Iznajar´s castle mesures up to 533 metres high, and is surrounded by the Genil River and the Priego stream. Symbol and genesis of the town, its construction began arround mid of VIIIth century, probably by hispanogoths builders, going forward with successive reconstructions and extensions untill the XVth century.
From arabic origins, it gave its name to the locality, deriving from the sustantive “hisn” (castle) and the adjective “al-ashar” (joyfull).
The actual shape dates back to the Xth century, in the XIth the walls that surround the weapon courtyard were elevated and a first enclosure was reinforced during the nazarí periode, including the actual La Villa neighbourhood.
The first historical reports about the castle are found around the latter half of the IXth century as the Muladi de Umar ben Hafsun rebellion blew up. During this periode, Iznajar´s control changed several times of hands, its population beeing a target to punishment. Out of fear, the inhabitants of the town beheaded the governor Fadl ben Salama (muladi, considerated by many as the actual founder of Iznajar) and sent his head to the Emir Abd Allah as a sign of submission, avoiding, this way, reprisals against the people.
The Christian Reconquest, under Fernando 3rd “El Santo”, didn´t reach Iznajar´s lands, that stayed united to the Granadian reign, untill the first half of the XVth century. For its localization, between two borders, Iznajar witnessed several periodes of war. It was then incorporated definitely to the Castilla reign during the monarchy of Juan the 2nd and untill 1468. Diego Fernandez de Córdoba, lord of Baena and count of Cabra received the monarch Enrique IV for its adherence, creating the Viscounty of Iznajar, noble title still in force today for the heirs of the Fernandez de Córdoba familiy.
The castle was transformed into a dwelling for the Duke of Sesa´s administrator, in the XVIIIth century untill the XXth century when it was aquired by its last owners (count de la Revilla and brothers), then by the townhall, in 1991, and included to the local wealth.
After a major archeological restauration between 2006 and 2008, the Castle of Iznajar regained part of its splendor and is visitable again.
Nowadays, the castle makes two rooms available:
1.The first cristian church built inside the walled enclosure by Pedro the 1st, where we can observe pictures of the restauration´s work and a swords and daggers exhibition.
2.Stable room, showing an exhibition of past trades and handcrafted pieces. Through this room we can reach one of the castle´s dungeons.
The castle has also one of the biggest water tanks for these times. Located in the centre of the Weapons courtyard, it was bearly restored and well conserved. Its rain water collection system is still working and its inside temperature doesn´t change during the whole year, beeing around 16-17 degrees.
The Tribute Tower (Torre del Homenaje) stands out, with an inside corner dedicated to Rafael Alberti. The poet visited Iznajar during the ´20s and it was in this tower that he found inspiration for the writing of his book “The Lost Grove”, wherein he dedicates a poem to the tower.
The castle also hides the entrance to a cavern, leading to the river. It is known as “the Queen´s cavern”, telling the legend that the queen and her servants used to reach the river by this cavern to wash clothings. One day, the Molero Knights found them and forced the servants to give them the keys of the castle and entered by the same cavern, opening the doors of the Villa.