Castles and fortifications in 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

Buitrago del Lozoya Castle

The town of Buitrago del Lozoya is completely surrounded by an ancient wall originally built by the Moorish people. Within these walls lies the ruins of the Buitrago de Lozoya castle. The style of the castle is a unique mix of Mudéjar (moorish) and Gothic designs – tall, solid square towers combined with the typical pentagonal shaped often used by the ancient Arabs. It was built in the 15th century. It has a rectan ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Buitrago del Lozoya, Spain

Castro Caldelas Castle

The typical Galician noble fortress in Castro Caldelas with medieval origins has been splendidly conserved and restored and today functions as a library, cultural centre and exhibition venue. The castle originally belonged to the House of the Counts of Lemos, and became part of the House of Alba in the 18th century. It was built in the 14th century as a fortress with a purely military function, and was renovated in the 1 ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Castro Caldelas, Spain

Pedraza Castle

Pedraza Castle dates from the 13th century and it was rebuilt in the 15th century by García Herrera and again in the early 16th century by the Dukes of Frías. Poligonal ground plan, double enclosure, with cues and square turrets, plus an artificial moat excavated in the rock. The castle uses part of the wall and preserves the remains of one front, with Romanesque elements. The tower that serves as the tower of homa ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Pedraza, Spain

Alcázar del Rey Don Pedro

This Alcazar or Moorish fortress is situated to the west of the walled town on the highest point of Carmona. Peter I had it restored in the 13th century, and it became one of his favourite palaces. The Catholic Monarchs erected the circular tower and embellished the royal quarters. It was seriously affected by the 1755 earthquake and, since then, it has been progressively falling into ruin. The ruins of this Alcazar sur ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Carmona, Spain

Torre de la Malmuerta

The Torre de la Malmuerta is a gate tower in Córdoba. It was built in 1406–1408, by order of King Henry III of Castile, over a pre-existing Almohad structure, to defend the gates of Rincón and Colodro. Later it was also used as a prison for nobles. Having an octagonal plan, the tower has an annexed arch. The names, meaning 'Tower of the Wrongly Dead Woman', refers to a woman who, according to a legend, wa ...
Founded: 1406-1408 | Location: Córdoba, Spain

Peñafiel Castle

Construction works for Peñafiel Castle commenced in the 10th century, although the contemporary structure underwent major interventions during the 14th and 15th centuries. This medieval fortress was declared a National Monument in 1917 and currently stands as a veritable emblem of wine tourism in Ribera del Duero. Peñafiel and its castle were key defensive locations along river Duero, both for Christians and Muslims ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Peñafiel, Spain

Santiago Castle

Castle of Santiago was built in the second half of the 15th century by the 2nd Duke of Medina Sidonia. It was not designed for military or surveillance purposes. Therefore, it can be considered as a demonstration of power of the Duchy. Throughout its history, it has functioned as a ducal fortress and barracks. After almost a century of neglect and suffering serious damage from a fire, it was completely remodelled.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain

Alcalá de los Gazules Castle

All that remains of the 12th-century Moorish castle in Alcalá de los Gazules is the Homage Tower. The castle served as a defensive structure until 1810 when it was ransacked by the occupying French army. The castle has been restored and the interior of the tower can be visited from Thursday to Sunday 11.30 to 14.00.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Alcalá de los Gazules, Spain

Monterrei Castle

Monterrei Castle is located a high part of the valley, near the town of Verín. It was built in the 12th century by Alfonso Henríquez. It was extremely important in the epoch of Peter the Cruel. In the 16th century it was used by Philip the Handsome for a meeting with Cardinal Cisneros. It was built from stone with evenly dressed ashlars. The most notable exterior features are the two towers: the Ladies Tower and the Kee ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Monterrei, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Derbent Fortress

Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.

Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.

A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.

The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.

The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.

In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.

In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.