The Gibralfaro was built in 929 AD by Abd-al-Rahman III, Caliph of Cordoba, on a site previously used by the Phoenicians as a lighthouse, which explains the name: gebel-faro meaning rock of the lighthouse in Arabic and Greek.
Together with the central Alcazaba behind the Roman theatre, it forms a monumental complex in the city centre.
The castle was besieged by the Catholic monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, who starved the inhabitants into submission. Apparently, it was the first siege in which gunpowder was employed by both armies.
Today, the castle houses a museum.