Otíñar castle

Otíñar castle

Municipality: Jaén


Latitude: 37.671567°

Longitude: -3.747263°

Altitude: 690 m


Otíñar Castle is an old medieval fortress located in the municipality of Jaén. It stands on an easily accessible hill to the southeast of the city of Jaén, next to the old road to Granada, on the road from Jaén to the Quiebrajano reservoir, about 13 kilometers from the capital.

Its construction is usually dated to the second half of the 13th century, probably on top of other older structures, of Andalusian origin (perhaps a slope crowned by a dry stone palisade supported by a wooden framework), although the alcazarejo is considered later, from the 15th century.

It was part of the defensive system of Jaén, so it had a visual connection with other watchtowers such as Torrebermeja, which in turn communicated with the castle of Jaén.


Historical data

During the Muslim domination of the area, a rural nucleus arose in the vicinity of the current castle, the town of Otíñar, of an eminently agricultural nature and equipped with certain defenses of earth and wood, of which traces have remained throughout the escarpment. the hill.

In 1228 the King of Castile, Fernando III, in his campaigns to conquer the city of Jaén, going up the Jaén and Frío rivers, reached a place known by chronicles as Atorimar (it is believed that it could be Otiñar). According to the documentation that has come down to us, the Holy King and his troops devastated it and continued on their way.

The fixing of the border after the Pact of Jaén in 1246 and the proximity of Otíñar to the new border turned this place into a decisive point in the surveillance of the road to Granada against Nasrid incursions, for which a castle was built on the near the old village of Otíñar. From his position, the watchtowers of Torrebermeja, which communicated with Jaén, could be seen.

In the 14th century, a population center would emerge under the protection of the castle, also known as Otíñar, which was given a mayor"s office, and which had a church.

According to the Ordinances of 1464, we know that the mayor of Otíñar was endowed with 8,000 maravedís per year and had the obligation to have "three men and not less than would be necessary for the guard and defense of the castle; the two who were continuously in the said castle without leaving it for anything and another who came and went to the city and went out to hunt and crossbow meat that they ate".

After the definitive fall of Granada in 1492, the road it guarded ceased to be used when a new one was opened up the Guadalbullón, so the town and the castle, having already lost their military function, would gradually be abandoned, adding their mayor"s office to that of Castillo de Santa Catalina.

In 1826 the village of Santa Cristina de Otíñar was founded in the surrounding area, which remained inhabited until 1970.

It is considered a Site of Cultural Interest since 1985.

In 2009, the Otíñar area was registered in the General Catalog of Andalusian Heritage under the category of Heritage Zone. Even so, the castle is currently in danger of disappearing due to abandonment and progressive deterioration.


The castle

The castle has an elongated floor plan, with an enclosure built in masonry, which takes advantage of the natural defenses in its eastern part. The only access to the enclosure is located on its North façade. Two parts of the Otíñar castle can be distinguished: the enclosure and the alcazarejo.

In the southern part of the enclosure, located on a rocky area, we find the alcazarejo. It is built in ashlar masonry and has a two-storey homage tower, located on a steep and inaccessible wall on the hillside, which has been filled internally to level the intramural soil, which is too rocky and steep.

The homage tower is 20 meters high and 6 meters wide and has two floors and a terrace. The inner chambers of the tower have a barrel vault, built in brick, with a different orientation on each floor to distribute their thrust proportionally among the four walls.

The external access to the Tower was made through a wooden staircase, and inside it was ascended by means of an attached stone staircase, today in ruins.

The remaining stretches of wall are large, so they do not require flanking towers. To the west it has a small bastion that fulfills this function. It presents traces of interior habitation and a beautiful cistern.

Around its perimeter, there are remains of the old medieval town of Otíñar, the medieval walled enclosure, three towers with vaults and a medieval church.

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Otíñar castle
Otíñar castle
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Otíñar castle
Otíñar castle
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Otíñar castle
Otíñar castle


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Project funded by:

European Union Feder Funds Junta de Andalucía

Project coordinated by:

Association for Rural Development for the District of El Condado de Jaén Association for Rural Development of Sierra Sur de Jaén Group for Rural Development of Sierra de Segura Association for Rural Development of Sierra Mágina Association for Socioeconomic Development of La Loma y Las Villas Association for Rural Development of Campiña Norte de Jaén Association for Rural Development of Sierra de Cazorla
Castillos y Fortalezas de la Provincia de Jaén