Aljafería Castle

Aljafería Castle
Aljafería Castle

This palatial fortress of Muslim origin is located in the Spanish city of Zaragoza, and was built during the second half from the 11th century, when this city was called Sarakusta and was the capital of one of the many Taifa kingdoms that made up the peninsular territories dominated by Muslim monarchs.

The Aljaferia of Zaragoza

The Aljafería of Zaragoza

However, when King Alfonso I el Batallador conquered the city in 1118, the castle became a Christian palace, and from then on countless changes took place, reforms, reconstructions and extensions in its original architecture. For example, in the 14th century during the reign of Pedro IV several chapels were built inside. Later, in the times of the Catholic Monarchs, despite the fact that they never lived there, they had a whole new palace built inside it, in which pompous halls abound.

Even later, at the end of the 16th century, by order of Philip II its defensive elements and its appearance of strength were increased. And the historical transformations do not end here as it has been the seat of the Court of the Inquisition, prison or quartering of the French troops during the War of Independence.

The fact is that from his original appearance to his current appearance he has changed greatly, but forfortune after a long period of ruin, today it is restored with the criterion that its long history and its amalgamation of architectural styles are understandable.

However, its extraordinary artistic value lies in the recovered remains of Muslim architecture. The sultan of the Hudi dynasty who had it built was Abu Jafar ibn Suleyman, hence the name "al-jafariyya", whose evolution turned it into Aljafería. Although that same king himself called his castle "Palace of Joy", due to the beauty of a construction with which he intended to impress the ambassadors and rulers he received in his rooms.

The oldest part of the castle is the Troubadour's Tower. A defensive tower with a square floor plan and five stories high, whose origins date back to before the construction of La Aljafería, specifically towards the end of the 9th century, in times of Cordovan Caliphate. And at that time it was just a defensive and watchtower, which was later used and integrated into the new palace.

That Islamic palace had a rectangular plan, surrounded by walls and semicircular towers. And the access was through a large horseshoe arch. Inside, a beautiful patio with a garden organized the distribution of rooms. And there is also a small oratory facing Mecca. From all this, the arcades have been rebuilt and many of the ornamental atauriques have been recovered that undoubtedly recall the artistic forms of the site of MedinaAzahara, in the province of Cordoba. Where is also the Mosque of Córdoba, whose construction predates La Aljafería, but whose artistic influence reached certain elements of the Islamic civil architecture of the Reinos de Taifas, among which one one of the most splendid monuments is La Aljafería de Zaragoza.

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