Clahorra Tower: A Brief History
If you arrive at the bridge from the great Mosque of Cordoba you will find a 16th Century, renaissance, Triumphal arc, Puerta del Puente (the bridge´s gate). In the Guadalquivir, not far from the bridge, there are two Mills: La Albolafia (the paper mill) and the Enmedio Mill, located, as the name in Spanish indicates, in the middle of the river.
La Torre de Calahorra is a battlemented tower part. It was part of a massive defensive system (let´s remember that Cordoba was one of the richest cities in Europe). Today it hosts a museum of Al Andalusi culture, with interesting information on live-in Al Andalus and the cohabitation of Jews, Moors, and Christians. The best views of Cordoba are at dusk, but the museum is closed then.
The first mention of a tower on the southern bank of the Guadalquivir river is from 1236 after the kingdom of Castilla, under the rule of King Fernando III, finally re-conquered Córdoba.
The fortress appears again in texts the First Castilian Civil War, in which the brothers Pedro I and Enrique II of Castile fought for the Castilian throne. Enrique the II would end up winning the battle and endow the fortress with a moat and a second tower joined to the original one via a drawbridge. Castilla y Leon’s coat of arms is still visible on the exterior from this period.
Later on, a third tower would be added. All three would be joined together by two cylinders. And then, after the popularization of gunpowder among European armies, several embrasures were added to the walls to be able to fire guns.
In 1514, Juana I of Castile ordered the creation of a fortified outpost around the enclosure to improve the tower’s defenses.
The building has had several different uses over the centuries but it’s main use has been as a prison for nobles, as well as a female educational center (1863). During the Spanish Civil war, the tower was used as a barracks.
Mayor Antonio Cruz-Conde obtained the transfer of the building to the City Council in 1952 and, after a restoration process, its doors were opened on April 29, 1953, as a gallery/museum. It first displayed works belonging to the Royal Armory, the Army Museum, and the Simancas Archive.