Castles and fortifications in Spain

San Esteban de Gormaz Castle

The castle of San Esteban de Gormaz is one of the key castles that changed ruler once and again during the 10th and 11th century when it finally came under Christian domain. During the reign of King García I, king of Leon, it was reinforced giving place to a repopulation of the town. From there, soldiers would control transit through the Douro River and they would guard the bridge that passed over this river. Nowadays, w ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: San Esteban de Gormaz, Spain

Moguer Castle

Castillo de Moguer was renovated and enlarged in the 14th century. The oldest record document of castle dates from 1362, but it probably existed already in the Moorish age. The castle was built of mud-based mortar gravel, clay and lime. It is of an imperfect square plan 44 by 45 metres in size, with four towers at the corners. A moat surrounded the castle, as evidenced by written records, but is not currently visible. Ac ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Moguer, Spain

Fuentidueña de Tajo Castle

Fuentidueña  de Tajo Castle is a large, irregular building standing on a hill which dominates the Town and the Tagus River. It is believed to have been built during the 12th century and has been extended and rebuilt later on in the 14th century. It is related to the Kings, Alfonso VI and Alfonso VIII. It still has a wall and part of the cylindrical towers on the sides. The two sections composing it are separated by an ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Fuentidueña de Tajo, Spain

Monzón de Campos Castle

Monzón de Campos Castle was built in the 14th century by the Rojas family on the remains of an earlier castle which was contemporary one. The keep, made of high quality ashlar masonry, has no openings besides a couple of small arrow slits which gives it a severe appearance. The oldest part is the elevated entrance of the present tower of homage.The coat of arms on the pointed arch of the main gate belongs to the Rojas f ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Monzón de Campos, Spain

Monteagudo de las Vicarías Castle

Monteagudo de las Vicarías Castle was located in the centre of the town within the defensive walls that completely surrounded it and that can still be seen throughout the town. It was built between the 15th and 16th century by the Hurtado de Mendoza family, and it has towers and buttresses on the corners, a great indoor courtyard and an octagonal shaped keep. Recent restorations have been carried out on the battlement he ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Monteagudo de las Vicarías, Spain

Gérgal Castle

Gérgal Castle was built somewhere during the Late Middle Ages during Muslim rule. By 1492 it had fallen into the hands of the Catholic Monarchs; Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. They donated the castle to Alonso de Cárdenas, Grand Master of the Order of Santiago, for outstanding services during the Granada War. During the 16th century it played an important defensive role against the inland ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Gérgal, Spain

Almenar Castle

Almenar castle was built in the 15th century over the remains of an older castle that can still be seen today. It originally belonged to the Bravo de Laguna and Saravias y Ríos families, and till this day you can still see their coat of arms on the castle’s walls. It has a double-wall enclosure: in the interior one you can find the Keep and the weapon courtyard, and in the exterior one, you can see the defensive walls ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Almenar de Soria, Spain

Santa Gadea del Cid Castle

The small and picturesque town of Santa Gadea del Cid grew around its castle built in the 11th century and reformed in the 15th century by Pedro López de los Manrique.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Santa Gadea del Cid, Spain

Fuentidueña Castle

Located in the extreme north of the province of Segovia, Fuentidueña village rises above a narrow valley formed by the Duratón River, a unique geographical location that explains the importance of the town during the Middle Ages. The Villa was walled on its north, south and west sides with a clearly defensive function. On the other hand, there is an impressive rock cut that makes defense very easy. Intramural access is ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Fuentidueña, Spain

Magaña Castle

The castle of Magaña is considered to be one of the most important castles from the 15th century in the province of Soria. This castle is in better condition than what we are used to seeing in the area and the best way to contemplate its majestic silhouette is from the road on the way towards Fuentes de Magaña or from the highest parts of the town. You will be able to see all the plants that have reclaimed its walls con ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Magaña, Spain

Cártama Castle

The Cartama Castle is located in the Monte de la Virgen (Mount of the Virgin), where the Hermitage of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios is also located and where it is possible to be enjoyed some impressive panoramic views. Cártama Castle was built by the Moors in the early Middle Ages. During the Mozarabic revolt of Omar ibn Hafsun, between 881 and 914 AD, Cártama stayed loyal to the Caliphate of Córdoba and the castle ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Cártama, Spain

Casa Fuerte de la Cruceta

The Casa Fuerte de la Cruceta was finished in 1773 for the purpose of housing cavalry units. The fortress was one of the westernmost defensive positions built in the 18th century by King Charles III of Spain to defend the area of Almería and the Cabo de Gata. It was originally intended to house soldiers who were tasked with guarding the areas between Torre García and Perdigal. The King approved plans for its constructio ...
Founded: 1773 | Location: Almería, Spain

Yanguas Castle

To the west of the Yanguas town, on the edge of the cliff, is a limestone castle that controlled the access to the Ebro valley. It is not certain when it was first built and it is possible that it was built when Yanguas received its own town charter. However, the architectonical style suggests that it was built in the 14th century. Recent restoration works have given the castle back the dignity it deserves to be a herita ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Yanguas, Spain

San Lorenzo del Puntal Fortress

San Lorenzo del Puntal Castle is one of the oldest fortifications in Cádiz, built in 1587. It was attacked by British-Dutch fleet in 1595 without conquest. However, it was destroyed by another attack in the early 17th century and rebuilt in 1629.
Founded: 1587 | Location: Cádiz, Spain

Peroja Castle

The origins of Peroja Castle are uknown. It may be built as part of the defence line in 793 by the King of Asturia. The current ruins date probably from the 13th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: A Peroxa, Spain

Aunqueospese Castle

The construction of the Aunqueospese Castle was started in 1490 by Pedro Dávila, lord of Villafranca and captain of the Duke of Alba. The castle was completed in 1504 by Esteban Dávila.
Founded: 1490 | Location: Mironcillo, Spain

Osma Castle

The Castle of Osma is a medieval castle which seems to have been built in the 10th century. It was built in stone, although Count Gonzalo Tello used some Roman structures and materials which belonged to a small Christian fortress. The castle is divided into three walled enclosures which can be easily distinguished. Nowadays you can see the ruins of this fortress which adapts perfectly to the rocky hill between the Ucero ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Burgo de Osma, Spain

Íscar Castle

The first written mention of Íscar was in the year 939 AD in Muslim chronicles. The remaining Christians reconquered Iscar in 1086 AD. Build on the ruins of its ancient fortress, Iscar’s Castle stands majestic looking over the village. The oldest preserved parts of this fortress (probably dating back to the 13th century) are remains of the curtain wall and the inside structure of the tower. To provide a defence against ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Íscar, Spain

Marchenilla Castle

Marchenilla Castle was built during the times of Muslim domination, in the 11th and 12th centuries, although after the Reconquest by Ferdinand III is when it acquired its definitive layout. Important development was still taking place right up to the late 15th and early 16th century. The Castle is located on a promontory which is high enough to completely dominate the surroundings, in the same place as previous human set ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Alcalá de Guadaíra, Spain

Belalcázar Castle

The castle-palace of Belalcázar is one of the most representative of the 15th century, when the nobility attempted to demonstrate its social and economic status. Built entirely of stone blocks, Belalcazar preserves two enclosures: an outer barrier adapted to the irregularities of the land and reinforced with rectangular towers, and the inner rectangular castle-palace with eight towers, one at each corner and another in ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Belalcázar, 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.