A royal document by Monarch Enrique III the Sufferer, dated in October 1404, read: "As for the information I have regarding the maravedises (old Spanish coin) that have been spent in these works, if there are any left, they should be spent in the works of Mal-muerta Tower and its wall walks". This document, refering to the funding of the restoration works of Malmuerta Tower, proves the existence, before 1404, of a defensive tower, located in the same place as the current one, which was therefore previous to the one we know today.
The tower we know nowadays with the name of Malmuerta was built between the years 1404 and 1408, inspired in Seville Gate in the neighbourhood of Alcázar Viejo, which, as we already mentioned in a previous section, is a defensive tower connected to the wall through two round arches. In this case, it only has one arch, which was a wall walk to get to the tower from the wall. ... [Read more...]
Malmuerta Tower is made of stone and it has an octagonal floor with semipyramids at the base as a reinforcement. It is crowned by battlement, under which there is a decorative losange-type frieze, decorated with rhombus and geommetrical shapes. The opening of the loopholes were prepared for crossbows to be put there, so that they were fixed and the crossbowmen could use them more effectively.
Under the arch there is a double stone frame, where we can see Monarch Enrique III’s crest and an inscription that reads: "In the name of God. In order for good deeds not to be forgotten, tonight the most powerful King Enrique commissioned this to be built and the foundations were started by Doctor Pedro Sánchez, Chief Magistrate of this city. It was started in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ MCCCCIV during the Bishopric of Fernando Deza… and it was finished in the year MCCCCVIII".
With time, the nature of the name clearly had an influence on the imagination of the people from Córdoba, and they created a wide range of legends around Malmuerta Tower (Malmuerta: badly dead). There are all kinds and for all tastes, such as the one about a necromancer Moor, who allegedly built it and hid there a great treasure. The legend said that, when a knight, riding his horse, read the sign located under the arch, the tower would collapse and the treasure would appear.
The most popular legend joined fantasy and the historical fact of the death of the Knight Commanders of Córdoba which, grosso modo, is: Fernán Alonso de Córdoba was married to Beatriz de Hinestrosa, who had extramarital relationships with Jorge de Solier y Fernández de Córdoba, Knight Commander of Cabeza del Buey. Fernán knows about his wife’s infidelity and, one night of August 1448, killed Jorge, his brother Fernando, also Knight Commander, his wife Beatriz and his three servants. After the massacre, he escaped from the city, but he took advantage of a letter of immunity signed by King Juan II, according to which that who served in the front of Antequera for a year would be absolved, no matter what crime he had committed. After that year, Fernán came back to Córdoba.
Juan Rufo told this story in his long romance "Los Comendadores de Córdoba" (The Knight Commanders of Córdoba), although he changed it to a great extent: the main character was coming back from a shoot, and the victims were placed in Fernando’s house, where they were killed. On the other hand, Lope de Vega wrote a play with the same title, "Los Comendadores de Córdoba" (1596), following the plot suggested in Juan Rufo’s poem, but without naming the main characters.
And that is when popular legend comes into scene, adding that, as a compensation for the deaths, Fernán was sentenced to erect Malmuerta Tower, which is not likely to have happened, as it happened forty years after the building of the tower.
After finally losing its military function, this central building was an astronomical observatory during the 18th century, gunpowder storehouse or fumigation chamber in times of great epidemics. In the 20th century, former Mayor Alfonso Cruz Conde adapted the inner room for the "exaltation of the people from Córdoba who took part in the epic accomplishment of Columbus".
Numerous postcards from the last century show a Malmuerta Tower freed from those new buildings, which, in spite of being higher, they cannot take away its monumental character and beauty.