The castle is a landmark on the Villena skyline for its size and excellent state
of preservation. It dates back to the 12th century, during Spain’s Islamic period,
and was owned by the Arabs until they surrendered it to Christian forces in 1240.
That moment marked the start of the Lordship and later the Marquisate of Villena
under Royal Charter to reward services rendered to the Crown by various noblemen.
Nobles included the illustrious writer Don Juan Manuel, who wrote parts of
his book on hunting, Libro de la Caza, here in the castle.
The main structure is the four-storey keep tower, the first two floors of which date
back to the Arab era and have lovely vaulted ceilings featuring interlaced arches,
widely held as valuable examples of Islamic art in Spain. The two upper floors
were added later, in the Christian era, specifically by the second Marquis, Don
Juan Pacheco. The castle underwent a series of sieges and attacks during the
Wars of Succession and Independence, and you can still see traces of the damage
inflicted on the building. The castle was awarded the status of Historic-Artistic
Monument in 1931.
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