Arabs and Christians fought on its walls. Since it was built at the end of the 12th century, Teba castle has played an important role in the development of civilisations in the Guadalteba region and the whole of Malaga province.
It is one of the largest and best preserved castles in all of Andalucía; it has been practically unaltered since it was built and it has been maintained without being changed by the many peoples who have inhabited it.
Now, the monument will be central to a recently approved plan in which the Junta de Andalucía and Teba council will set aside two million euros in order to adapt the walled fortress, which is more than 25,000 square metres, and convert it into one of the greatest tourist and cultural sites in the region.
The site also has a unique place in British history. In 1329, Robert Bruce, King of Scots, asked his lieutenant, Sir James Douglas, to embalm his heart and carry it on a crusade.
On his way to the Holy Land, Douglas and his men stopped to help King Alfonso XI of Castile to capture the Castle of Teba from the Arabs.
Although Alfonso won the battle, Douglas was killed and his body, and the heart of his king, were returned to Scotland.
There is a memorial to him in the town.
On a cold and cloudy morning, the councillor for culture, Alba González; the town councillor for historical heritage, Juan Fuentes; and the person in charge of the monument, Maite Díaz, met with SUR to show the castle and its visitor centre.
Díaz tell us that the approval of the long-term plan detailing the castle's renovation, is cause “for celebration” in the town, and recalls a time when she tried to initiate the project before, in the time of the now defunct Guadalteba consortium: “The current needs of the castle are very different to those of ten years ago, when the report for the original project was written up.”
The original idea was that the it would take place over fifteen years.
The organisers now assure us that the agreement is to speed up the renovation process in order to reduce the waiting time.
Furthermore, the town hall has agreed to put some of its budget towards the project every year to make sure that it doesn't come to a standstill.
The first step has already been made clear: carry out a geological study in order to identify which areas of the castle's grounds are of significant archaeological value.
Before starting on the adaptation of the entrances and on the building itself, the council needs to know if there are undiscovered archaelogical remains underground - “and I'm sure there will be”-, so that they can begin without setback.
The site has yet to be fully excavated by architects. When this work finishes, the next step will be to restrucutre the entrances, pave over some of the grass, and reinforce some of the weakest parts of the castle.
The plan lays out three stages. The first includes the complete enclosure of the castle walls and some of the most urgent works, such as making sure that the foundations of the structure are safe and stable. This phase consists of five separate aspects, which will soon be under way.
The second stage focuses on attracting visitors beyond the local area. It also includes the conversion of the Tore del Homenaje tower into a visitor centre and the preservation of the oldest parts of the castle, especially those which have been completely unaltered since the castle's initial construction.
The final stage of the plan lays out steps to make the monument look more attractive, including the creation of green areas and pathways inside the castle itself.
When the construction has finished, the castle, which has played a huge role in Teba's history and was written about by King Alfonso XI in his memoirs, will again become a local icon of huge significance.