- Mar 8, 2018
Escalona emerges along the Alberche River as a privileged enclave of medieval flavor. Its castle raises towards the sky robust facades that jealously guard the history of the kings who magnified and inhabited it. Although it was not always like that. Before becoming a strategic bastion and luxury residence of Castilian royalty, this magnificent mass, declared a National Monument in 1922, was in the hands of the Romans and later of the Muslims.
During the reconquest, in 1086, King Alfonso VI of Castile converted this castle into a defensive fortress against the Almohad threat. Not in vain, its location could not be better, in the middle of a crucial access to the Toledo capital and flanked, in a natural way, between river and streams.
The monarch then granted a letter of repopulation of Escalona to Diego and Domingo Álvarez, who ordered the construction of the enormous wall of a kilometer and a half of perimeter and nine meters high, which still today envelops the city. In its day it had several doors that gave access to the town, the one of the Parra, of the River, of San Vicente and of San Miguel, by which it was entered the castle.
At the end of the thirteenth century, in 1281, Alfonso X granted the jurisdiction of Escalona to his brother Don Juan Manuel, and the village became, a year later, the birthplace of the Infante of the same name, nephew of the Wise King. The small born in this city, would be one of the most cultured writers of the Middle Ages, known throughout the world to be the famous author of the quanta of El Conde Lucanor.
Time later, in the year 1328, King Alfonso XI, reduced the village to his obedience after being taken by several lords of the Tagus basin, who rioted in the castle against one of the monarch's favorites. Since then, the site of Escalona has always been linked to the luxury and pomp of the Castilian crown.
The valid ones of the kings, were the most privileged tenants of the place. As early as 1424, Juan II handed over the villa to his favorite, Don Álvaro de Luna. From that moment, the Constable will put all his efforts in endowing this place with a luxury never known until then, and Escalona expressly brings Arab craftsmen to endow Mudejar with his new and envied Palace.
In spite of the magnificent work that Don Álvaro did in the Castle, at his death, his wife and children could not avoid being taken away by the Monarch and in 1470, Enrique IV gives it back to a valid one, the Marques de Villena, whose family could enjoy the heritage for centuries.
Its decline came during the war of Spanish independence in 1808. The soldiers of Napoleon then reduced to ruins much of the opulent and elegant castle and built, with its old decks, the bridge that crossed the river Alberche.