La Calahorra Castle

La Calahorra Castle-Palace is one of the most important Works of the firs Spanish Renaissance. La Calahorra Castle was constructed on the remains of a preceding fortification of the Medieval period dating from the beginning of the 16th century, probably between 1509 and 1512, and two arhitects mainly participated in the construction, the Castilian Lorenzo Vazquez and the Italian Michelle Carlone.

La Calahorra Castle is a singular building not only for its aspect and location, which make La Calahorra Castle the most characteristic element in the landscape of El Marquesado, but also for the originality of La Calahorra Castle's conception and execution. Two different constructive and stylistic trends coincide in La Calahorra Castle, the Castilian defensive architecture and the purest Renaissance. The result at La Calahorra Castle is a fortress on the outside aspect and an exquisite and intimate palace on the inside, constructed using basically the stoen (limestone and for the balustrade and higher colonnade of the yaard, marble of Carrara) besides the brick and the mortar for some floorings and wallings up and the wood spledidly carved for the covering of the noblest living rooms.

The central yard of La Calahorra Castle organizes the design of the inner space. This yard is what we can consider the Renaissance work of the construction of La Calahorra Castle. Surrounded by a double gallery with arches that support the coat of arms of Los Mendoza and Los Foseca in La Calahorra Castle. The palace living rooms are designed round it, accessing to the room of arms and the body of arms in the lower part of La Calahorra Castle. Throgh a monumental marble stairs you get the high floor of La Calahorra Castle, to the Oratory, whose door is located in the Fine Arts Museum of Seville, the rooms of Arms and Justice and the private lodgings are located, all of them with yard and in its constructive elements (columns and arches, main fronts, windows, etc) where the Renaissance decorative program spreads, that is attributed to Michelle Calrone and that a series of vegetable elements and allegoric figures covering fiezes, lintels, pollars and pilasters, capitals and rose windows, and etc, are the protagonists in La Calahorra Castle.

The caracass that protects and hides this interior in La Calahorra Castle is a fortification in the Catilian style and with impregnable aspect. A huge box is added to the central chequered body that overtangs to the South side of La Calahorra Castle and that lodges the inner stairs, and in the corners cylindrical towers crowned by cupolas. One single entrace in La Calahorra Castle, some small embrasures and a few windows are the only gaps that break the ssolidity of La Calahorra Castle. Rofrigo de Mendoza y Maria de Fonseca lived just eight years in La Calahorra Castle, which passed to the hands of the Marquises daughters. The War of the Moorishes (1568-71) which was especially violent in El Marquesado of El Cenete, brought back the leadership of La Calahorra Castle, where the old Christians of the area look refuge and almost at the end of the war the Marquis of Mondejar and the Marquis of Javara withdrawed to barracks under the orders of Mr. Juan of Austria. Afterards La Calahorra Castle was practically abandoned for centuries. At the beginning of the 20th century, almost sold and moved stone by stone to the USA, it was purchased by the Duke of El Infantado and the Marquis of Santillana.

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