For more than a thousand years, the battlements of El Castillo de Matrera, in Cádiz, southern Spain, have withstood the alternating onslaughts of Moors and Christians and the pummelling of torrential rain. A recently completed restoration project, intended to shore up the the 2-metre-thick walls of the castle after its ruins were severely damaged by rains three years ago, has provoked an incredulous reaction from some locals and a Spanish conservation group.
The castle was constructed in the ninth century and has been a National Monument since 1949.
But a recent restoration of the privately-owned castle has had locals and historians up in arms about what many of them class as a "botch job".
"They used builders instead of restorers, they’ve wrecked it," one local said.
The castle was built by Umar ibn Hafsun, a Christian anti-Ummayad leader in southern Spain, before being conquered by San Fernando.
By the fourteenth century it had fallen back into Muslim hands before being conquered definitively by Alfonso XI in 1341.
The site has been a National Monument since 1949 and was declared a Site of Cultural Interest by the Spanish government in 1985.
"The consolidation and restauration (so-called by the project’s architects)… is absolutely terrible," the organisation Hispanianostra, which campaigns to preserve Spain’s cultural heritage, have said.
"No words are needed, you just need to look at the photographs," they added.
The architect behind the restoration has defended the project; Carlos Quevado, said that the aim was not to demolish the ruins but show, as best as possible, what the original castle would have looked like.
"The building has a very important historical value as well as architectural," Quevado added.