Alcalá la Real is a beautiful town in the Andalusian province of Jaén. It is located in a strategic area, as it borders the provinces of Granada and Córdoba, and one of the most beautiful castles in the region awaits you: the Fortress of La Mota.
The Fortress of La Mota de Alcalá la Real
The monumental complex of the Fortress of La Mota is the oldest area of this population. It is a walled city that served as a border area during the time of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. It consists of two different parts: on one side, the defensive area, and on the other, the residential area that developed during the 14th to 18th centuries.
Within its walls we find many elements that are worth visiting and admiring. An interpretation center that will show us what life was like in this border town, always threatened and at war.
Access doors and galleries
To access the fortress, you had to go through several gates located in the wall. Thus, the door of the Image and that of the Lanzas stand out, which led to the residential area. But there were also a series of passageways and galleries drilled in the same rock and that allowed the entry and exit of its inhabitants.
It was the proper defensive zone. Located in the highest area, it has a triangular design to adapt to the spur of the hill. It has three towers linked by walls and in the center is a small square, the parade ground.
Its towers of La Mocha, La Campana and del Homenaje can be visited, after having been restored. Its origin is Islamic and, therefore, you can still see some entry doors in a bend with horseshoe arches. But with the conquest of the area by the Christian troops it underwent a series of reforms that left decorative elements in the Gothic and Mudejar style.
In addition, the citadel has an area of cisterns that allowed to store rainwater for the supply of the troops and the population in case of siege to the fortress.
The residential area and the Main Abbey Church
Next to the citadel, numerous houses began to be built for the population of Alcalá la Real. This population would go to pray at the aljama mosque. But with the arrival of the Christians, a church was built on the site of the latter that little by little became the Main Church of the town.
Its construction is due to various architects, including Ginés Martínez de Aranda and Ambrosio de Vico. The latter was the creator of the so-called Vico Platform, the first known plane of the city of Granada. It was built between 1517 and 1627 and is a mixture of styles. Thus, in it we find a Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerist and classical part.
The jail tower
It is a tower that has had to be restored almost from its foundations. Of caliphal origin, King Alfonso XI rebuilds it, becoming one of the most imposing elements of the fortress. Divided into three levels, the most striking feature of it are the beautiful brick vaults that cover its three rooms. Under it there is a water catchment mine.
The church of Santo Domingo de Silos
In the vicinity of the fortress is this church, built after the conquest of the city of Alcalá la Real in 1341. Composed of two naves and a chevet, its Gothic-style ribbed vault stands out, which covers the area of the main altar.
It had an altarpiece in which some of the members of the Raxis family of Italian origin participated, whose greatest exponent was Pablo de Rojas, one of the best sculptors of the Spanish 16th century. Today it can be seen in the church of Las Angustias. The complex is complemented by a sacristy and a tower in which the shield of the Abbot Maximiliano of Austria is found.
The historic center of Alcalá la Real
The population grew and expanded beyond the walled area of La Mota. The Plaza del Arcipreste de Hita and its surroundings are another of the spaces that you cannot miss in Alcalá la Real. There you can visit the fish market, the Town Hall, the Capuchin convent, Calle Real and the Rosario convent.