|No, not praying - all will be explained below.|
This is one of the main entrances to La Mota.
It is called 'La Puerta de los Poetas' or the Poet's Door.
It's difficult to say how much of the original fortress remains. A lot of restoration work has been undertaken in the past 40 years or so and whilst as much as possible has been preserved, it's clear there has been quite a lot of rebuilding too.
Signs of civilisation in the area dating back to three centuries B.C. have been found.
The Romans were here after that, before La Mota became a Muslim stronghold.
During the 13th and 14th centuries, the Moors and the Christians battled over this strategically placed castle and it exchanged hands many times. It finally ended up in the hands of King Alfonso Xl - and there are many streets and one of the schools here named after him.
The walk around the base of the fortress was beautiful, with wonderful views and sights at every turn. We thought it was as impressive as the Alhambra, though it somehow carried its history more lightly.
And joy of joys, as we climbed up, we got a wonderful view of the Sierra Nevada - a sight that I have already said does my heart so much good.
It's a bit difficult to see here but the expanse of white in the distance is 'it' for sure.
Have a closer look for yourselves.
Isn't that just gorgeous?
I love the way he is holding her finger to point.
Walking around the walls at the top - inside the fortress itself.
Stunning views all round.
Evidence and remains of the town that used to exist within the castle walls.
The excavation has been fairly recent work. Inside the museum, there was a photo taken in the 1940s where the outside of the church was all covered over with earth - no real signs of what laid beneath.
Ruy peering down one of the many 'pozos' or wells. There was almost as much to discover under the ground as above it - evidenced by many glass windows in the ground that allowed a glimpse into the various wells, tombs, staircases and other bits of buildings that are hidden below. See Ruy and Romy on the first picture - they are peering down through the glass. They had to get close to avoid all the reflection.
Oh look! The Sierra Nevada again.
The church, built by Alfonso Xl (you have to say it in Spanish 'Alfonso Once' cos it sounds funny), is now mainly ruined inside having suffered at the hands of Napoleonic forces in the early 1800s and a major earthquake at the end of that century.
The water was wonderful - ice cold - but I have no idea where it was coming from!
Cesar in the tavern!
Or what was once the tavern...
It's a long time since I was in Greece but this picture makes me think of it.
(Except, of course, you can just see the Sierra Nevada in the background.)
Here - that's better.
This enormous square is the place where the medieval festival is held each year during August.
I'm looking forward to visiting then, though the walk up the hill is going to be very hot!
|Detail of church|
The bodega, where wine was kept.
Nice and cool, I can confirm.
This is inside the church and way down, there was water - either from a well or a spring.
|The remains of a once impressive church|
|Islamic tombs under what would have been the floor of the church|
I took this photo to prove to my in-laws that 'Ruy' is a good and proper name. They weren't convinced when we first told them the name of our second-born.
Whilst it is still popular in Brazil and Portugal - in the the form, Rui, - the third name down on this sign shows that in the fourteenth century, a Ruy Fernandez was the royal Chaplain.
So a good Christian name after all.
Though they need no additional adornment!
This is Romy and I sniggering. Romy had been looking out of the little window behind us and said that the rock on which the castle was built looked like an elephant's bottom. And it did.
Up at the top of the tower of the Alcazar - the castle's stronghold where the troops were based.
It was a steep climb up!
Romy looking rather lovely inside the museum part. Actually, it was around here that she was ready to go home and started complaining her feet hurt - so it's a brave smile for the camera!
I love these miniature recreations of how places might have looked in their heyday.
During medieval times, most villagers would have lived within the castle walls but as time went on, they moved outside and down the hill to the north of the fortress, where they could grow more crops and farm the land.
This was a lovely, detailed model.
More investigations of the underground parts!
|Did I mention the view?|