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The Castle

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History

Auning the 12th + 13th centuries, the muslim almohad population of Spain built castle to check the christian advance. The origins of the castle of the watchtower of Villena go back to these times. In the middle of the 13th century the christian troops in the service of games of Aragon tuice failed to capture the castle, until the knight commander of Alcañiz, of the order of Calatrava, finally conquered the the city of Villena in the name of Jaime I, who then ceded it to the castilion king Ferdinand III. The castle passed into the hands of his last son Don Manuel and from this moments Villena became the head of a domain which became increasingly important due to its geographical situation and also to the members of the castilion royal family who governed in the city. On the death of the prince, his son don Juan Manuel inherited the fortress which remained the property of the Manueles until they were incorporated into the crown of castle. The domain of Villena became a marquisate taking in the lando of Alicante, Albacete, Cuenca, Toledo, Murcia, Valladolid and Guadalajara. There are no traces of the first marquis, Don Alfonso of Aragon, in the castle but his successors, Don Juan Pacheco, had the upper part of the homage tower built and his coat of arms appears on one side of it. Later, in the time of Ferdinand and Isabella, the people of Villena role in revolt againsttheir marquis, Don Diego López Pacheco and since then the city and the castle passed into royal control while the title of marquisate became an honorary one.

The domain of Villena also became a dukedom, created by Henrry III of castle for the princessed Doña Maria and Doña Catalina.

The castle played on important role in the war of the Spanish Succession (1700-1714) serving as a refuge to those loyal to Philip V of Borbon fighting against Charles of Austria; also, in the peninsular war, in 1813, marshal Suchet bombarded the fortress, destroying same of the almohad domes.

The current state of the fortification is the result of different initiatives, designed to protect, conserve and make it better krown. The starting point was 1931, the year in which it was declared a National Historical Monument; later, in 1958, the first restoration work began. The most recent work dates from the year 2001 and was mainly focused on the homage tower and the courtyard. Works has already begun an the restoration of the front section of the wall and futher work will be camed cut to restore the whole of the castle.