Spain/Andalusia: Arcos de la Frontera

Seemingly all the mountain pueblo blanco villages have 3-4 words in their name….. next was Arcos de la Frontera, another ridgetop medieval town packed to the rim with ancient buildings, churches, squares, and castles. Arcos de la Frontera was an independent and thriving Moorish taifa (aka kingdom) after the collapse of the Córdoba caliphate. It was a major settlement, replete with defensive walls and other fortifications. After the conquest by Christians under Alfonso X, he chose to even further fortify the town as the main border town of Christianity. An already huge castle was almost entirely rebuilt into Castillo de Arcos. The town is fantastic and feels like you are walking in the casbah of Tripoli or Algiers – narrow dark alleyways and overhangs and bridges connecting buildings above your head – all have a distinct Arabic architecture feel, except almost every block there is a medieval Christian cathedral. Also, the lower town streets are full of spectacular decorative orange trees that are almost breaking under the heavy fruit load.