GRANADA AND ALMERIA
ITINERARY: Guadix - La Calahorra - Gérgal - Tahal - Cuevas del Almanzora - Vélez Blanco - Orce.
On this tour, we come across three Renaissance castles built by Andalusian nobles in the opening years of the 16th c., paradoxically, just when King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella ahd ordered some castles in Andalusia to be destroyed in order to chasten rebellious nobles: the castle of Lacalahorra, built by the Marquess of Cenete, using Carrara marble and a courtyard in the style of Tuscan palaces; and those of Cuevas del Almanzores and Vélez Blanco, put up by Pedro Fajardo, Marquess of los Vélez: at Cuevas there is a granary right by the palace and at Vélez the courtyard was lost to velvet-gloved plunder.
In all three cases, the powerful exterior aspect contrasts with refined interiors. Besides these, in this area we may see other Moorish fortresses: the castle at Gérgal rebuilt after the Moors departed and in a good state of repair; the castles of Tahal and Orce, important bastions during the last phase of the War of Granada, the ruins of the fortress of Guadix, dominating all the countryside and the fortress of Tabernas.