Monteagudo Castle

The Castle of Monteagudo is situated on the top of a hill formed by calcareous rock, from which you can see the whole of the northern valley of the "Huerta". On its hillsides sits the town of Monteagudo, some five kilometres from the city of Murcia and ten kilometres from Orihuela.

It was situated in this place for strategic reasons, namely it is a military building. As its name suggests (Monte-agut), the fortification occupies a very abrupt massif with a height of 149m and it spreads over two platforms with a diameter of 400m. At its feet runs the "camino viejo de Monteagudo" (the old Monteagudo road) joining two important routes running from the city: the Alicante and Castille roads.

For this reason, the peopling of this town seems to have been a prolonged and uninterrupted process. Recent archaeological excavations carried out in the foothills have discovered funeral urns from the Argaric Bronze age and pieces of pottery and architecture from the Iberian and Roman civilisations.

The architectural remains which we have are the fruit of numerous restorations and occupations going back to the Islamic period. Before the founding of Murcia, it would have been a rural castle where local peasants took refuge. When the city became the true capital of the territory, "Hisn Montagut" became an urban castle, a true fort and defensive watchtower of the Murcian emirs who resided in the city and in the Royal Almunia, of which the castle forms a part. In times of instability, the permanent garrison of the castle was ready to alert the defenders of Murcia to the arrival of the enemy, by way of smoke signals by day or fire by night. As a state fortification, it would have had other uses, for example, as a prison (1078-09), where the Murcian king Ibn Tahir himself was imprisoned in its dungeons. It could also have been a storage place for the cereal paid by the peasants as a tribute and it had large wells to supply the garrison, etc.

After the Christian Conquest, the castle did not lose its strategic character, remaining under the control of the Castilian monarchy. We know that it was visited on at least two occasions by Alfonso X el Sabio himself and that different royal "alcaides" or castle guards resided there. Once the kingdom of Murcia, dependent of Castille, had been shaped, it became a real border castle between two rival Christian kingdoms: Aragon and Castille. This situation lasted until the end of the XV century, when the Catholic Kings united the kingdoms and conquered the Muslim kingdom of Granada (1492).