Commanding magnificent views of Almería below and the Mediterranean Sea beyond, this hilltop fortress, with stone walls that surrounded the ancient medina (Old Town), is one of the largest Moorish complexes in Spain. Construction of the citadel began in the 10th century, and it continued to be modified and expanded well into the Middle Ages. The interior of the Alcazaba is divided into three walled compounds, the first two Islamic and the third Christian. The first section, where today there are gardens and an ornamental pond, was originally a densely populated area of winding streets and houses. The second section was once occupied by palaces, but the only original elements are the remains of several 10th-century cisterns; a reconstructed palace courtyard and two reconstructed Muslim houses now stand here. The third part, reached via a drawbridge, contains the ruins of a castle built by the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella in 1489, the year that the city was conquered by Christians.

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