Medieval castles in Andalusia

Lanjarón Castle

The Castle of  Lanjarón, locally known as the Moorish Castle, is a small medieval fortress located a quarter mile from the village. It is dominating on a rocky outcrop, the valley of the Lanjarón River, next to the Salado canyon. It is formed by two enclosures with some small sections of the outer wall. Signs of a tower are preserved; a bastion square, masonry at its bottom and above a adobe. At the south of the comple ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Lanjarón, Spain

Moclín Castle

Moclín Castle was built in the mid-13th century to help defend the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. It is also known as the Hins Al-Muqlin, (literally the fortress of the two pupils). It was built to mark the frontier between the kingdoms of Granada and Castile. The Castillo de Moclín was continuously besieged during the Hispano-Moorish settlement, falling into the hands of the Catholic Kings in 1486.  The castle is divided ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Moclín, Spain

Moguer Castle

Castillo de Moguer was renovated and enlarged in the 14th century. The oldest record document of castle dates from 1362, but it probably existed already in the Moorish age. The castle was built of mud-based mortar gravel, clay and lime. It is of an imperfect square plan 44 by 45 metres in size, with four towers at the corners. A moat surrounded the castle, as evidenced by written records, but is not currently visible. Ac ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Moguer, Spain

Gérgal Castle

Gérgal Castle was built somewhere during the Late Middle Ages during Muslim rule. By 1492 it had fallen into the hands of the Catholic Monarchs; Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. They donated the castle to Alonso de Cárdenas, Grand Master of the Order of Santiago, for outstanding services during the Granada War. During the 16th century it played an important defensive role against the inland ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Gérgal, Spain

Cártama Castle

The Cartama Castle is located in the Monte de la Virgen (Mount of the Virgin), where the Hermitage of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios is also located and where it is possible to be enjoyed some impressive panoramic views. Cártama Castle was built by the Moors in the early Middle Ages. During the Mozarabic revolt of Omar ibn Hafsun, between 881 and 914 AD, Cártama stayed loyal to the Caliphate of Córdoba and the castle ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Cártama, Spain

Marchenilla Castle

Marchenilla 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 layout. Important development was still taking place right up to the late 15th and early 16th century. The Castle is located on a promontory which is high enough to completely dominate the surroundings, in the same place as previous human set ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Alcalá de Guadaíra, Spain

Belalcázar Castle

The castle-palace of Belalcázar is one of the most representative of the 15th century, when the nobility attempted to demonstrate its social and economic status. Built entirely of stone blocks, Belalcazar preserves two enclosures: an outer barrier adapted to the irregularities of the land and reinforced with rectangular towers, and the inner rectangular castle-palace with eight towers, one at each corner and another in ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Belalcázar, Spain

Belmez Castle

Castillo de Belmez is a small fortress located in Bélmez, northwest of Córdoba. It is visible from any angle, as it sits on top of a high limestone rocky outcrop. It seems to have been around at least since 1245, although the main tower and the wall were built later on, in the 15th century. It belonged to the Order of Calatrava after belonging to the Cordoba Council. In the 15th century it became an important area of co ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Belmez, Spain

Bujalance Castle

Castillo de Bujalance was built in the 10th century during the Caliphate of Abd-ar-Rahman III. It is a clear example of Muslim military architecture in Al-Andalus. It subsequently underwent several modernizations, most recently in 1512, which were paid for by Queen Joanna of Castile. It is rectangular in shape, measuring 59 metres north-south and 51 metres east-west. The castle"s original name, 'tower of the sn ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Bujalance, Spain

Fatetar Castle

The Fatetar Castle is located on the top of the Monte Fatetar, in the highest part of the town and enyoy stunning views of both, the village and its surroundings. Apparently the Fatetar Castle was built by Abderrahman III in 914. Though its origins are not well known, many cultures haved passed through this place, such as the Romans, Visigoths, Arabs, Muslims and Christians. Today you can still observe its keep and the ...
Founded: 914 AD | Location: Espera, Spain

Hins-Canit Castle

An Arabic Hins-Canit Castle construction begun in the 9th century and completed in the 16th century. This great fortress was one of the most important during the Humar Bem Hafsum uprising and the Christian and Granada wars. Its name can be traced back to the Arabic Hins Cannit or Qanit, which, depending on the author consulted, either means “Canit Castle” or is a reference to the canes that can still be found close t ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Cañete la Real, Spain

Luna Castle

Luna Castle building started in the mid-15th century. Built in the Mudejar style, it has for towers and curtain walls.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Mairena del Alcor, Spain

Torreparedones Castle

The first documents of Torreparedones Castle date from the 14th century, but it was probably built in the 13th century. The best preserved part is the tower.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Baena, Spain

Doña Blanca Castle

Castillo de Doña Blanca is a tower built in the 15th or 16th century to watch the Cádiz bay. It is named after lady Blanca de Borbón, who was imprisoned there.  The tower is built to the archaeological area. The remains of walls, necrópolis and parts of houses date from the eighth to the third century BC and were built by the Phoenicians. It is considered an ancient city with a significant development and urban plan ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: El Puerto de Santa María, Spain

Zalia Castle

The Zalia Castle is easily accessed by the road up from La Viñuela Dam address Ventas de Zafarraya-Granada. Although hardly can be seen today due to their state of total ruin, Zalia Castle had an irregural plant of approximately 120m x 150 m. You can still see some towers and remains of the wall between the gorse and scrubland existing around. Zalia Castle had a double walled, both being very irregular. Account outsi ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Alcaucín, Spain

Setefilla Castle

The Setefilla Castle is located on the outskirts of the town of Lora del Río. The name has its origin in a medieval place name that should refer to the Muslim fortress located on the table of the same name. In the Middle Ages, Setefilla was an important enclave related tot eh Muslim conquest, the reconquest and the subsequent repopulation of the area and appears several times cited in the texts of historians of the time ...
Founded: 888-921 AD | Location: Lora del Río, Spain

Aznalmara Castle

Aznalmara Castle was built int he 13th-14th centuries. It was conquered by the Christian army in 1410 and 1485. Today it lies in ruins.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ubrique, Spain

Gigonza Castle

Castillo de Gigonza site has been in existence since antiquity. The present castle is of Andalusian origin and almost square in shape, with two parts to its structure. The current appearance dates from the 13th and 14th centuries. A narrow and low door contains a lintel with two heavy imposts. The upper floor is vaulted and contains windows. The grounds contain a surrounding fence. The courtyard is accessed through a door ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: San José del Valle, Spain

Bentomiz Castle

Bentomiz Castle is an ancient Moorish fortress built on a hill near the village of Arenas in the province of Málaga. It sits at a height of 711 metres, and lies to the northeast of Vélez-Málaga. The castle site is thought to have been occupied by the Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans, although it is not clear which parts of the ruins date to which period. Roman baths have been found there. The Arabs built on the existing ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Arenas, Spain

Matrera Castle

Matrera Castle was built in the 9th century by Omar ibn Hafsún to defend Iptuci, the most advanced city of the Cora de Ronda. However, Mount Pajarete was a place of human settlement since Antiquity. In the 13th century, it was conquered by San Fernando, who rebuilt it. Nevertheless, at the beginning of the XIV century, it returned to Muslim hands, being definitively reconquered by Alfonso XI in 1341. However, being loca ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Villamartín, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.