Read more Alcalá de Guadaíra

The castle is rich in legend. When the Christians reconquered it, they observed from the walls an eagle that always landed in the same place. On digging there they discovered the image of a Virgin, buried apparently by Christians during the Arab conquest of the city.

Another story tells of blind fish that adapted to and lived in the underground waterworks built by the ever-busy Romans.

The town and castle take their names from a Moorish Princess Aira, whose ghost it is claimed still haunts the castle and whose voice can still be heard there.

She had been promised to a Moorish prince, but in true West Side Story tradition, fell in love with a Christian prisoner instead. Helping him escape across the river, they were surprised and killed by her jilted would-be husband.

Having betrayed her father in this way, the gate she escaped through was thereafter called the Gate of Treason.

Prisoners there have been, and although none were particularly famous, they could tell a good story today.

Diego García de Padilla was kept prisoner in the well, lowered there by his brother in law King Pedro I of Castilla after the Battle of Nájera in 1367. There he monitored the water levels when the rain fell to see if he would drown, while in an underground wheat store, Bishop Juan de Cardellac also paid the price for opposing Pedro (aka Pedro the Cruel), and was not released until he was already insane.

The castle also has a dragon legend, a creature hatched from an egg under the castle, where it lived with its friend/master Yacub until it saved the Sultan’s life by burning to cinders a group of renegade warriors who attacked him.