Huelva Province - Niebla

San Martin Church. © Michelle Chaplow
San Martin Church.

The village of Niebla is located roughly 30km to the southeast of Huelva city and 60km from Seville on the shores of the río Tinto. It is located on plain land. With a population of roughly 4000 inhabitants, its relatively small number of inhabitants does not reflect the amount of beauty and archaeological heritage that can be found within its ancient walls and buildings. Niebla literally means "fog" in Spanish, a name that might relate to its relative proximity to the Atlantic coast. It is a town that begs to be explored by foot.

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History

Niebla's history stretches back roughly 3000 years. More >

THINGS to see

The Alcázar, The Castle, and The Walls

Los Guzmanes Castle. © Michelle Chaplow
Los Guzmanes Castle.

The 15th century saw a great deal of construction in Niebla due to work of the 4th Earl of Niebla. However, this would be the last such effort for a good while. Beginning in the 16th century the town began to suffer from a decline in fortunes and lose its importance. Niebla suffered damage in 1755 by the Lisbon earthquake with a number of buildings collapsing. Its fortifications and many monuments would continue to decline until well into the 20th century. Most of what survives today stems from the 13th and 14th centuries. The castle constructions date to the latter of the 15th century.

The construction of the Alcázar started in 1402, when Don Enrique de Guzmán, the second Duke of Medinasidonia and the fourth of Niebla, pulled down the old Alcázar and to build the one we know today. The result was a magnificent royal palace which preserved the most interesting and luxurious parts built by the Arabs, such as the Muslim Tower of Homage, which was rebuilt so magnificently that was compared to the Giralda tower of Seville.

After the works of restoration made in the last few years, the Alcázar is now in good conditions. It has a rectangular structure divided by an inner wall which separates the patio of arms from the luxurious rooms intended as palace. This main structure has ten towers; six of them are square (four are on the corners -including the Tower of Homage - and two of them are at the ends of the inner wall). The other four are semicircular cubes alternated with the square ones. The walls go on from the Tower of Homage and the one located on the north-west angle to form a barbican surrounding the central building on the east, south and west sides. This barbican has six towers and joins the almohade wall near the Puerta de Sevilla and del Socorro. An adarve and a barbican built in the late 15th century completed the building.

The techniques of construction used were diverse and depended on the technical advances of that time, and on the availability of labour and building material of the site where the fortification was to be erected. The "tapias", walls built by means of plank linings either with mud, with or without stones, or with lime and pebbles, were the most common construction system used in medieval walls. In many fortifications of mudejar tradition, these walls had layers of brick and buttresses of the same material in the corners. Works made out of adobe were also profusely used in additional defensive walls in front of the gates against artillery between the late 15th century and the early 16th century.

Art Galleries

The Castillo y Alcázar de los Gúzmanes, the venue of the annual Niebla festival of music and dance, has permanent exhibits relating to armoury and falconry and also paintings, sketches and documents regarding ancient Arab science and medicine.

Calle Campo Castillo
Tel: 959 36 22 70
Opening Times:
Monday-Sunday, 10.00-15.00hrs

Hover the cursor over Niebla to see bigger map and click to go to the maps page.

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