Castillo de Sabiote

Castillo de Sabiote. 23410, Sabiote How to get

Historic-Artistic Monument. Declared 06/03/1931. D. Leopoldo Torres Balbás pointed out in 1920 the relationship between the castle-palace of Canena and Sabiote with those of Calahorra (Granada) and VélezBlanco (Almería). Indeed, all of them are twinned, since they respond to the same idea: to ennoble and give fame to their promoters, great men of the Spanish Renaissance. In Calahorra, Don Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, Marqués del Zenete, in Vélez Blanco, Don Pedro Fajardo, and in Sabiote and Canena Don Francisco de los Cobos, the famous secretary of Emperor Carlos V. When Cobos acquired Sabiote y Canena in 1537 and 1539 respectively, had to conceive the idea of reforming or rebuilding the old medieval fortresses of both enclaves.


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The town of Sabiote, conquered in the 13th century by Ferdinand III, passed to the Order of Calatrava in 1257, remaining under its jurisdiction until its purchase by Cobos in the aforementioned year of 1537. The new defensive planning is due to the Order of Calatrava. from the ancient Islamic hisn; on it the Christian castle will be built. Masonry towers and walls are erected again, reinforcing the old Islamic defenses with the same material. Chronologically, the Calatravo castle of Sabiote can be located between the 13th-14th centuries.

This is the castle that Secretary Cobos acquired and on the whole of it he projected the great Renaissance reform, undoubtedly mediated by the old medieval structures. Until now, the construction process of both castles is unknown. The only data that testify that Cobos was the promoter are found in the Mayorazgo foundation (9/11/1541) and in his testament (May 4, 1547), in which he frees all his Christian slaves who served him in his house as in the construction of the castles of Sabiote and Canena.

In relation to military architecture, Cooper points to one of the best European engineers in the service of the Emperor: the Italian Benedetto de Ravenna. In any case, the importance of the castle of Sabiote lies in being the first of the preserved Spanish castles to apply the principles of bastioned fortification. If for the military project Cobos had Italian plans or even the direct participation of a military engineer, for the rest of the palatial factory everything points to the intervention of Andrés de Vandelvira. Chueca Goitia thinks that Vandelvira should have had the advice of a specialist in military architecture, leaving the rest in his hands. For our part, and without invalidating such appreciation, we think that both in Sabiote and Canena the participation of the architect Luis de Vega and the sculptor Esteban Jamete is more than likely.

Vandelvira, Luis de Vega and Jamete were working for Cobos in the first half of the 16th century in Úbeda and logically the bulk of the direction and execution of the works of the two castles had to fall on them. The essential works of the new Renaissance factory of the castle of Sabiote were developed between the years 1537 to 1543, date this carved in the beautiful shield that presides over the main patio; other interventions have been documented in the seventeenth century, the set being partially ruined in the nineteenth.

The Renaissance castle completely masked the old medieval one by being incorporated and lined with the new curtains, platforms and towers made of regular masonry and ashlar masonry; Mailbox and oval embrasures, espingardas, casemate, crenellated piled up to house beautiful shields, and many other details make the exterior of the Sabiote castle an imposing factory facing the town. The access is ennobled with a doorway with grotesques and the arms of Cobos and María de Mendoza. Once inside, and after crossing a grandiose carpanel arch, the spectacle that is presented to us is somewhat desolate as the ruin floods the complex, especially in the space occupied by the patio and the outbuildings, of which mere vestiges they remember a splendid past.

However, thanks to the cleaning work of the years 1981-82 we can get an idea of ??the wealth and beauty of the patio, since numerous pieces came to light: shafts, bases, bases, capitals, cornices, spandrels, heraldry, balusters, shoes, etc .; This consisted of two pandas on three of its sides, as the fourth is delimited by the great curtain that runs from the keep to the entrance to the fortress; the lower group was articulated with semicircular arches lowered into Ionic columns, the upper one-lintelled- with balustraded parapet, bases, Ionic columns and footings. The quality of the carvings, as well as their perfect stereotomy, make this patio one of the most outstanding pieces of our Renaissance palatial architecture.