Castle of Onda

Location:

Calle Jaén, s/n. Onda

Phone:

964 766 688 - Castle of Onda

This is an impressive Muslim fortress built on the 10th century on the ruins of an old Roman settlement. Improvements have been made on the castle over the centuries. For example, a module for receptions was constructed by the Carmelite friars at the beginning of the 20th century on the ruins of the old well.

It was originally divided into two clearly separate parts: defensive walls encircling the medina and the castle itself, which was subdivided into different modules. The castle contained the albacara, which was the place where the inhabitants and livestock could take refuge in case of danger, and the alcazaba—an 11th century Islamic palace, where the sultan lived and exerted his influence. As for the alcazaba, it was surrounded by an all-around defense made of 2 towers, which is still clearly noticeable.

The poet of El Cantar de Mío Cid says that El Cid conquered Onda, where he installed a garrison, after the Battle of Pinar de Tévar. Although the battle of Pinar de Tévar was a real battle, the details of the battle fought by the historical El Cid, which took place at a different context, are distorted, to the extent that there is no historical evidence showing that El Cid conquered this castle. It is probably one of the distortions used by the poet to present the hero as performing great deeds, though it could also be the result of phonetic confusion. There are scholars who argue that the poet could be referring to the castle of Ondara, situated in Alicante, which was conquered by El Cid.

The castle has at present become the home for a museum. Its most attractive element is the display of Islamic plasterwork, belonging to a palace-house in Onda, which was built towards the end of the 12th century or beginning of the 13th century; that is, at the time in which El Cantar was written.

Rev. PAB 27.12.18