Photograph: Guillermo Maestro CasadoPhotograph: Guillermo Maestro CasadoPhotograph: Guillermo Maestro CasadoPhotograph: Guillermo Maestro CasadoPhotograph: Guillermo Maestro CasadoPhotograph: Guillermo Maestro CasadoPhotograph: Guillermo Maestro CasadoPhotograph: Guillermo Maestro CasadoPhotograph: Guillermo Maestro Casado


Name of Monument:

Badajoz Citadel and the Espantaperros Tower

Location:

Badajoz, Spain

Date of Monument:

Hegira 564–5 / AD 1168–70

Period / Dynasty:

Almohad

Description:

According to textual sources, the city of Badajoz (Batalyaws) was founded in the last third of the AH 3rd / AD 9th century by the Meridan chieftain Abd al-Rahman Ibn Marwan al-Jilliqi (r. AH 261–75 / AD 875–89), from a dynasty of Iberian Muslim converts opposed to Córdoban rule who were obliged to flee Merida and take refuge in Badajoz. Subsequently, when the city became part of the Almohad empire, its strategic location made it a fundamental part of the defensive system against the Christian kingdoms of Portugal and León.
The current citadel in Badajoz was built during the reign of the Almohad Caliph Abu Ya'qub Yusuf (r. AH 558–80 / AD 1163–84), the period when most major Almohad building projects in the peninsula were started, such as the restoration and extension of the walls of Seville, the Great Mosque in Seville and many other public works.
The citadel at Badajoz, built in AH 565 / AD 1170 on a tall hill, is a walled, oval-shaped enclosure whose north and east sides are defended by the valleys of the Guadiana and Rivillas rivers. With no natural defences, the other two sides have most of the artificial defences, such as barbicans and flanking towers.
The 'Gateway of the Capital' is the main entrance to the enclosure, so called because of the Roman capital made of marble that is built into the upper part. It is a bent entrance with a slightly pointed outer horseshoe arch defended by a tower. Two Visigothic pieces, converted into door jambs, have survived in its interior.
The Espantaperros ('scare-dogs') Tower, linked to the main wall by a long wall, is the most important and monumental flanking tower in the fortification. It is octagonal and built using mortar. The lower part is solid and the two upper floors are laid out identically with a central square room covered with a vault and surrounded by a passage that is divided into sections. Originally, the tower was crowned with a crenellated terrace with a second quadrangular body rising from it, of which some intertwining blind arches have survived.
In the AH 10th / AD 16th century, enveloping this second structure, a Mudéjar brick tower, now lost, was erected to house a bell whose ring appears to have given the tower its popular name.
The defensive structures in Badajoz show how the Almohads, in continuous Holy War in the Peninsula, developed the art of fortification. They perfected the system of bent-entrance gateways, which hampered access to the interior of the enclosure, and made widespread use of barbicans or outer walls that surrounded the main walls and the fortresses, as well as systems of flanking towers outside the enclosure that were linked to it by a wall.

View Short Description

This complex was one of the prototypes of Almohad military architecture in al-Andalus and it is a good example of the complicated defensive system used by the Almohads: chicane entrances making it difficult to enter the complex and widespread use of barbicans or outer walls around the main wall combined with flanking towers such as the Espantaperros.
This extremely important strategic point in the Guadiana plain became an essential part of the defence against the Christian kingdoms when the city became part of the Almohad empire.

How Monument was dated:

The characteristics of the citadel confirm it as an Almohad fortification. Textual sources date its construction to 564–5 / 1168–70. Archaeological excavations undertaken between 1977 and 1982 have not unearthed any structural remains dating from before the mid 6th / 12th century in the enclosure.

Selected bibliography:

La Alcazaba de Badajoz: Síntesis de la Historia de la Ciudad, Badajoz, 1979, p.3.
Terrasse, H. “Les Forteresses de L'Espagne Musulmane”, Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, CXXXIV, 1954, pp.455–83.
Torres Balbás, L., Arte Almohade, Arte Nazarí, Arte Mudéjar, Ars Hispaniae,Vol. IV, Madrid, 1949, pp.34–7.
Valdés Fernández, F. and Martín Patino, T., La Alcazaba de Badajoz, Excavaciones Arqueológicas en España 144, Madrid, 1986.
Zozaya, J., “Las Fortificaciones de al-Andalus”, in Al-Andalus: Las Artes Islámicas en España, Exhibition catalogue, Madrid, 1992, pp.63–73.

Citation of this web page:

Margarita Sánchez Llorente "Badajoz Citadel and the Espantaperros Tower" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. 2019. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=monument;ISL;es;Mon01;6;en

Prepared by: Margarita Sánchez LlorenteMargarita Sánchez Llorente

Margarita Sánchez Llorente cursó estudios de Historia del Arte y Psicología en la facultad de Filosofía y Letras de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, obteniendo la licenciatura en 1974.Tras realizar numerosos cursos de posgrado en museología y documentación del patrimonio histórico-artístico y arqueológico, le fueron concedidas varias becas de investigación en museística. De 1989 a 2000 trabajó en el Museo Arqueológico Nacional, en la gestión y documentación de los proyectos de la Unión Europea: EMN (European Museum Network), RAMA (Remote Access to Museum Archives) y –como colaboradora del departamento de Antigüedades Egipcias y del Próximo Oriente– Champollion. Ha participado en numerosos coloquios y encuentros internacionales y publicado varios artículos sobre las nuevas tecnologías aplicadas a la documentación en los museos.

Copyedited by: Rosalía AllerRosalía Aller

Rosalía Aller Maisonnave, licenciada en Letras (Universidad Católica del Uruguay), y en Filología Hispánica y magíster en Gestión Cultural de Música, Teatro y Danza (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), ha obtenido becas de la Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional y la Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia de Madrid, así como el Diplôme de Langue Française (Alliance Française), el Certificate of Proficiency in English (University of Cambridge) y el Certificado Superior en inglés y francés (Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Madrid). Profesora de Estética de la Poesía y Teoría Literaria en la Universidad Católica del Uruguay, actualmente es docente de Lengua Castellana y Literatura en institutos de Enseñanza Secundaria y formación del profesorado en Madrid. Desde 1983, ha realizado traducción y edición de textos en Automated Training Systems, Applied Learning International, Videobanco Formación y El Derecho Editores. Integra el equipo de Museo Sin Fronteras desde 1999 y ha colaborado en la revisión de los catálogos de “El Arte Islámico en el Mediterráneo”. Así mismo, ha realizado publicaciones sobre temas literarios y didácticos, ha dictado conferencias y ha participado en recitales poéticos.

Translation by: Laurence Nunny
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: SP 06

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