Calahorra Tower, despite its exceptional location on the other side of the Roman Bridge, on the other bank of the historical centre of the city, is one of the least known and least popular monuments in Córdoba.
There have been many studies about the history of this building. However, researchers of our past have not been able to find a recognised and accepted theory. The most likely hypothesis is that the tower was built in Islamic times, and later reused and transformed in Christian times.
The original function of Calahorra Tower was purely defensive, since the bridge was an easy and quick access to the city due to the continuous war conflicts, thus it needed a defense mechanism to protect it. At first sight, it may seem a small building for such a purpose, but, due to its characteristics, it was more than enough.
It is thought to have had originally two towers, connected by a round arch, through which to access the bridge. But, around the year 1369, during the mandate of Monarch Enrique II of Trastámara, they decided to build a third tower, thus creating a cross-shaped floor with three arms, and two cylinders, located in the southeast and southwestern vertix of that cross. At that time, one more measure was taken: to slightly turn the last arch of the bridge towards the west, so that it bordered it on one of its sides, instead of crossing it.
The defensive system of the building is significant: strong walls, deep moat, as well as the numerous and narrow loopholes, where cannons and other artillery pieces were located, or its pyramidal battlement at the top, showing the enemy its role as an inviolable fortress.
The inside of Calahorra Tower consists of fourteen rooms in three floors, to which we must add the terrace. The bigger rooms, with a rectangular floor, are located in the centre, whereas the smaller ones, with a square floor, can be found in the arms of the cross. Like in the outside, inside the tower there is barely any decoration, except for its architectonic elements themselves.
We already know the purpose for which the building was erected, but the truth is that it has had others along its long history. During most of the 18th century, for example, it was used as a prison, where foreign soldiers were imprisoned, most of them from Cádiz port. At the end of that century, during an epidemic that lashed the city, the affected people were put in quarantine here. In the middle of the 19th century, the tower was a school for girls from the neighbourhood of Campo de la Verdad.
Nowadays, Calahorra Tower holds a permanent exhibition dedicated to the three cultures that lived in our city: Christian, Muslim and Jewish. It is run by Fundación Paradigma Córdoba, which continues the one founded in 1987, Fundación Roger Garaudy, created by philosopher Roger Garaudy (until 2010), which aims to spread the importance of these three cultures, who lived together in Córdoba during Caliphal times. You will find more information about the content of the exhibition in the section “Calahorra Tower– Live Museum of al-Andalus” in the section "Museums of Córdoba".
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