Albarrana tower

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Albarrana tower in the town of Talavera de la Reina
Paderne castle (Portugal)
One of the 2 albarrana towers in the castle of Santa Catalina in Jaén
Albarrana tower in the castle of Loulé (Portugal)

An Albarrana tower (from the arabic word barrani = exterior) is a defensive tower detached from the wall and connected to it by a bridge or an arcade.[1]

They were built by Muslims when they occupied Iberian Peninsula between the 8th and the 15th centuries, especially from the 12th century during the Almohad dynasty and mainly in the south of Spain where the Islamic influence was the longest. In Spanish, they are called torre albarrana.[1]

The towers of standard appearance with a square section were built several meters in front of the curtain wall. They were accessible by a bridge walkway from the curtain wall. More often, the bridge had a removable wooden section allowing the tower to be isolated from the wall if the tower is occupied by attacking forces.[1]

In France and the north of Europe, flanking towers remained a part of the wall. Even the keep were sometimes built as a part of the wall instead of inside the yard at the center of the castle. They were philippian towers.

The main albarrana towers are :

Albarrana towers are quite confined in the Iberian Peninsula. In the other parts of the medieval Muslim world this defensive feature seems not to be used or was not preserved until today.[1]

Model of Pontefract Castle, Yorkshire

Possibly the only examples of albarrana towers in England can be found at Pontefract Castle. The castle now lies in ruins, but the two Albarrana towers are visible on the models of the castle.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Burton, Peter, Torre Albarrana, Castles of Spain, retrieved 29 July 2014 

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