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To History and popular knowledge the conquest of Muslim Córdoba is marked by the great feat of the Colodro Gate. Now disappeared, the gate was part of the wall of the Northern Axerquía, where a group of almogavars –of Saracen origin, they were light infantry shock troops heavily involved during the Reconquista– climbed and stormed the city for the first time. This is all true but it doesn’t end there, the story of the assault is a bit longer than that. It lasted all night and at dawn the militia from Martos (Jaen) managed to storm Puerta del Sol (the Sun Gate) –from that point forward known as Puerta de Martos (Martos Gate), also disappeared– and entered the city through our dear Viento street; back then it led to that famous gate.

Álvar Colodro and Benito de Baños led a small group of almogavars that knew of an inattention of the guards in the wall of the then decadent city of Córdoba. They decided to take the wall taking advantage of a weak spot in the northern Axerquía, where there were mostly orchards and very few houses. The night of the 23rd of January of 1236 they managed to climb the wall surprising the Muslim guards but they didn’t climb down, instead they quietly sweep the wall killing the off-guarded sentinels.

Back then the almogavars were sort of an elite force kept in the vanguard of war, they were frontiersmen that spoke perfect Arab and often were preferred for espionage duties and ambushes, they were highly prepared and trained warriors. They were the sort of force that could advance all night neutralizing the Arab watch and take the Martos Gate at dawn.

Once the gate was opened infantry and cavalry troops entered the city commanded by Pedro Ruíz Tafur and Martín Ruíz de Argote. The Andalusian troops, on the other hand, were, by then, expecting them at the very Martos Gate but were crushed by the cavalry in Viento street. Due to the fierce Christian attack the Muslims sought refuge in the medina as the walls there were stronger and better prepared. In the medina the city was able to withstand the siege for 5 months. Finally, the 29th of June of 1236, the struggles of battle and the lack of food forced the surrender of the city to Fernando III, who inspired by the great deed accomplished by the almogavars came to the siege of the city.

Who could have thought that such an event could have taken place in the exiguous Viento street: the first Christian ground in the city of Córdoba in 700 years. In 1755 the earthquake that destroyed Lisbon and swept away the city of Huelva, also damaged this part of the wall and the gate to the point of demolition. With the wall and the gate gone, the only remain of this great feat by the almogavars is the old and quiet Martos Mill; once, a long time ago, with its ten milling stones, the most important mill of the city, today an exhibition room of the Royal Botanic Garden of Córdoba.



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