Castles and fortifications in Spain

Olvera Castle

Olvera castle was built in the late 12th century as part of the defensive system of the Emirate of Granada. The castle was seized from the original Moorish builders and occupants and redesigned and expanded under King Alfonso XI in 1327. Situated at the highest point of the town, the castle has an irregularly-shaped elongated triangle that fits the form of the rock base.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Olvera, Spain

Church of Saint Louis of France

The Society of Jesus arrived in Seville in 1554 and constructed a church, a professed house and a novitiate. At the beginning of the 17th century, Lucia de Medina donated land for a new, larger building and a new church with the conditions that she would be buried in the chapel and that the church be dedicated to her patron saint, Saint Louis (Louis IX of France, medieval king and first brother of King Ferdinand III of C ...
Founded: 1699 | Location: Seville, Spain

Aracena Castle

Aracena Castle was erected in the 13th century, during the Islamic period, and was itself built on the site of an ancient Moorish castle. The walled enclosure was partitioned inside, with the tower of homage, or castle keep, defending the barrier that divided its interior. The population of Aracena settled around this structure, giving rise to the current urban landscape. During the late Middle and Modern Ages, Aracena co ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Aracena, Spain

Sohail Castle

Sohail Castle was built in AD 956 by Abd-ar-Rahman III to strengthen the coastal defenses. Later, in the 12th century, the Almoravids raised a defensive enclosure with an irregular floor plan, adapted to the slopes of the terrain. In 1485 the Castillo de Sohail was occupied by the Christian armies battling against the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. From that time the military complex underwent an inevitable process of arc ...
Founded: 956 AD | Location: Fuengirola, Spain

Walls of León

The walls that can be seen today in León were built between the 3rd and 4th century by the Romans. The medieval wall that extends to the south is an addition built by King Alfonso VI at the end of the 14th century.
Founded: 200-300 AD | Location: León, Spain

Carmona Castle

The Moorish fortress or Alcazar of Carmona rises above the Puerta de Sevilla (Gate of Seville), forming an almost impregnable defensive complex. It underwent major alterations in the 14th and 15th centuries. Theestoration work carried out between 1973 and 1975 included the refurbishing of several sections as venues for staging cultural events. Puerta de Sevilla origin dates back to the 9th century BC. The Carthaginians c ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Carmona, Spain

Calatañazor Castle

According to the legends, Al-Mansur (legendary Moorish leader) was defeated near Calatañazor Castle in a bloody battle against Christian troops in 1002. The fortress originally had two quadrangular towers on the corners and a keep. Later on, circular towers were added to the southern wall and semi-circular ones next to the main entrance. The current  appearance dates mainly from the 14th century. The castle is part of ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Calatañazor, Spain

San Sebastián Fortress

San Sebastián is a fortress located in Cádiz, at the end of La Caleta beach on a small island separated from the main city. According to the classical tradition of the location of the fortress, there was a Temple of Kronos, a Titan of the Greek gods, the father of Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Demeter and Hera. In 1457, a chapel on the island was raised by a Venetian boat crew recovering from the plague. In 17 ...
Founded: 1706 | Location: Cádiz, Spain

Zahara de la Sierra Castle

Zahara de la Sierra Castle is actually a six-hectare area on the rocky hill, known as the Villa Arabe or Villa Medieval; its crowning glory is the Homage Tower. The town was originally a Moorish outpost, overlooking the valley. Due to its position between Ronda and Seville, it was a perfect site for a castle to be built to serve as a fortress in case of attack. The path starts at the car park on the roof of Hotel de la V ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Zahara de la Sierra, Spain

El Moral Castle

El Moral Castle is located in the heart of the historic town centre of Lucena. It was originally built by the Moorish califate of Al-Andalus in the 9th century on the site of Roman and Visigoth remains. Later the castle was the headquarters of the 'donceles', a military body and group of elite nobles serving King Ferdinand the Catholic. The Keep was where King Boabdil was held prisoner after being captured in th ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Lucena, Spain

Ciudad Rodrigo Castle

The castle of walled city Ciudad Rodrigo was built by the medieval King Enrique II of Castile in 1372. The artillery barrier that surrounds the castle was built in the early 16th century.
Founded: 1372 | Location: Ciudad Rodrigo, Spain

Luna Castle

Luna castle dates from the 13th century and was built under control of 'Guzmán the Good' upon a fortified convent of ribat or Muslim origin, in the 11th century. It is rectangular with five crenelated towers, and its interior is structured around a central courtyard. Property of the Dukes of Arcos, the Ponce de León used the castle as a residence and there is evidence that the Catholic Monarchs visited th ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Rota, Spain

San Marcos Castle

San Marcos Castle is a 12th-century fortress, commissioned by Alfonso X 'The Wise' upon the remains of a Moorish mosque on the banks of Guadalete River. Despite being so old (800 years), the castle is preserved in perfect conditions of use. Cultural events, conferences, lunches or dinners can be held both inside or outside in the garden, for up to 300 people. The inside of the old mosque is an ideal place for ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: El Puerto de Santa María, Spain

Coca Castle

Magnificent Coca Castle was built in the 15th century by Alonso de Fonseca, a mighty archbishop of Seville, during the reign of King Enrique IV of Castile. It"s made up of two square baileys separated by a passageway. Both show polygonal towers at the corners. The double walls are 2.5 m thick and it"s circled by a deep dry moat. Coca castle is a mixture of western and Moorish military architecture, as can be s ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Coca, Spain

Castle of La Mota

The Castle of La Mota is a medieval fortress, located in the town of Medina del Campo. It is so named because of its location on an elevated hill, a mota (in Spanish), from where it dominates the town and surrounding land. The adjacent town came to be surrounded by an expanding series of walls in subsequent years, of which little remains. History Initial fortification of the village, repopulated after Moorish depreda ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Medina del Campo, Spain

Archidona Castle

The Castle of Archidona was built by the Arabs in the 9th century and rebuilt by Alhamar, the first Nasrid king, in the 13th century. In 1462 Archidona was conquered by the Conde de Osuna, beginning to expand outside the walls to occupy the area it currently has. After the Christian conquest, the new population center and its most prominent urban representation in the Plaza Ochavada, the 18th century curious octagonal sha ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Archidona, Spain

Castillo de Santa Ana

The castillo de Santa Ana, also known as Castillo de Las Roquetas, is a fortification built between the 16th and 17th centuries, located in the town of Roquetas de Mar which was used for refugee to the inhabitants who lived near the port. It has an oblong shape. Near the castle there is a lighthouse. The 1804 earthquake destroyed most of the structure, and only survived one of the towers and the raised level area, which ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Roquetas de Mar, Spain

Calahorra Castle

Built between 1509 and 1512, Calahorra Castle was one of the first Italian Renaissance castles to be built outside Italy. It is perfectly preserved and national monument. It is now in private hands, although it can be accessed by contacting the person in charge that the owners have in Calahorra.
Founded: 1509-1512 | Location: La Calahorra, Spain

Cuéllar Castle

Cuéllar Castle is conserved in good condition, and it has been built in different architectural styles between the 13th and 18th century. Much of the castle in the Gothic and Renaissance styles. The military building was extended and transformed in the 16th century, turning it into the palace of the Duke of Alburquerque. Among its historical owners, stands out Álvaro de Luna and Beltrán de la Cueva, as well as t ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Cuéllar, Spain

Iznájar Castle

Castillo de Iznájar is an 8th-century castle perched on the high ridge. It has a triangular design, truncated on the northeast side, with its longest side facing south, and a large central space. It is surrounded by a stretch of wall with flanking towers at the southeast and southwest corners. The east side is closed by a rectangular building, which is attached to the west with a pentagonal tower at the bow, and another ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Iznájar, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Aarhus Old Town

The Old Town in Aarhus, Denmark (Den Gamle By), is an open-air town museum consisting of 75 historical buildings collected from 20 townships in all parts of the country. In 1914 the museum opened as the world's first open-air museum of its kind, concentrating on town culture rather than village culture, and to this day it remains one of just a few top rated Danish museums outside Copenhagen.

The museum buildings are organized into a small town of chiefly half-timbered structures originally erected between 1550 and the late 19th century in various parts of the country and later moved to Aarhus during the 20th century. In all there are some 27 rooms, chambers or kitchens, 34 workshops, 10 groceries or shops, 5 historical gardens, a post office, a customs office, a school and a theatre.

The town itself is the main attraction but most buildings are open for visitors; rooms are either decorated in the original historical style or organized into larger exhibits of which there are 5 regular with varying themes. There are several groceries, diners and workshops spread throughout the town with museum staff working in the roles of town figures i.e. merchant, blacksmith etc. adding to the illusion of a 'living' town.