser wall. The gate through this wall was the current ‘Arco de Villa’.

Castril Castle Abandoned

Pena de Castril

Pena de Castril

Following the final reconquest of the area by the Christians in 1489, the castle continued to be used as a military garrison until 1838, the year in which it seems that it was abandoned as the military garrison was no longer maintained. The castle was then used as a cemetery by the local population of Castril and a source of building stone.

Castril Castle Renovated

The restoration of the castle that was completed in 2013 brought to light the different elements that made up the fortress: the cisterns, the mosque, towers, walls, pipes, paving, walkway, stairs, and the dwellings in the lower level.

Access to Castillo de Castril

Access to the Castillo de Castril is controlled by the Oficina de Tourismo situated alongside the Church of Santa Maria.

For opening times and prices of Castillo de Castril

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