Luna Castle

 

 

One of the main sights downtown 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. The ground plan of the small castle is rectangular and there are five small towers. The patio is in the middle of the castle. The castle was renovated in 1987 and this was finished in 1999 to become the site of the City Hall. In 1949 the castle was named as a site of cultural interest by the government. The tourist office of the town can be found in the castle.

 

 

Guzman El Bueno defended in 1296 the town of Tarifa on behalf of Sancho IV of Leon and Castile. Guzmán had been given charge of Tarifa, recently captured from the Moors.  Guzmán held the castle of Tarifa against the siege of the Moors and the Infante Don Juan, Sancho's rebellious brother. Guzmán's son had been placed under the care of Don Juan who threatened to kill the captive unless Guzmán surrendered the city. According to legend, Guzmán rebuffed 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 Guzmán, count of Niebla.