Medieval castles in Andalusia

Alcázar of Seville

The Alcázar of Seville is a royal palace, built for the Christian king Peter of Castile. It was built by Castilian Christians on the site of an Abbadid Muslim residential fortress destroyed after the Christian conquest of Seville. The palace, a pre-eminent example of Mudéjar architecture in the Iberian Peninsula, is renowned as one of the most beautiful. The upper levels of the Alcázar are still used by the royal famil ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Seville, Spain

Alhambra

The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada. It was originally constructed as a small fortress in AD 889 on the remains of Roman fortifications, and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century by the Nasrid emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Emirate of Granada, who built its current palace and walls. It was converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Su ...
Founded: 889 AD | Location: Granada, Spain

Alcazaba

La Alcazaba is Malaga"s most important landmark, and overlooks the city from a hilltop inland. It is one of two Moorish fortresses in the city, the other being the Castillo de Gibralfaro. The Alcazaba is the best-preserved Moorish fortress palace in Spain. Constructed on the ruins of a Roman fortification during the reign of Abd-al-Rahman I, the first Emir of Cordoba, in around 756-780 AD, the Alcazaba"s origin ...
Founded: 756-780 AD | Location: Málaga, Spain

Gibralfaro Castle

The magnificent Castillo de Gibralfaro sits on a high hill overlooking Málaga city and, and dates back to the 10th century. Gibralfaro has been the site of fortifications since the Phoenician foundation of Málaga city, circa 770 BC. The location was fortified by Calif Abd-al-Rahman III in 929 AD. While, At the beginning of the 14th century, Yusuf I of the Kingdom of Granada expanded the fortifications within the Phoenic ...
Founded: 929 AD | Location: Málaga, Spain

Silla del Moro

Silla del Moro is a small castle built in the 14th century and ruined in the 17th century. It was built to protect the water system for Generalife and Alhambra palaces and surrounding gardens.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Granada, Spain

Alcazaba of Almería

In 955, Almería gained the title of medina ('city') by the Caliph of Cordoba, Abd ar-Rahman III: construction of the defensive citadel, located in the upper sector of the city, began in this period. The alcazaba, provided not only with walls and towers but also with squares, houses and a mosque, was to be also the seat of the local government, commanding the city and the sea nearby. The complex was enlarg ...
Founded: c. 955 AD | Location: Almería, Spain

Alcazaba de Antequera

The Alcazaba of Antequera was erected in the 14th century to counter the Christian advance from the north, over Roman ruins. The fortress is rectangular in shape, with two towers. Its keep (Torre del homenaje, 15th century) is considered amongst the largest of Moorish al-Andalus, with the exception of the Comares Tower of the Alhambra. It is surmounted by a Catholic bell tower/chapel (Templete del Papabellotas) added ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Antequera, Spain

Salobreña Castle

Castillo de Salobreña dates from the 10th century. The current structure which was built during the Nasrid dynasty. Trapezoidal in shape, it has four towers. It has 3 enclosures: the disposition of the interior comes from the old Nasrid palace; the other two, with a defensive function, are a Castilian extension of the end of the 15th century. Refreshing internal gardens surround the architectonic volumes. From its towers ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Salobreña, Spain

San Miguel Castle

Castillo de San Miguel is located in Almuñécar and is bounded by the remains of the original city walls. The castle sits on a small hill, which is difficult to access. The original fortifications date of 1st century BCE. During the Moorish occupation, the castle was enlarged to include towers and three gates. At the end of the reign of the Catholic King Ferdinand in the 16th century, more was added (the moat, the drawb ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Almuñécar, 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

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

Alcazaba of Guadix

Alcazaba of Guadix was built in the 11th century during the Moorish Nasrid reign. It was conquered by the Spanish Christian army in 1489. The Seminary, founded in 1595, one of the oldest in Spain. The Seminary is built around two courtyards. From its towers one can enjoy a fabulous view of the valley and Sierra nevada.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Guadix, Spain

Cerro San Cristobal

From the Alcazaba, descend in a northward direction through the Barranco de la Hoya, a line of wall that reaches San Cristobal Hill was built during the time of King Jairán (1012-1028) in the eleventh century. Here are the remnants of the neighbourhood amurallamiento musalla, which descends from the hill via the main street Antonio Vico. On the hill, known in Muslim times as Monte Laham, there are seven towers, three s ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Almería, Spain

Marquis de los Vélez Castle

Marquis de los Vélez Castle lies in the center of the town of Cuevas del Almanzora. The first fortification at this site was probably an Arab defensive watchtower, dating back to the late 13th or early 14th century. The castle was built in the first half of the 16th century by Don Pedro Fajardo y Chacón, 1st Marquess of Los Vélez. Shortly before he also built Vélez-Blanco Castle, in which he resided, and around the ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Cuevas del Almanzora, Spain

Vélez-Blanco Castle

According to an inscription in the courtyard, the Vélez-Blanco Castle was built between 1506 and 1515 after Fajardo received the lordship of the town from Ferdinand II and Isabella, took up residence there and was given the title of Marqués (1507) by Ferdinand, who was then regent. The heraldry of the principal areas of the castle, including the coat of arms of his second wife, Mencía de la Cueva, belongs to this perio ...
Founded: 1506 | Location: Vélez-Blanco, Spain

Íllora Castle

In the center of the village Íllora, at the top of a rock, there are the ruins of the old castle, although there are hardly any remains of the walls. This castle dates from the Caliphate period (9th-10th centuries) and is structured in three areas: the villa, the citadel and the suburb. Associated to that castle, there are a series of optical towers, among which the Tower of Brácana stands out.
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Íllora, 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

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

Vélez-Málaga Castle

Velez-Malaga’s Alcazaba, or ‘Fortaleza’ as it’s more commonly known, was built in the 10th century. Originally, it was intended not to defend but to subdue the local population, who had traditionally caused a lot of problems for the Moorish rulers. Built on the tallest hill in the immediate area, it was the perfect site from a military point of view, affording long distance views of oncoming enemies and an easily ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Vélez-Málaga, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Château de Chaumont

The Château de Chaumont was founded in the 10th century by Odo I, Count of Blois. The purpose was to protect his lands from attacks from his feudal rivals, Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou. On his behalf the Norman Gelduin received it, improved it and held it as his own. His great-niece Denise de Fougère, having married Sulpice d'Amboise, passed the château into the Amboise family for five centuries.

Pierre d'Amboise unsuccessfully rebelled against King Louis XI and his property was confiscated, and the castle was dismantled on royal order in 1465. It was later rebuilt by Charles I d'Amboise from 1465–1475 and then finished by his son, Charles II d'Amboise de Chaumont from 1498–1510, with help from his uncle, Cardinal Georges d'Amboise; some Renaissance features were to be seen in buildings that retained their overall medieval appearance. The château was acquired by Catherine de Medici in 1550. There she entertained numerous astrologers, among them Nostradamus. When her husband, Henry II, died in 1559 she forced his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, to exchange Château de Chaumont for Château de Chenonceau which Henry had given to de Poitiers. Diane de Poitiers only lived at Chaumont for a short while.

Later Chaumont has changed hands several times. Paul de Beauvilliers bought the château in 1699, modernized some of its interiors and decorated it with sufficient grandeur to house the duc d'Anjou on his way to become king of Spain in 1700. Monsieur Bertin demolished the north wing to open the house towards the river view in the modern fashion.

In 1750, Jacques-Donatien Le Ray purchased the castle as a country home where he established a glassmaking and pottery factory. He was considered the French "Father of the American Revolution" because he loved America. However, in 1789, the new French Revolutionary Government seized Le Ray's assets, including his beloved Château de Chaumont.

The castle has been classified as a Monument historique since 1840 by the French Ministry of Culture. The Château de Chaumont is currently a museum and every year hosts a Garden Festival from April to October where contemporary garden designers display their work in an English-style garden.