Citadel of Tarifa

In 960, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III ordered the construction of a fortress in Tarifa, which was the beginning of the small town.

It is possible that the attack in 955 by the Fatimid armies against Almeria led to the decision to build this fortress, used to house a garrison to ensure control of the Straits of Gibraltar. The construction was strengthened by the Almohads in the mid twelfth century.

When the Almoravids took control of Al-Andalus, Tarifa became one of the keys to the defence of the Straits of Gibraltar. However, the town only became a base for the Maghrib soldiers, because of its port, after the arrival of the Almohads. In 1146, Abd al-Mu'min moved his army from Algeciras to the Isle of Tarifa (Isla de las Palomas). In 1231, the Almohads abandoned the city, which passed into the hands of Ibn Hud of Murcia and was eventually conquered by king Sancho IV of Castile (1258–1295).

The caliphate fortress is trapezoidal and flanked by around fifteen slightly protruding rectangular towers, which have largely been reconstructed[1]. The fortress is surrounded by an imposing wall of defence on all sides, one of whose sections merges into the cliff. The fortress has two entrances: one on the western side, which is straight and preceded by a chicane entrance in the defence wall; there is another on the eastern side, which links the fortress with the city.

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Keywords: Tarifa, Citadel, Fortifications, Cadiz, Spain



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