Castles and fortifications in Spain

Carcabuey Castle

The medieval castle of Carcabuey was the object of incursions by Ibn Hafsun at the end of the Emirate, being dominated and demolished by the emir Add-Allah in 892. Conquered by Fernando III, it was rebuilt according to the design of other fortifications, such as those in Fuengirola or Iznájar. From the mid-13th century, it belonged to the Order of Calatrava, until, in 1333, it was conquered by Muhammad IV of Gran ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Carcabuey, Spain

Maceda Castle

Originally built in the late 11th century, the Maceda Castle that we see today is a mixture of very different styles of construction. It comprises two concentric enclosures, the newer one dates from the 16th century.  
Founded: 11th century | Location: Maceda, Spain

Caracena Castle

Caracena Castle was first time mentioned in 1136. The primitive castle stood until the 15th century until it was demolished during the local conflict. In 1491, Alfonso Carrillo de Acuña, nephew of the archbishop of Toledo, obtained the lordship of Caracena and proceeded to rebuild the castle.
Founded: 1491 | Location: Caracena, Spain

Ucero Castle

The place dominated by the Ucero castle has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The castle is built on the site of an ancient Celtiberian castro. The site was first time mentioned in 1157 when Alfonso VII located the village of Sotos the Suso between Uxama and Ucero and there are documents that indicate that the castle already existed in the 13th century. It is estimated that the important hermit of San Juan de ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ucero, Spain

Castrodouro Castle

Castelo do Castrodouro is a small castle which once belonged to Pardo de Cela"s family. It dates probably from the 14th century.   
Founded: 14th century | Location: Alfoz, Spain

Santa Àgueda Castle

The Castle of Santa Àgueda is situated over an elongated plateau. The castle is accessed by an ancient Roman road. Next to the castle there was also, until recently, a chapel dedicated to Saint Agatha. The castle was built over an ancient Roman castra by the Arabs, when Menorca was part of the Caliphate of Cordoba. The exact date of its construction is not known, but it was prior to 1232. In 1287, it became the ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ferreries, Spain

Moeche Castle

Moeche Castle was built in the 14th century by the Andrades Family. It has an octogonal groundplan, and its walls are 10 m high and 3 m thick. Its gatekeep is 18 m tall and it is the only part of the castle protecting its walls from the outside. It was under siege and taken by the Irmandinos uprising. The Moeche Castle has been restored recently, but in order to visit the interior of the castle, you"ll have to requ ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Moeche, Spain

Mombeltran Castle

There may have been earlier castles at this site, but the Mombeltran castle we see today was built by Don Beltrán de la Cueva, the first Duke of Alburquerque. He placed his coat of arms and those of his successive spouses above the entrance gate. This makes us believe that the construction of the castle took place between 1462 and 1474. The castle was donated to Don Beltrán by King Enrique IV, in 1461. Because there&quo ...
Founded: 1462-1474 | Location: Mombeltrán, Spain

Rojas Castle

The castle of the Rojas is located on the top of a hill near the town of Poza de la Sal. At the end of the 9th century Count Diego Rodríguez Porcelos repopulated Poza building the castle for the defense of the new territory. Like other castles of this time it may have been a simple keep surrounded by some walls. In the 14th century Rodriguez de Rojas family rebuilt the current castle. It was occupied in 1808 by Fre ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Poza de la Sal, Spain

Tiedra Castle

Located on a hill, almost on the border of the province of Zamora, and within viewing distance of Villalonso Castle, the primitive Tiedra Castle is already mentioned in the 11th century. The present castle seems to date from the end of the 13th century and is in a bad state of conservation. It consists of a polygonal enclosure, with a perimeter of 115 meters, equipped with two circular towers. Near one of these there ar ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Tiedra, Spain

Castrotorafe Castle

The ruins of the ancient town of Castrotorafe, popularly known as Zamora la Vieja, are in San Cebrian de Castro, emplacement already located in the 12th century. It was a medieval defensive site which appeared on the banks of Esla River. It keeps the walls built with slate masonry and mortar, and has 4.709 square meters, including the castle, the hermitage and the walls. The best preserved is the castle, of two enclosur ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: San Cebrian de Castro, Spain

Castle of Sancti Petri

Situated on the little island, the defensive Sancti Petri fortification was once one of a series of forts that protected the inlet, Caño de Sancti Petri. Of irregular shape and in the Moorish style, it dates from the 13th century. During the 1st century, the Phoenicians settled on the island, founding a temple dedicated to Melqart, their god. When the Romans arrived they dedicated the temple to Hercules. The castle" ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: San Fernando, Spain

Castillo de Guardias Viejas

Castillo de Guardias Viejas is a battery built in 1769, near the rocky surface low rise of the Mediterranean Sea. Owned by the Regional Government of Andalusia, the municipality has carried out renovation work in the building, which houses a permanent exhibition of clothes and weapons of the Napoleonic era. It was restored in 1980. The castle is one of five forts in the town, next to the Moorish Tower Hill, the Square To ...
Founded: 1769 | Location: El Ejido, Spain

Aguilar de la Frontera Castle

Castillo de Aguilar is known from at least the 9th century. It is mostly in ruin, a part turned into a cistern for the local aqueduct. In the 9th century Aguilar de la Frontera became the headquarters of the rebel Umar ibn Hafsun, who built extensive fortifications and reinforced the castle. However, in 891, Umar ibn Hafsun lost the town to emir Abdallah ibn Muhammad of Córdoba. Due to its strategic position, it was cont ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Aguilar de la Frontera, Spain

Monleón Castle

Located at the western end of the Monleón village, next to a steep area that dominates the confluence of the Carnicero stream with the Alagón river, Monleón Castle was raised in the 13th century as part of the defensive walls that surround the village. Its groundplan is an irregular trapeze, with the keep in the middle. The north and east wall of the enclosure are built later than the others, to obtain a fortified per ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Monleón, Spain

Castle of Alba de Aliste

Castle of Alba de Aliste is located on the margins of the river Aliste. Today it lies in ruins. In the 12th century it belonged to the Knights Templar. Don Álvaro de Luna owned it in the 15th century. It became the capital of the county of Alba y Aliste under Enrique IV. It was built on the remains of an old Vetton fort in the 12th century and renovated in the 15th century, retaining only some walls and a tower, althoug ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Losacino, Spain

Coruña del Conde Castle

Coruña del Conde village contains the ruins of an ancient castle, later converted for use by Castilian counts, which sits atop a hill that looks over the town. The castle has its origins in the 10th century, when García I de León decided to repopulate the Douro valley.
Founded: 10th century | Location: Coruña del Conde, Spain

Lanjarón Castle

The Castle of  Lanjarón, locally known as the Moorish Castle, is a small medieval fortress located a quarter mile from the village. It is dominating on a rocky outcrop, the valley of the Lanjarón River, next to the Salado canyon. It is formed by two enclosures with some small sections of the outer wall. Signs of a tower are preserved; a bastion square, masonry at its bottom and above a adobe. At the south of the comple ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Lanjarón, Spain

Moclín Castle

Moclín Castle was built in the mid-13th century to help defend the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. It is also known as the Hins Al-Muqlin, (literally the fortress of the two pupils). It was built to mark the frontier between the kingdoms of Granada and Castile. The Castillo de Moclín was continuously besieged during the Hispano-Moorish settlement, falling into the hands of the Catholic Kings in 1486.  The castle is divided ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Moclín, Spain

Carbedo Castle

The exact age of Carbedo Castle is unkown, but it was documented first time in 1181. The last restorations were made in 1558, but the castle was abandoned soon after that.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Folgoso de Caurel, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.