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Fodor's Spain 2014
Castillo de Santa Catalina
Castillo de Santa Catalina Review
This castle, perched on a rocky crag 400 yards above the center of town, is Jaén's star monument. It may have originated as a tower built by Hannibal, but whatever its start, the site was fortified continuously over the centuries. The Nasrid king Alhamar, builder of Granada's Alhambra, constructed an alcázar here, but Ferdinand III captured it from him in 1246 on the feast day of Santa Catalina (St. Catherine). Catalina consequently became Jaén's patron saint, so when the Christians built a castle and chapel here, they dedicated both to her. The castle is currently undergoing reforms—check by phone in advance to check open hours.
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