Gibralfaro Castle – A Medieval Fortress in Malaga, Spain

by Arūnas
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Gibralfaro Castle: A Moorish fortress in Málaga, Spain

The Gibralfaro Castle (Spanish: Castillo de Gibralfaro) is one of the oldest remaining Moorish castles standing in Spain today. The solid ramparts rising above the pines are the most visible remains of the fortress. It is an architectural masterpiece of the last Moorish Muslim dynasty in the Iberian Peninsula, ruling the Emirate of Granada in the 13th–15th century, and listed as a Cultural Interest Site.

Five historical facts about the castle:

  • In 770 BC, the ancient Phoenicians built an enclosure and lighthouse on this hill, where the castle now stands.
  • Abd-al-Rahman III, Caliph of Cordoba, build the castle in 929 BC.
  • It was enlarged and turned into a fortress in 1340 by Yusef 1, Sultan of Granada.
  • The Catholic Monarchs, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, besieged the castle in 1487 and made it their temporary residence after the victory.
  • In 1494, King Ferdinand choose the castle for the coat of arms they gave the city.

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Gibralfaro Castle Architecture


The castle, built using brick and earth, occupies an area of ​​over 21,000 square meters (5.2 acres) and has an irregular-shaped floor plan. It consists of two lines of strong walls measuring 730 meters (2400 feet), 30 canvases, and 8 towers, mostly massive.

The Main Tower (Torre Mayor), with a height of 17 meters (56 feet), and the White Tower (Torre Blanca), facing the Northeast, are the most visible. Another remarkable feature is the Airón well, excavated through solid rock and goes down around 40 meters (131 feet). On the parade ground are the troop barracks and stables.

The Gibralfaro Castle Interpretation Center (you will find it near the entrance) is housed in the former gunpowder arsenal of the castle. Here is a small one-room museum that depicts the castle’s history over the centuries, and contains various military paraphernalia explaining about daily life of soldiers in the fortress.

The Gibralfaro Castle is one of the most visited monuments in Malaga not just for its cultural value, but also for its great location – from the fortress, you can enjoy some outstanding views of the city and its surroundings, sometimes even see Morocco when the conditions are right.

Address: Camino de Gibralfaro, 11, 29016 Malaga

Official website: Alcazaba y Castillo de Gibralfaro


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