On our visit to Camelot (sorry: Coca!) we were joined by local expert David Rubio, who, with a group of friends is endeavouring to develop a better understanding of the history and archaeology of the castle and the town, and to post the information on his castle website.
The castle is unique in Spain, with an unusual Mudéjar style dating back to the XII century; the epoch of Coca’s greatest glory. Its importance explains why it has the biggest moat of all Castilla.
Part of the old town wall still exists, as well as three of Coca’s original eight churches.
Like so many of Spain’s castles it was abandoned for a long period of time by its decadent aristocratic owners until its restoration in the 1960s.
David also informed us that in front of the castle you can find the ‘Fonda-Restaurante’ Villa Paquita, where some of the actors slept and ate during filming, including Richard Harris and Franco Nero, whose signature in the visitors’ book is still to be seen.
Filming lasted approximately two months and supposed a boom in the economy of what was then an out-of-the-way provincial town.
Just to the south of the castle a ‘circus’ consisting of caravans, tents and a canteen was set up. Various animals were hired, and as the schools closed at midday, the teachers would take the children to watch the shooting in the afternoon. Most enjoyable were the knights fighting on horseback and the spectacular falls of the stuntmen.
On the west side of the castle various trees were cut down and a bridge was built as well as an area of small fields with crops to give the appearance of happy peasanty labour.