Estrella Castle, locally known as Castillo de La Estrella or Castillo de Teba, lies on a hill next to the village of Teba in the province of Málaga in Spain.
Estrella Castle was probably built somewhere in the 10th century by the Moors. During the 12th and 13th century, under Almohad rule, the castle was strengthened and enlarged.
In 1330 Estrella Castle was besieged by the Christian troops of Alfonso XI, King of Castile. At that time the castle was known as Hisn Atiba to the Moors and simply as Teba to the Christians. When Muhammed IV, Sultan of Granada, reacted by sending an army led by a Berber general, Uthman bin Abi-l-Ulá, to relieve the defenders, the Battle of Teba ensued in the valley below the castle. This battle was won by Alfonso and Estrella Castle fell into Christian hands. Alfonso ceded the castle to the Order of Santiago.
Fighting in the army of Alfonso were also several foreign knights, Scottish, English and Portuguese, led by the Scottish Sir John Douglas, the 'Black Douglas'. He carried with him a silver casket containing the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce, King of Scots. Robert the Bruce had died the year before and had asked his friend and lieutenant, Sir James Douglas, that when he was dead James should take the king's embalmed heart and bear it with him on a crusade, thus fulfilling the pledge that Bruce had been unable to fulfill in his lifetime. Complying to his king's last wish James Douglas, together with some 30 other Scottish knights, had offered his services to Alfonso. However, the Black Douglas and most of the other Scottish knights died during the Battle of Teba. Douglas' body, together with the casket containing the embalmed heart of Bruce, were recovered after the battle. His bones, the flesh boiled off them, and the casket were taken back to Scotland by Douglas' surviving companions.
In the middle of the 15th century Estrella Castle passed into the hands of Juan Ramírez de Guzmán, whose descendants would receive the title of Count of Teba in 1552.
Somewhere in the 17th century the castle was abandoned.
In 1811, during the Peninsular War, the remains of Estrella Castle were occupied by French troops who carried out some reconstruction works.
Estrella Castle is a hilltop castle. It consisted of a central alcazaba with a rectangular keep and an large outer ward. The curtain walls of this outer ward had numerous towers and 3 main gates. After its abandonment the ruins of the castle were used as a source of cheap building materials by the locals. This caused the disappearance of most of the outer ward and even the alcazaba was thoroughly stripped of its valuable ashlar blocks and windows.
At present the ruins of Estrella Castle are freely accessible. This is a great castle at a beautiful location which you should visit when in the area. There is a small museum in the keep but this was closed when I visited.