Castles and fortifications in Spain

Valdecorneja Castle

The village of El Barco de Avila is situated in the foothills of the Sierra de Gredos mountain range. After the conquest of Toledo and the retreat of the Muslim lines to the south bank of the river Tajo, King Alfonso VI donated this valley to his daughter and ordered his son-in-law Ramon de Borgoña to erect a fortification and to repopulate the surrounding area. There is few documented data of the construction of the pr ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: El Barco de Ávila, Spain

Alameda Castle

Alameda Castle is one of the scarce remains of military architecture from 15th century and one of few castles that have survived over the time and now arises once more after a restoration process and being converted into a museum. The origin of the castle dates back to the late fourteenth century or the beginnings of the fifteenth century, and is linked to the Zapata family, who were holders of the seigniory which includ ...
Founded: 1431 | Location: Madrid, Spain

Urueña Castle

The Urueña castle was built around the year 1060 by the Castilian monarch Fernando I el Magno (the Great). It is built on the remains of a Roman fort. Overlooking the Tierra de Campos it has always been a strategically important place. Urueña was on the border between the two kingdoms Castilla and León. After many battles the kingdom of Castilla reconquered the castle in the year 1281. The Queen Doña Urraca lived in ...
Founded: 1060 | Location: Urueña, Spain

Niebla Castle

The construction of the Niebla Castle started in 1402, when Don Enrique de Guzmán, the second Duke of Medinasidonia and the fourth of Niebla, pulled down the old Moorish Alcázar to build the one we know today. The result was a magnificent royal palace which preserved the most interesting and luxurious parts built by the Arabs, such as the Muslim Tower of Homage. After the works of restoration made in the last few years ...
Founded: 1402 | Location: Niebla, Spain

La Palma Fortress

La Palma Fortress was built in 1597 to protect the the water route to Ferrol. It was modified in the 19th century, but today it stays abandoned.
Founded: 1597 | Location: Mugardos, Spain

Rello Castle

The fortified town of Rello still maintains the original defensive walls and castle that were used as protection against civilisations that came from the south following the Douro River. It is the best-preserved walled enclosure in the province. You can go inside through either one of the two gates located on the sides of the castle. The castle is protected by a fortified enclosure with circular and quadrangular towers t ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Rello, Spain

Torrelobatón Castle

Torrelobatón Castle is one of the most important and best-preserved fortresses in Valladolid. In the historical epic film El Cid with Charlton Heston the castle played the role of Vivar, hometown of El Cid. The castle was begun in 1406, when Don Alfonso Enríquez, 1st Admiral of Castile, obtained licence from John II to erect a fortress in Torrelobatón; the only fortification there was a modest stone enclosure surround ...
Founded: 1406 | Location: Torrelobatón, Spain

Tabernas Castle

Castillo de Tabernas is a ruined castle on the outskirts of the municipality of Tabernas. It was built in the 11th century during the time of Arab domination. It is of Moorish style and is situated on top of a hill. When it was built, it occupied the entire hill, though currently only a part is preserved. During the siege of Almeria, Ferdinand and Isabella ensconced themselves in the castle.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Tabernas, Spain

Bezmiliana Castle

The castle or residence of Bezmiliana is the most emblematic monument of the town of Rincon de la Victoria. It was built in 1766 as a complement to the traditional organization of the existing military defense in the 16th century, which also included the Towers of El Cantal and Benagalbón, which fonctions was rejecting maritime piracy and terrestrial stalking the area. The construction of the Bezmiliana is quadrangular ...
Founded: 1766 | Location: Rincón de la Victoria, Spain

Estepa Castle

Estepa castle was known in the Islamic period as Hisn Istabba, and was taken by Spanish king Fernando III on 15 August 1241. The city walls that still surround the old town on the San Cristóbal hill were first built in the tenth century by the Moors, renovated by Almohad invaders in the twelfth, and again reconstructed when Estepa fell to the Christian Order of Santiago in the thirteenth century. The keep inside the ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Estepa, Spain

Alcázar de Toro

Although the origins of Alcázar de Toro castle date back to the 10th century, its current construction dates from the 15th century. Witness of important historical events, the Alcazar de Toro is one of the main buildings of the city. After the división of León and Castile in the mid-12th century, Toro remained in the kingdom of León. In 1199 Alfonso 9th married Doña Berenguela and between 1188 and 1195 he started t ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Toro, Spain

Castle da Rocha Forte

Castle da Rocha Forte was built by Archbishop Juan Arias around 1240 and has since served as an archbishop's and cabildo's residence, witnessing much of the medieval history of Santiago. In the year 1255 appears the first documentary mention of the fortress in relation to the capitular constitutions of Juan Arias. The castle was situated in a strategic location by road from Padrón village to Santiago. Pilgrims followed t ...
Founded: c. 1240 | Location: Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Castillo de San Juan de los Terreros

Castillo de San Juan de los Terreros was built between 1760 and 1764, during the reign of Charles III of Spain, as a horseshoe-shaped artillery fort for coastal defense. Its initial design by Thomas de Warluzel d"Hostel, was later modified, improved and finalized in 1764 by Antonio Duce Oliveros.
Founded: 1760 | Location: Pulpí, Spain

Sarmiento Castle

15th century castle in Sarmiento belonged to the important Sarmiento family. Its last owner was the House of Alba. Acquired by the Provincial Council of Palencia, we can visit the tower, its rooms and its ramparts. It hosts an exhibition entitled PlastiHistoria, showing various scenes made in clay on the history of Palencia. Its keep has a height of 22 meters and the thickness of its walls is the largest of the Spanish ca ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Fuentes de Valdepero, Spain

Santa Cruz Fortress

Santa Cruz Fortress was built during the Portuguese Restoration War (1664) to defend La Guardia against Portuguese army. It was however conquered a year later and was held by Portuguese troops until 1668. It was then demolished due the terms of peace treaty. It was then left abandoned until restored in 2013.
Founded: 1664 | Location: La Guardia, Spain

Haza Castle

The defensive system of Haza is set throughout the Middle Ages. Its origin is at an advanced point of the high medieval period to begin a phase of destruction and deterioration in the 16th and 17th centuries, process that has accelerated in the last two centuries. The fortified complex of Haza is integrated by the urban wall, castle and the keep tower.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Haza, Spain

Peñaranda de Duero Castle

The castle of Peñaranda de Duero is a well preserved Gothic castle. The castle originally dates from the 10th century but reforms by Counts of Miranda del Castañar in the 15th century changed much of the building. Today the castle stands at the start of a defensive wall that formerly surrounded the town, of which only the crenellated arch of 'Las Monjas' still stands. The castle was an important poi ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Peñaranda de Duero, Spain

Portillo Castle

The Castillo de Portillo is a well-preserved medieval castle in Portillo; the earliest elements of its present construction date to the fifteenth century. The site has been fortified since the tenth century, when it is documented in connection with Moorish forays into the region, under Abd al-Rahman III. In the fourteenth century, and until the early fifteenth, it was in the possession of the family of Sandoval; in 1392 ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Portillo, Spain

Alcalá de Guadaíra Castle

Alcalá de Guadaíra Castle is the result of almost 4,500 years of human history. The older archaeological findings take us to the Bronze Age (2nd millennium BCE), when a small walled village settled down on the East edge of the Hill. The current 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 layou ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Alcalá de Guadaíra, Spain

Naraío Castle

Built on solid rock inside the spectacular protected area Xuvia-Castro, Naraío Castle dates from 14th century. Neverthless, it is said that the remains we can see nowadays are the result of the reconstruction of an ancient fortress. The precious castle was an unconquerable fortress. To get to the tower of homage we have to cross two doors where can still be seen the Andrade´s coat of arms. Around the tower were found se ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: San Saturnino, 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.