By John Ensor •
Published: 21 Jul 2023 • 12:28
A castle that is widely held to be the best preserved throughout all of Europe is ‘hidden’ in Andalucia.
Despite being a hugely impressive castle, and one of the most beautiful in Europe, this Andalucian legacy remains largely forgotten in Spain, according to Ok Diario, Friday, July 21.
According to statistics from the Spanish Association of Friends of Castles there are around 10,000 castles in Spain. Although many believe that the true figure may be in excess of 20,000.
The majority of them are located in the autonomous regions of Aragon, Andalusia, Castile and Leon, Catalonia and Castile-La Mancha.
Some of the more well-known ones include Butrón Castle, in the northern Basque Country, and Ponferrada Castle in Castile and León. However, there are others that very few people know about, and one of the best examples exists in Andalucia.
Burgalimar Castle is located in the town of Baños de la Encina, a 40-minute drive from Jaén. It also holds the prestigious title of being the oldest fortress in Spain. Experts agree that a visit is well recommended, it has very characteristic architecture, adapted to the geography of the terrain. The fortress has two entrances, a 15th-century keep, 14 rectangular towers and a parade ground.
It is one of the best-preserved fortresses in Europe and, as it is built on a hill, the views it offers of the surrounding countryside are described as spectacular.
The castle dates back to 968, when it was built by order of Al-Hakam II, son and successor of Abderramán III. It had a very advanced military architecture for the time, as it was completely surrounded by watchtowers and walls to protect the fortress from possible attacks. In the Muslim period, it played a very important role in the defence of the area and witnessed numerous battles.
During the Reconquest of Spain, the castle was taken in the mid-12th century by Alfonso VII. He was succeeded by Alfonso VIII, Alfonso IX, Pedro II, Sancho VII, Fernando III and Fernando the Catholic, all of whom took up residence there. Hence the nickname ‘Castle of the Seven Kings.’
Burgalimar Castle can be visited alone, although it is advisable to take a guided tour organised by the Baños de la Encina tourist office. The price ranges between €2 and €4.50, with admission free for children under the age of six.
It is currently listed as a National Historic-Artistic Monument (1931) and forms part of the General Catalogue of Andalusian Historical Heritage.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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