DATE : 13th-14th century
Historic and Artistic National Monument
This Arabic fortress was rebuilt in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and today its austere facade remains to remind us why it was built – to guarantee the town’s safety.
It has a fortified wall, with several square towers, and one circular. At the main entrance, there is a passage with two horseshoe arches framed by a frieze, with a gateway and a channel to allow the raising and lowering of a portcullis. Until a few decades ago, the arms of the House of Aguilar were displayed above this entrance.
The keep has been a national historic monument since 1943: set to one side of the main square, it is thirty metres tall – although today, some of that height is buried underground. It is square in shape, on three storeys with vaulted ceilings: the lower one was used originally as a well, filled with rainwater from the roof via a network of clay pipes; the middle floor was used as a store, and the upper floor was the living quarters, embellished by four double-arched horseshoe windows, and a pillar crowned by a Mozarabic design.
This tower – also called the great tower – has been dated from the second half of the thirteenth century, when the town was a dependency of the Order of Calatrava, although the presence of Arabic designs above the window openings gives weight to the opinion that it may have been built during the first half of the fourteenth century, when Priego returned to Islamic rule.