Alcalá la Real and its fortress of La Mota

Alcalá la Real is a municipality and city in Spain, in the province of Jaén, autonomous community of Andalusia. It is the head of the Sierra Sur region and is located in the extreme southwest of the province, bordering the provinces of Granada and Córdoba.

Tourism and main attractions

The fortress of La Mota, also known as Castillo de Alcalá la Real, is a defensive enclosure, located on the Cerro de la Mota, at 1029 meters above sea level, dated to the Nasrid period (13th and 14th centuries), although with some previous elements.

In the year 713, with the Muslim conquest, the city was renamed قلعة أسطلير (Qal`at Astalir), then, in the 9th century, قلعة يحصب (Qal`at Yahsub) and, later, in the middle of the s. XII قلعة بني سعيد (Qal`at Banī Sa`id), that is, “fortress of the Bani Sa`id or the Sa`id family”, also, abbreviated, القلعة Al-Qal`a, “the fortress”, from which its current name comes.

The castle was declared a Bien de Interés Cultural monument in 1993.

The Major Abacial Church located inside the Fortress of La Mota, in Alcalá la Real, is a work remodeled during the second quarter of the 16th century according to the traces of Martín de Bolívar, who made the transformations of the primitive Gothic-style temple to adapt it to the Renaissance style, covering the starry vaults with Plateresque decoration and where the funerary chapels are conceived as monumental Plateresque facades, as are the access arches to the baptistery.

Alcazaba is a triangular-shaped fortified enclosure consisting of three towers: the Torre del Homenaje, the Torre de la Campana (also called Torre de la Vela) and the Torre Mocha. The Torre del Homenaje is the largest of the three, with about 20 m high, from whose top you can glimpse Sierra Nevada to the south. Both buildings are a visual landmark for the entire city and the surrounding region, and important rehabilitation works are currently being carried out there.

Walled perimeter is one of the largest in Andalusia, dotted with different towers and gates, of which the most impressive are the Torre de la Cárcel and the Puerta de la Imagen. Inside, the remains of the old Alcalá lie in the shadow of the Iglesia Mayor and the Alcazaba. It is currently being restored.

Abbey palace: the abbot Esteban Lorenzo Mendoza y Gatica in 1781 (18th century) began the rebuilding of an old manor house by raising the abbey palace, at a time when the settled population left the top of the mota definitively to move to the plain, its shield is sculpted in the front of the building, neoclassical style with French and Italian influence. It has an interior cloister, with a patio and three galleries open to it. At present it houses the Museum and Interpretation Center of Alcalá la Real, and the Pep Ventura Elementary Conservatory of Music; There is also a tourist information office located.


One of the typical dishes of the municipality is chicken a la secretaria, a chicken stew with roast (bird’s liver) with the juices of the shredded vegetables.

There are no Michelin list restaurants in the city.

How to get to?

From Granada 55 min (54.3 km) via N-432

From Jaén 57 min (70.7 km) via Autovía del Olivar/A-316 and N-432

From Seville 2 hr 35 min (219 km) via A-4

From Madrid 4 hr 7 min (413 km) via A-4

Main information

Area: 262 km² (municipality)

Coordinates: 37°27′N 3°55′W

Population: 21 709 (municipality)

Languages: Spanish

Currency: Euro

Visa: Schengen

Time: Central European UTC +1


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