Estepa’s keep or donjon is an albarrana tower built by the master-builder Santiaguista Lorenzo Suárez de Figueroa in the late 14th and early 15th century.
The building has an austere, rugged military silhouette. It is, without a doubt, the most remarkable architectural element of Estepa’s walled compound. It has a square plan with 13 13-metre long sides and 26 metres in height. Ashlar headers and stretchers alternate at the base, corners and around the openings. The rest of the walls are rammed-earth. Half of the volume is solid. It houses a square chamber covered by an octagonal ribbed Gothic vault. The nerves rest on corbels with five fig leaves, the family emblem of Lorenzo Suárez de Figueroa.
The keystone features the Cross of St James, the symbol of the “Encomienda” to which this town belonged from 1267 to 1559. Lobed windows grace the north and south sides. Traces of the corbels that supported the bartizans on the corners can still be seen.
The construction of the keep marked the culmination of the process by not only can the military elements of the lordship be traced, but also social, anthropological and even symbolic concepts associated with it. Known in Spanish as “señorialización”. The original construction works, which were completed in 1390, were the main limiting factor in the renovation works carried out on the entire western corner of the original compound.