The Bobastro ruins
The ruins at Bobastro are one of the most unusual archaeological sites in Spain. Bobastro is located in an area known as Mesas de Villaverde, some 10 kms from Álora and about the same distance from El Chorro, right in the heart of the Desfildares del Chorro natural area.
It was at Bobastro, that General Umar Ibn Hafsun (or Omar Ben Hafsun), united Mozárabs and other Islamic groups to defend country life in opposition to the Umayyads. From these inaccessible hilltops, he headed the rebellion against the Emirate of Cordoba, Abdullah Ibn Muhammad, in the 9th and early 10th centuries. The rebellion he lead had a few notable victories, with Umar Ibn Hafsun successfully rallying groups of Mozárabs and Mullawads, who under the rule of the Emir of Cordoba suffered high taxes (Mozárabs at the time had to pay the jizyah, a personal tax, and were subjected to a number of religious, social, and economic restrictions that came with their status). He quickly gained influence, land and castles in Málaga, Granada, Jaén and Seville. As his empire grew, General Ibn Hafsun moved from the castle at Bobastro to the more centrally located town of Poley, now known as Aguilar de la Frontera. It was at Poley, that he suffered a massive defeat and had to retreat back into the mountains and the almost impregnable fortress of Bobastro. By all accounts, the Muladi rebel leader was a colourful character who regularly switched allegiances and made the huge strategical mistake of converting to Christianity in 899, costing him most of his Muslim support. It was around this time that he built the Mozárab church. Umar Ibn Hafsun died in 917 of natural causes and left his sons to carry on the rebellion he started. Bobastro eventually fell to Abd-ar-Rahman III's armies in 928. The remains of Umar Ibn Hafsun and one of his sons were dug up and crucified near the doors of the Great Mosque of Córdoba as a warning to others.
Castillo de La Estrella
Estrella Castle, locally known as Castillo de La Estrella or Castillo de Teba, lies on a hill next to the village of Teba in the province of Málaga in Spain.
Estrella Castle was probably built somewhere in the 10th century by the Moors. During the 12th and 13th century, under Almohad rule, the castle was strengthened and enlarged.
In 1330 Estrella Castle was besieged by the Christian troops of Alfonso XI, King of Castile. At that time the castle was known as Hisn Atiba to the Moors and simply as Teba to the Christians. When Muhammed IV, Sultan of Granada, reacted by sending an army led by a Berber general, Uthman bin Abi-l-Ulá, to relieve the defenders, the Battle of Teba ensued in the valley below the castle. This battle was won by Alfonso and Estrella Castle fell into Christian hands. Alfonso ceded the castle to the Order of Santiago.
Fighting in the army of Alfonso were also several foreign knights, Scottish, English and Portuguese, led by the Scottish Sir John Douglas, the 'Black Douglas'. He carried with him a silver casket containing the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce, King of Scots. Robert the Bruce had died the year before and had asked his friend and lieutenant, Sir James Douglas, that when he was dead James should take the king's embalmed heart and bear it with him on a crusade, thus fulfilling the pledge that Bruce had been unable to fulfill in his lifetime. Complying to his king's last wish James Douglas, together with some 30 other Scottish knights, had offered his services to Alfonso. However, the Black Douglas and most of the other Scottish knights died during the Battle of Teba. Douglas' body, together with the casket containing the embalmed heart of Bruce, were recovered after the battle. His bones, the flesh boiled off them, and the casket were taken back to Scotland by Douglas' surviving companions.
In the middle of the 15th century Estrella Castle passed into the hands of Juan Ramírez de Guzmán, whose descendants would receive the title of Count of Teba in 1552.
Somewhere in the 17th century the castle was abandoned.
In 1811, during the Peninsular War, the remains of Estrella Castle were occupied by French troops who carried out some reconstruction works.
Estrella Castle is a hilltop castle. It consisted of a central alcazaba with a rectangular keep and an large outer ward. The curtain walls of this outer ward had numerous towers and 3 main gates. After its abandonment the ruins of the castle were used as a source of cheap building materials by the locals. This caused the disappearance of most of the outer ward and even the alcazaba was thoroughly stripped of its valuable ashlar blocks and windows.