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Castell de Ferro's fortress. Juan Enrique Gómez
Castell de Ferro: A lonely castle until it was safe to settle
THE STORY BEHIND A PLACE NAME

Castell de Ferro: A lonely castle until it was safe to settle

Local historian Miguel Montes believes the fortress was given its modern name, which means 'iron castle', by Catalan fishermen

Jennie Rhodes

Castell de Ferro

Monday, 12 February 2024, 09:27

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The seaside village of Castell de Ferro is in the municipality of Gauchos on Granada province's Costa Tropical. It gets its name from the castle of the same name, which some believe is of Roman origin.

Concha Casas, a historian and former columnist for SUR's sister paper in Granada, Ideal, published a book in 2018 called 'Gualchos Castell de Ferro. One municipality, two stories'.

In the book she explains that the village's history goes back to the Neolithic period. Casas goes on to explain that the actual castle in Castell del Ferro dates back to Spain's Islamic period, but adds, "It could also be earlier, although there is no data that confirms it."

According to local historian Miguel Montes, Castillo de Hierro' or 'iron castle' in English, has been known as a number of names over the centuries. These include: Ara de Qermellach before the 12th century, at which point it became 'Masalferruch'. Between the 15th and the 18th century it was known by its Arabic name 'Castil de Ferro'.

Montes believes it was the influence of Catalan fishermen who frequented the area in the 18th century that led to its current name, Castell de Ferro, meaning 'iron castle' in Catalan.

Casas explains that in the surroundings of the castle evidence was found of what is thought to have been soldiers' houses and also houses belonging to local fishermen. She also points out that as the castle is located on the coast, "at a time when invasions of the Moors and pirates were continuous and permanent, nobody wanted to settle".

She goes on to say that it wasn't until the end of the reign of Carlos III (1759-1788) when a peace agreement was signed with the King of Morocco that the first settlers arrived in Castell de Ferro, but Casas says that even when in 1805 the first chapel was built in Castell, it was still "not considered a village".

In February 2023 emergency restoration work was carried out on the castle which is a listed building.

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