Thursday, February 21, 2013

Castillo de Gibralfaro, Malaga, Spain

The Castillo de Gibralfaro in Malaga was built as a supplement to the alcazaba on the hill overlooking the town. The problem for the alcazaba was that many other hills overlook its hill, thus it was possible in the 14th century to claim the high ground with artillery and attack the alcazaba. So a new military fort was built higher up and has a Coracha, or fortified path, between the Castillo and the alcazaba. It was built in the time of Yusuf I, who also contributed to the Alhambra in Granada.

Malaga Cathedral, alcazaba on the lower hill, castillo on the upper hill

The name "Gibralfaro" is a combination of the Arabic word Yabal (mountain) and the Greek word Faruk (lighthouse). So the location was a strategic outlook for the port of Malaga from very early times.

View of Malaga

View of the harbor

View of the bullring

The rampart walls are quite impressive, with a few defensive towers built in to provide the fine views of (or lines of sight on) the town and port.

J at the fort entrance

View to a tower

Wall walkers

One canon is right by the interior and makes a nice spot for a photo opportunity.

J ready to fire

L ready to ride

One special feature of the castle is the Airon well. It dates back to the Arabic time and is dug 40 meters deep out of solid rock.

Airon Well

View into the well

Other cisterns are placed throughout the fort, including the Octagonal Cistern Well, named for the shape of the housing on top of it.

Octagonal well

Two bakers' ovens are also located in the fort, though sadly they are no longer in use.

Running to the oven

Oven door

Oven interior

Many small turrets are found throughout the fort though we could not understand why. Maybe they were supposed to be sentry posts. J and L used them as snack bars, serving pretend food to Mommy and Daddy.

Sentry Post Snack Pavilion

Less accommodating serving window (can you find J?)

At the lower end of the fort is the original gateway, which is no longer in use, and the Coracha, which is not in use either.

Main gate tower

The gate, large enough for a horse and rider

Courtyard by the gateway

Coracha leading down to the alcazaba

Much of the castle is now given over to gardening and we saw some rather spectacular plants.

Lots of trees just outside the fort

Delicate flowers inside the fort

A small pool, not for swimming

J in the large tree

In the middle of the fort is the old powder magazine building which is now an interpretive museum. Our visit in there will be the next post!

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