Castillo de Gibralfaro
Castle in Málaga
The Castillo de Gibralfaro or Gibralfaro Castle is a 8th century Moorish palace, located on Gibralfaro hill, overlooking Málaga city, in Andalucia, Spain. Like the Alcazaba this hilltop fortress looms above the city. Its main purpose was to defend the Alcazaba and the city of Malaga. Nothing much is original in the castle’s interior, but the protective walkway around the ramparts affords superb views over Málaga and on clear days it’s even possible to see the Straits of Gibraltar. The castle has been mostly restored and also features a military museum, which includes a small scale model of the entire castle complex and the lower residence, the Alcazaba.
History of the Castillo de Gibralfaro
It was a Phoenician enclosure and lighthouse before the Romans came, and is where its name came from, Gibralfaro means ‘mountain of light’ in Arabic and Greek. The structure was built over in 929AD by Abd-al-Rahman III, the Caliph of Cordoba and it was further enlarged by Yusef 1, Sultan of Granada, at the beginning of the 14th century, he adding the double wall down to the Alcazaba. At that time it was an important structure as Málaga was the main port for the emirate of Granada. The castle originally acted as a lighthouse and military barracks.
The castle is renowned for a three month siege in 1487 by Catholic monarchs which came to a close with the surrender of the famished Malagueños .
What does the Castillo de Gibralfaro look like?
The layout of the walls of the castle are very irregular, as is the Alcazaba. The castle had a second Barbican wall which was called the Coracha, and it connected the Alcazaba with Gibralfaro.
The large U-shaped Albarrana tower is known as Torre Blanca or White Tower rises above the northwestern area of the walled enclosure. It is located outside the walled enclosure but attached to it by an added fortification. It was built to protect the barbican.
The main Castle is divided into two parts:
The lower part, or parade ground, contained the barracks for the troops and the stables.
The upper part is called the main patio and it is where the Torre Mayor or Main Tower is located. The Torre Mayor is a 17 meters high, autonomous fortified element with its own water supply, stores and homes. This section also contains the Phoenician well and the baths. The Airón well is dug in live rock and has a depth of 40 meters.
How to get to the Castillo de Gibralfaro
It can be reached by bus or foot, but it is well-worth making the step climb to enjoy the scenic view over the city. Additionally you can get to Gibralfaro via the attractive walkway of Paseo Don Juan de Temboury, located to the south of the Alcazaba. From here a path winds pleasantly (and steeply) through lushly gardened terraces with viewpoints over the city. You can drive up the Camino de Gibralfaro or take bus 35 from Avenida de Cervantes.
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