Intervention on the Castle of Jimena de la Frontera
Silver Medal Award 2015 organised by Spanish Association of Friends of the Castles.
The Castle in Jimena de la Frontera is located in the south eastern border of the province of Cádiz and the Los Alcornocales Nature Reserve, constituting the original settlement of the present city of Jimena de la Frontera. The compound colonizes a hill strategically located in the natural path between the Serranía de Ronda and Algeciras’s Bay, which is one of the reasons why it has been uninterruptedly occupied since the VIII century B.C. until the XIX century, when it was militarily reorganized for the last time during the Independence War. In a landscape of extraordinary beauty, its structures design a scenario filled with complex and intense relationships – inside and outside of the compound limits – which lends a great potentiality to the settlement.
Throughout the last decade, several important archaeological research campaigns have been undertaken. These have allowed to design the initial phase of restoration that affects the compound´s oriental sector, façade over which the urban profile of Jimena is silhouetted, and that was left in a poor conservation status.
The restoration works follow a minimum intervention criterion restoring the value of the brick work´s antiquity and the singularity of the compound. From the Islamic door, also known as the Clock´s Door up to the Alcázar, paths and walkways are designed to link the different significant elements of the castle: towers, walls, tanks, cisterns, housing, etc. The visit spans out towards the exterior as one more itinerary of the Natural Reserve, offering views of the landscape and the city of Jimena. Mimicked with the surroundings, its course runs between the foundations of the Roman Oba and the medieval Xemina and introduces order into the complex geometry that the archaeological remains define on a hillside in which everything that emerges is of great value. By intertwining the natural pathways with the historical road that rises from the urban fabric, the castle turns into the authentic entry to the Los Alcornocales Nature Reserve.