Matrera Castle in Villamartín, Cadiz

This time it’s some ruins that have captured our attention, and I have to say, the path to reach them is long and steep! The journey takes a little over two hours, up hill!

The Castle, whose tower is in ruins, can be seen from several kilometers away in all directions. It was the scene of multiple battles in the Christians´ efforts to conquer the Moors. It was part of an ample defensive belt for the Nazari Kingdom of Granada against the Crown of Castile and it changed hands several times as the centuries and battles came and went.

What is shown in the picture is what is left of the Tower of Homage, which sits on the esplanade of what was once the proud Matrera Castle,  on Mount Pajarete. Today many know it as the Tower of Pajarete.

It’s an original construction from the 9th century, and it was built by Omar ibn Hafsún to defend Iptuci, the most advanced city of the Cora of Ronda (“cora”, which was a territorial demarcation during the Moorish occupation of the Iberian Peninsula). In any case, Mount Pajarete was a location of human settlement since ancient times. 

In the 13th century, it was conquered and subsequently rebuilt by Saint Ferdinand. However, in the beginning of the 14th century, it was returned to Muslim hands, and then finally re-conquered by Alfonso XI in 1341. Yet, because it was situated squarely on the Moorish border, the Muslims of Granada besieged it in 1408 and in 1445.

The castle is comprised of spacious grounds that are surrounded by a wall with a more than 500 meter perimeter that encloses the Parade Ground, which is accessed through the Puerta del Sol from the east and the Puerta de los Carros from the west, both of which are flanked with towers. Along the wall there are several towers, but the Homage Tower to the north stands out among them all. 

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