The Castle that Muley Hacén Built – Lecrín Valley, Granada
The Castle that Was a Wedding Present
Time for a little history. Mondujar Castle is typical in its location, built on a hill with views all over the surrounding countryside. However, this castle in particular was built as a residence as well as a fortress. Perched on a hill at an altitude of 879 metres, near the village of Mondujar, the Moorish king of Granada, Muley Hacén, built the castle as a wedding present for his second wife, Zoraya. Can you imagine getting to the top of this hill in the 15th. Century loaded with wedding presents?
Zoraya, Morning Star in Arabic, was the name taken by Isabel de Solís, a Christian slave in the court of Granada. Muley Hacén and his first wife Aixa, were in continuous conflict due to her ambitious designs for her son, Boabdil the last king of Granada. All this domestic and political strife led poor Muley Hacén to take Isabel as his lover. As time went on their union turned into a love story and the castle in Mondujar became their romantic getaway, as well as the place Muley Hacén hoped to retire to.
What Happened to the Nasrid Kings?
Not all the Nasrid kings of Granada were buried in the rawda – cemetery – of the Alhambra, there are records to prove this. It’s possible that the last resting place of Moraima, Boabdil’s wife, was the castle at Mondujar. Later she was moved to the Nasrid rawda in the village itself where remains have been discovered to support this theory. During the excavations carried out prior to the building of the first ring road round Mondujar in 1988, workers discovered more evidence of a burial site. By 2003, at the start of the work on the A44 motorway Granada – Motríl, the damage to what the experts think was the Nasrid cemetery was complete. It’s a somewhat macabre thought but in all probability good part of the remains of the Nasrid dynasty is buried underneath the tarmac. A sad end to a long and glorious reign.
How to Get to the Castle
The only way to get to the castle in Mondujar is on foot. For some it may not be an easy outing but worth it. Mondujar is ten minutes from Restábal. Park your car at the exit from the village, near the motorway to Granada. Walk straight up under the bridge and you’ll see signposts to the castle. Very pleasant until the ascent to the top of the hill which is very stoney and uneven. Going up is easier then coming down. Good hiking boots and sticks are essential. We did it and I am really pleased we did, it’s a most impressive site! Check out one of the routes on Wikiloc
In this link to the Durcal Town Council web site, you can see a digital recreation of Mondujar Castle The text is in Spanish but if you scroll down to the end of the page you can see what the castle would have been like
For more on monuments in the Lecrín Valley and Granada visit Our Lecrín Valley Guides
The Lecrín Valley is situated halfway between Granda and the Costa Tropical in Andalucía, southern Spain.