The castle of La Yedra, also known as the Castle of the Four Corners, to differentiate it from the neighbouring Castle of the Five Corners, offered security and protection to Cazorla in Jaén, Spain, a town that still preserves architectural typologies and urban structures of clear Castilian descent.
In the Middle Ages, its strategic location, not so close to the border of the Nasrid kingdom and defended from surprise attack by the belly of the mountains, the Guadalquivir riverbed and the Pozo Alcón massif, made it the seat of the Adelantamiento de Cazorla.
Ferdinand III glimpsed the importance that this enclave and its territory could have in stopping a possible advance towards Seville by Arab troops from Almería or Granada, so he commissioned its conquest.
The first fortification was Arab and dates back to the 11th and 12th centuries, but the image that has come down to us of the castle of La Yedra corresponds more to the Castilian construction of the 13th and especially the 14th centuries.
The castle preserves elements of both civilisations that successively occupied it and shaped its profile and defences. Three successive enclosures can be distinguished in the castle: the fortress, the enclosure and the gatehouse.
The alcazar, ordered to be built by the archbishops of Toledo at the end of the 14th century, coincides with the current entrance to the castle, and consists of a keep and a small parade ground surrounding it. This small enclosure is enclosed by the shape that supports it. It is accessed by a winding, bent passageway, almost a cistern, which would also serve to facilitate the watering of the neighbouring fountain.
The keep is built with regular masonry and has a square floor plan with a height of thirty metres. The tower consists of three superimposed rooms, the ground floor paved on a vault, under which there is a cistern covered by a half-barrel vault; the first floor covered by a masonry roof on a wooden frame and illuminated by loopholes; and the second floor which has three large windows and is covered by a vault.
The oldest part is the wall that the Almohads built with mud and cobblestones. The Christians built ashlar towers and two courtyards on top of it in order to prevent the advance of the enemy through the most unprotected part of the wall.
Lastly, the outer enclosure, which is partially destroyed, is a Castilian work from the second half of the 13th century, in which rammed earth alternates with masonry and stonework.
Castle of the Five Corners
The Castle of the Five Corners is located on the hill that dominates Cazorla, the hill of Salvatierra, 1160 metres high, founded on the limestone bedrock of the same.
It was built in the last third of the 14th century, on the remains of an old Arab fortification, contemporary with the keep of the castle of La Yedra, to reinforce the defence of the capital of the Adelantamiento and prevent possible offensive actions by the Nasrids of Granada.
It is made of masonry with regular courses and ashlar. The best preserved element of the castle is the keep, with a pentagonal base, three of its sides have very approximate dimensions, while the other two are shorter and are a projection designed to house the box of a spiral staircase that leads to the different floors of the tower.
La Iruela Castle
La Iruela Castle, a small but spectacular castle, is situated on top of a steep cliff in the heart of the Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park, from where there are breathtaking views of both the town and its surroundings.
El Eruela, as it is mentioned in certain medieval texts, like Cazorla, was originally a modest Arab farmhouse which, from the 11th century onwards, had a protective wall and a small fortification on a promontory for the safety of the peasants.
Later, that small refuge would end up becoming a rocky castle, small in size but very difficult to take, with a very extensive panoramic view over the surrounding territory.
Around 1231, La Iruela was conquered and became part of the Adelantamiento de Cazorla, and a Christian fortress was built on top of the existing Muslim fortress.
Within the enclosure is the Church of Santo Domingo, which was built in the 16th century in honour of the patron saint of La Iruela, Santo Domingo de Silos.
Due to its architecture and scenic beauty it was declared a Historic-Artistic Site in 1985.