Atalaya or Villena Castle © Turespaña
Tall and stately, the three storeys of Villena castle rise up proudly from the hill on which it stands, overlooking the capital of the region.
Also known as the castle of the Pies Negros ('black feet') or simply Villena Castle, this is a sturdy military building of Arab origin, which was renovated and extended in the 15th century.
It has no moat, and is built with a double walled enclosure. The outer wall is reinforced with 12 towers, and the inner wall –which is taller– contains the imposing keep located at the southeast end of the space.
The keep has a square floor plan and is divided into four sections; the two lower sections are built of Almohad masonry, and the two upper levels of stonework. The first floor conserves the traditional Almohad star-shaped ribbed vault, which makes it practically unique among Hispanic military architecture. It is topped with cantilevered turrets on the corners and sides.
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