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Alcalá la Real, the frontier city
The majestic sight of the Fortress of La Mota [Fortaleza de la Mota] provides travellers with a visual indication of the historic importance of this frontier city. The word Alcalá means fortified city in Arabic. Its geographical location confirms the enormous strategic value it has had over the centuries. In this regard, the number of lookout points scattered all over this municipality bear witness to the importance of this location during the transition from the middle ages to the modern age.
Alcalá La Real, the birthplace of Juan Ruiz de Cisneros (better known as the Arcipreste de Hita), is located in the southwest corner of Jaen Province, 71 kilometres from the city of Jaen and 53 kilometres from the city of Granada. With a population of 22,129 inhabitants, the municipality comprises 16 districts, with around 7,000 inhabitants.
A stroll around this city takes us first to visit the Fortress of La Mota. Located in magical surroundings at 1,033 metres above sea level, this walled enclave was the gateway, guardian and defender of the kingdoms of Castile.
Walking down Calle Real, we arrive at the noble street of Carrera de las Mercedes, where the Palace-Museum of the Abbot will acquaint us with the rich legacy and past of this city, with its steep streets full of brightly-coloured houses, many surprises, manor houses, churches and architectural details – signs of the splendour and rich historical past.
Among other places that must be visited are the Plaza Arcipreste de Hita, the Iglesia de la Consolación and the San Juan Tadeo lookout point in the picturesque Las Cruces district where visitors can marvel at the magnificent view of Alcalá La Real and its castle.
Alcalá La Real is a land of wine, olive oil and cherries. The well-known Etnosur Festival takes place in this city, a multi-ethnic cultural fair held in mid-July.