Luna Castle

One of the main sights in downtown Rota is the Luna Castle, which was built in 1295 and given by Sancho IV to Alonso Perez de Guzman (Guzman el Bueno). The castle is now the site of the City Hall, which has a pleasing patio.

Guzman El Bueno was a famous general who defended in 1296 the town of Tarifa on behalf of Sancho IV of Leon and Castile. The town had recently captured from the Moors. Guzman held the castle of Tarifa against the siege of the Moors and the Infante Don Juan, Sancho's rebellious brother. Guzman had previously placed his son under the care of Don Juan, who threatened to kill the son unless Guzmán surrendered the city.

According to legend, Guzman rejected the demand with dramatic words: "I did not beget a son to be made use of against my country, but that he should serve her against her foes. Should Don Juan put him to death, he will but confer honor on me, true life on my son, and on himself eternal shame in this world and everlasting wrath after death."

Guzman punctuated his words by throwing his own knife down for the besiegers to use in killing his son. He was rewarded by large grants of crown land. The ducal title was conferred by John II in 1445 on one of his descendants, Juan Alonzo de Guzman, count of Niebla.