Castle of La Tobaruela


Carretera A-311 Jabalquinto, km 3. 0, Linares

La Tobaruela is an example of the model of castle-residence that reflected the power of some noble lineages in the late middle ages and early Renaissance. Currently, their original morphology and appearance have remained intact since the 15th century, when the castle was built, but the outbuildings inside have been substantially modified. The fortification is privately owned, so it cannot be visited inside.

Unlike some older fortifications, the castle of La Tobaruela was not used for defensive purposes or as a watchtower, but as a residence for the noble families of the time. The castle is only four kilometres from Linares and easy to reach. Travellers who arrive at its gate find a building that is in a good state of conservation, despite the changes made over the years, particularly in the outbuildings.

The castle was probably built on the site of an older castle. At least, that is the argument alleged by the builder, Alonso Sánchez de Carvajal, to get around the Catholic Monarchs’ prohibition of building new fortresses. With that measure, the monarchs intended to put an end to the constant conflicts among the noble families. In fact, the castle of La Tobaruela was built in 1475, precisely at the time of the confrontations between Sánchez de Carvajal and Don Juan de Benavides, lord of Jabalquinto. To avoid asking for royal permission, which he knew would not be granted, Alonso justified the building of the castle with the renovation of an old fortress. This angered some citizens of Linares, who made sure their complaints reached the monarchs.

However, setting history aside, the first thing that draws attention when standing in front of the Tobaruela site is the huge round tower that rises above the path. Facing it stands the other tower, which is square. It may have been designed as the keep but was never finished. The ornaments over the main gate are clearly a symbol and representation of the power held by the noble families of the time. The façade, however, is in the sober Isabelline style, with two coats of arms of the castle’s owners framed over the gate.

The outside of the fortress retains most of the original structure but inside it has changed. The owners’ former rooms surround a patio with porticoes, although over the centuries the various owners changed their uses and distribution according to their preferences and priorities.