Zahara de la Sierra Castle
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The Zahara de la Sierra Castle - 10 Things You Should Know!Come with us to explore the Zahara de la Sierra castle, also known as the Torre del Homenaje. The walk to the top is exhilarating and the views make it worth your while...
Note: The Castle is open 24 hours a day and is FREE of charge.
Also read "Ten Things You Should Know About The Village of Zahara De La Sierra"...
Check out the other White villages: Grazalema - Olvera - Setenil de las Bodegas - Zahara de la Sierra
1. The Climb Starts in the Main Town Square
If you've made it to the main plaza from the parking area below, have a snack and a cold drink... because you have a lot higher to go!
Follow the main road, calle San Juan towards the big reddish church, the Iglesia de Santa Maria de la Mesa. From there, follow the road to the left of the church and continue up the hill past a string of flower-covered, white-washed buildings on your left.
Meson Los Estribos, also on your left, is another good place to stop for a bite to eat.
Oficina de Información Turística - 956 123 114
Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) - Plaza del Rey, 1 - 956 123 004
Taxis - 956 123 109 or 656 989 402
2. There are some Great Photographic Opportunities
We took more photos in Zahara de la Sierra than in any other village, mostly due to the exquisite views of the Grazalema countryside and its brightly colored turquoise lakes. There are also wonderful photographic opportunities in the village itself, with its classic, white-washed homes and ancient stone buildings.
One of the best views of the Iglesia de Santa Maria de la Mesa is from behind, on your way up to the castle.
3. You Pass Through the Ancient Village Gate
Before you reach the entrance to the Castle grounds you will pass through what looks like two massive stone walls on either side of the road. This is all that remains of the old "Puerta de la Villa" or village gate.
At one time the gate looked more like a doorway with a large arch rounding out the top, but over the years it has crumbled and fallen off. The village later tried to rebuild the arch and added a large clock at the top. Unfortunately, it was again destroyed by French troops in 1812.
What you see today, is partly original stonework that dates to the 15th century (bottom half) and partly restorative work that took place much later (18th century).
4. There are Remains of an Entire Nasrid Village
Just past the old "Puerta de la Villa" you will see the ruins of an ancient Nasrid village that resided just below the castle.
You can just make out the remains of several medieval houses and a well. The walls of the ancient city can also be seen here as they begin to wrap around the town.
5. There is a Museum to Explain Everything...
Above the ruins there is a large hexagonal base that is all that is left of the first church in Zahara, the Antigua Iglesia Mayor, which dates to the 15th century.
Walk behind the structure and you will find the entrance to the Interpretation Museum that is built into what remains of the ancient church.
The museum is open most days and is a great way to learn about the civilizations that once lived in the area; the Romans, Moors and Christians.
6. The Path to the Castle is Beautiful but Steep!
The entire path up to the highest point within the castle grounds is quite beautiful. It winds back and forth for about 15-minutes before you reach the top.
You must be careful while walking this bit as the terrain can be a bit rough. There are also loose and uneven rocks and the climb is steep.
Bring lots of water for this trek, especially during summer, and a good pair of walking shoes is recommended.
7. The Castle is Actually a Tower
What we all refer to as the Zahara Castle, looks a lot more like a tower. It is undeniably the most important landmark in town and the most photographed. It's known as the "Torre del Homenaje".
What you will find today dates to the 14th century, but it's known that the tower was built upon an even earlier structure, probably a watchtower, dating to the 8th century.
The castle sits 605 meters above sea level, and it measures 12m by 12.6m with rounded corners.
8. You Can Go Inside the Castle - A Room with a View
** Castle Windows - Zahara de la Sierra, Cádiz
There is not much to see in the interior of the tower but you will find two very narrow staircases that lead you to the second floor and upper terrace. The staircases are dark and there is no interior lighting, so a flashlight (or cellphone) is needed to light the way.
Once you reach the top you will be rewarded with incredible views in all directions.
9. There is a Second Mirador at the Top
Just in front of the castle is yet another mirador. Walk directly out of the castle door and you will see a path heading towards a rocky area in front of you. There are wooden bridges that cross over the rocks and benches for resting and enjoying the views.
This is one of the best places to take photos of the castle, with the beautiful Sierra de la Grazalema in the background.
10. The Views From the Top are Incredible
When you get to the top, this is what you will see... enough said!
Enjoy the hike!!
3. How To Arrive
There are two ways to enter the town of Zahara de la Sierra. The first is to take the A382 road, which links Arcos de la Frontera with Antequera, and the second is the A376 from Seville to Ronda.
There is a parking area just at the bottom of town that wraps around the front of the village. Its just across from the entrance to the town and where you start your climb to the town's main plaza.
If you drive into town, there is a road that goes one-way through the town square and up the hill towards the castle. There is a small parking area just opposite the entrance to the castle grounds.
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