THE CASTLE AND ITS HISTORY
Legend has it that while the Christian king Ferdinand III the Saint, was besieging Jaén in 1246 and when he was about to withdraw the siege of the city again ( it was the third time he did), the night before it, Santa Catalina of Alexandria appeared to him in a dream, showing him Jaén’s keys. This fact was taken by the king as a revelation. The Saint told him that, if he besieged longer, he would eventually conquer the city. The city was in the hands of Muslim King Alhamar, the future Nasrid king of Granada.
The day after the revelation, King Alhamar gave in the fortress and so the city to the Christian troops. King Ferdinand III was so grateful that Saint Catalina was declared the patron saint of the city, and he named the newly conquered fortress “Santa Catalina”.
Over time a chapel was built in the fortress in honour of Santa Catalina, so every November 25th, we celebrate Santa Catalina of Alexandria feast, it is a public holiday in the city. A popular pilgrimage takes place every year on the hill that bears her name and remembers that fact.