Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Castillo Almodóvar

We’re into Semana Santa (Holy Week), so Scott has the week off work (although Tonya’s working a lot at the glass studio in Montilla). In addition to all of the Semana Santa processions, this creates opportunities to see some of the things we’ve never visited around Córdoba. Our good friend Lola offered to drive us out to Castillo Almodóvar, a very well-preserved castle out west of Córdoba along the old road to Sevilla. You can see the pictures at


The Castillo Almodóvar is on a hill overlooking the picturesque pueblo of Almodóvar del Río, and offers a commanding view of this part of the Guadalquivir valley. The name comes from the Arabic al-Mudawwar, which means “the round”, referring to the round shape of the hill. There have been fortresses on this hill since Iberian (pre-Roman) times. It went through many reconstructions, by the Romans, then the Arabs, and later the Spaniards following the Reconquista. The castle was considered unconquerable, and was never taken by siege; as a matter of fact it held out for three years following the reconquista of Córdoba around AD 1240, and was finally ceded to the Spaniards as a part of the peace treaty.

When we use the term “well-preserved” for a medieval structure, it means that it’s been restored. The fact is that buildings don’t stand for hundreds of years without some sort of maintenance. After Fernando and Ysabel took Granada and unified Spain, the castillo lost its strategic importance as a strongpoint against the Muslims. In the 1600’s, it was sold to the Corral family. The conde de Torralva, one of the heirs of the family, undertook the restoration of the castillo in the early 1900’s. The reconstruction was performed with great attention to maintaining the appearance of the medieval castillo, and the result is one of the best-preserved fortresses in Europe.

No comments: