Although the town of Alora looks like any other typical whitewashed village in Andalucia from a distance, you cannot help but notice that this village is dominated by the ruins of what once could only have been a most impressive castle. A castle that had witnessed so many attempts to capture and defend it and is now houses the town cemetery amongst it´s ruins.
Some history books will tell you that the Phoenicians were the first to build a castle there whilst others will tell you that in the 5th century the Vandals conquered the village, and it is believed they were the first to build a substantial castle on top of the Las Torres hill. Under the Arabs the village’s name changed to ‘Alura’, and the fortification was extended. Alora’s Moorish past is clearly stamped on the old quarter’s layout, with its steep, winding streets leading up to the old castle.
The castle gained a reputation as an impregnable fortress during the Moorish occupation following various failed sieges by the Christians over the centuries, and was the subject of the Ballad of Alora, the words of which are carved on a tablet embedded in the castle walls, which refers to the town as “the well besieged." It was finally conquered by Christian troops on June 10 1484 after nine days of combat.
After the Christian conquest, the town’s inhabitants continued to live inside the fortress, and the original parish church, now the cemetery chapel, was built on the foundations of a former mosque. With the passage of time, the town began to spread to the foot of the hill.
The ruins of the castle, from where there are views for miles, dominate the village. Two towers and an iron arch in the wall remain, and the town cemetery is located within the old enclosure. It was declared a national monument in 1931.