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

Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos

The Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos ('Castle of the Christian Monarchs') served as one of the primary residences of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. It forms part of the Historic Center of Córdoba that was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994. In early medieval times, the site was occupied by a Visigoth fortress. When the Visigoths fell to the Umayyad conquest of Hispania, the ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Córdoba, 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

Calahorra Tower

The Calahorra tower (Torre de la Calahorra) is a fortified gate in the historic centre of Córdoba. The edifice is of Islamic origin. It was first erected by the Almohad Caliphate to protect the nearby Roman Bridge on the Guadalquivir. The tower, standing on the left bank of the river, originally consisted of an arched gate between two. A third tower was added to the existing ones, in the shape of two cylinder connec ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Córdoba, 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

Arcos de la Frontera Castle

Arcos de la Frontera Castle was first constructed in the 11th century by the Moors when Arcos was briefly a taifa (small kingdom) before being captured by the Christians in 1250. The Christians rebuilt the castle as part of their campaign to retain their hold on the town, which was in a strategically important position for maintaining the border between the Muslim and Christian kingdoms.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Arcos de la Frontera, Spain

Tarifa Castle

Tarifa Castle was built in 960 by the Abd-ar-Rahman III, Caliph of Córdoba. When Tarifa was taken over by the king of Castile, Sancho IV in 1292, the castle was handed over to Alonso Pérez de Guzmán for its defense. Pérez de Guzmán get the nickname of 'Good' (el Bueno) by refusing to hand over the castle in 1296 to the besieging forces of the Infante Don Juan, the rebellious brother of the king Sancho, and the Mar ...
Founded: 960 AD | Location: Tarifa, Spain

Alcazar of Jerez de la Frontera

The Alcazar of Jerez de la Frontera is a former Moorish alcázar, now housing a park. A first fortress was probably built in the 11th century, when Jerez was part of the small kingdom of the taifa of Arcos de la Frontera, on a site settled since prehistoric times in the south-eastern corner of the city. In the 12th century, a new structure was erected to be used as both residence and fortress by the Almohad rulers of ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Jerez de la Frontera, 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

Alcalá la Real Castle

The castle of Alcalá la Real (or Fortaleza de La Mota) dates to the 13th-14th century, although some elements of the structure are older. La Mota was the last great defensive bastion before Granada as it is reached from Jaén and Córdoba. It’s conquest by Castile was very hard. In 1213, and for the first time, Alfonso VIII conquered the Almohades. After the Christian conquest, at the beginning of the 13th century, t ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Alcalá la Real, 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

Hornos Castle

The Knights from the Order of Santiago built the Hornos Castle between the late 13th century and early 14th century. They built iton top of an old Arab defensive structure in a strategic location, on one of the roads between the mountain chains of Cazorla and Segura. Hornos Castle is made up of a defensive site with an outdoor enclosure in the shape of a trapezoid. We can find a large keep, a well right in the parade gro ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hornos, Spain

Almodóvar del Río Castle

The town of Almodovar del Rio played an extremely important role in the Middle Ages owing to its strategic location on a hill around 252 metres high next to the Guadalquivir river, which at that time was navigable for small vessels. The traces of multiple cultures, amongst which are Islam and Christianity, can be evidenced in the architectural style of this unique building. In the year 756, this fortress became the estate ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Almodóvar del Río, 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

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

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

Castellar de la Frontera Castle

Castellar de la Frontera is a village within a castle surrounded by the walls of a well preserved Moorish-Christian fortress. It is located within the Parque Natural de Los Alcornocales next to a reservoir formed by the Guadarranque River. The history of the village goes back to prehistoric times and the Bronze Age, after which the place became a medieval fortress. The prehistoric presence is still evident in the m ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Castillo de Castellar, 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Tyniec Abbey

Tyniec Benedictine abbey was founded by King Casimir the Restorer probably around 1044. Casimir decided to rebuild the newly established Kingdom of Poland, after a Pagan rebellion and a disastrous Czech raid of Duke Bretislaus I (1039). The Benedictines, invited to Tyniec by the King, were tasked with restoring order as well as cementing the position of the State and the Church. First Tyniec Abbot was Aaron, who became the Bishop of Kraków. Since there is no conclusive evidence to support the foundation date as 1040, some historians claim that the abbey was founded by Casimir the Restorer’ son, King Boleslaw II the Generous.

In the second half of the 11th century, a complex of Romanesque buildings was completed, consisting of a basilica and the abbey. In the 14th century, it was destroyed in Tatar and Czech raids, and in the 15th century it was rebuilt in Gothic style. Further remodelings took place in the 17th and 18th centuries, first in Baroque, then in Rococo style. The abbey was partly destroyed in the Swedish invasion of Poland, and soon afterwards was rebuilt, with a new library. Further destruction took place during the Bar Confederation, when Polish rebels turned the abbey into their fortress.

In 1816, Austrian authorities liquidated the abbey, and in 1821-1826, it was the seat of the Bishop of Tyniec, Grzegorz Tomasz Ziegler. The monks, however, did not return to the abbey until 1939, and in 1947, remodelling of the neglected complex was initiated. In 1968, the Church of St. Peter and Paul was once again named the seat of the abbot. The church itself consists of a Gothic presbytery and a Baroque main nave. Several altars were created by an 18th-century Italian sculptor Francesco Placidi. The church also has a late Baroque pulpit by Franciszek Jozef Mangoldt.