Tours castles and monasteries

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Castles and monasteries, the sword and the cross. Andalusia is a land that has always been coveted and therefore, many of its towns were fortified very early on. There are still remains of Cyclopean walls put up by the Iberians, and walls that owe their origin to Rome.

However, it is Islam, which ruled between the 8th and the 15th centuries, and the last part of the religious wars between Moors and Christians, which are largely responsible for the presence of so many citadels, fortresses, (alcazabas, alcázares), castles and towers, and for the tangle of races and religions that influenced many of these buildings.

Following the Christians came monks and friars - Carthusians, Hieronymites and Franciscans - who set up their monasteries. When peace was established, some nobles started converting castles into palaces, a trend that began in Italy. The following conquest of America, trade, the threat of Barbary and of England (in two words, the Spanish Empire), demanded a defence system, so the Andalusian coast became peppered with crenellated towers under Phillip II, and small forts and bastions under the Bourbons.

Black legend has it that Napoleon is responsible for part of the destruction of some castles and convents. This state of affairs was made worse by the disentailment under the Liberals. And then the Romantics appeared on the scene, the Ministries of Culture and the Americans, who transplanted the courtyard from Vélez Blanco castle to a museum in New York.

We will try to follow the trail of a long period of war and peace that influenced the appearance of many Andalusian towns. We will find plenty of ruins and a good deal of rebuilding. The visitor is warned, but should not be discouraged by the present state of these archaeological treasures.

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