Medieval castles in Belgium

Borrekens Castle

Borrekens Castle was built around 1270 by a member of the Van Rotselaar family who were stewards of the Dukes of Brabant. They built this square water castle in a swampy area, close to the road Antwerp-Turnhout which was probably a part of the trade route to Cologne in Germany. It is built out of white Vilvoorde sandstone. The castle stayed in the hands of the Van Rotselaar family until the beginning of the 16th century. ...
Founded: 1270 | Location: Vorselaar, Belgium

Jemeppe Castle

Jemeppe Castle is located in Hargimont, now part of the municipality of Marche-en-Famenne. It is known that during the Roman era a fortified villa was established in the region. The present castle is however of medieval origin. In the Middle Ages the manor of Jemeppe consisted of only a few buildings, surrounded by marshland and the river Hedrée. These offered little protection against the ruling families of Namur ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Marche-en-Famenne, Belgium

Kruikenburg Castle

Kruikenburg Castle is a listed building in the village of Ternat. It was the seat of the lordship of Kruikenburg, which included the villages of Ternat, Sint-Katarina-Lombeek and Wambeek. A medieval foundation, the castle was extensively remodelled in the 16th and 18th centuries, giving it its current appearance. In 1662 the lord of Kruikenburg was elevated to the title of count. In the 20th century the castle became a ho ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ternat, Belgium

Hauteroche Castle Ruins

Hauteroche ('High Rock') is a ruined 14th-century castle, destroyed after a siege in 1554, in the village of Dourbes in the municipality of Viroinval, province of Namur. It is situated on a ca. 50 meters high, rocky promontory, looking out over the valley of the Viroin river. The isolated site of the castle is separated from the plateau by a large, hand cut ditch. It has a square keep with 2.5 meter thick ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Viroinval, Belgium

Male Castle

Male Castle was almost entirely rebuilt and restored after the destruction of World War II. It has housed St. Trudo"s Abbey since 1954. The castle"s origins date back to the 9th century, as a defensive tower for protection of the territory around Bruges against the Vikings. Male was held by Philip of Alsace, Count of Flanders, between 1168 and 1191, who replaced the wooden structure with one built of stone, whi ...
Founded: c. 1166 | Location: Bruges, Belgium

Castle of l'Estriverie

In 1324 the Castle of l"Estriverie estate was declared a fief by the Counts of Hainaut and granted to Gérard de Lestruve. The estate was passed on to Hoste d"Ecaussinnes and in 1440 to the Despretz de Quievrain family who kept it until 1483. One of this family, Watier de Quivrains, erected a castle here in 1454. It is on the foundations of this old castle that the current building stands. In 1483 the estate p ...
Founded: 1454 | Location: Lessines, Belgium

Couwelaar Castle

Couwelaar Castle, also known as De Drie Torekens (The Three Turrets) is L-shaped and consists of a main building with wings, as well as several outbuildings including a coach house. The main building is characterized by two round towers at the front and a built-in, square tower at the rear. Over the centuries, the castle has been extensively altered and restored several times and has stylistic elements of the Neo-Renaissa ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Antwerp, Belgium

La Royère Castle

La Royère Castle was built in the 13th century by Arnaud d"Audenarde. Today it lies in ruins surrounded by a moat. 
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hainaut, Belgium

Gruitrode Castle

Gruitrode Castle was built on the site of earlier castle between 1485-1568. The earlier buildings were destroyed in 1485 in a conflict between Marck and Arenberg families. The remains of older castle are today in the courtyard of the current castle. Until the Napoleonic era it remained in the possession of the Knights of the German Order, who continually expanded the property.
Founded: 1485 | Location: Meeuwen-Gruitrode, Belgium

Leefdaal Castle

Leefdaal castle was mentioned first in the 12th century, but the present appearance dates from the late Middle Ages and 17th century. The castle is not open to the public.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Bertem, Belgium

Heers Castle

Heers Castle built in the 13th century. Of its many owners, among the most notorious was Raes van Heers (1418–77), who was defeated and driven into exile by Charles the Bold at the Battle of Brustem in 1467. The castle, and the town of Heers, were laid waste by Charles"s troops, although the castle was eventually repaired after Raes" death by his widow. The family de Rivière d"Arschot lived here until ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Heers, Belgium

Steinbach Castle

The foundations and the basement of the Steinbach castle date back to the 11th century and are built with schist stone. The stone carved escutcheon built into the façade of the castle contains three scallops referring to Steinbach and Limerlé, and three sickles referring to Grumelscheid. The Steinbach family and dynasty became lords of Rouvroy and Limerlé in 1451 and will keep this title and rule the region until the ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Gouvy, Belgium

Corroy-le-Château Castle

Castle of Corroy-le-Château was built between 1220 and 1230 by William of Brabant, the castle is one of the best-preserved medieval buildings in Belgium, with gigantic round towers and a moat. After some eight hundred years in the possession of the descendants of William of Brabant, the counts of Nassau-Corroy. One of the owners was Alexis of Nassau-Corroy, bastard son of Henry III of Nassau-Breda. His descendant Joseph ...
Founded: 1220-1230 | Location: Gembloux, Belgium

Rivieren Castle

Rivieren Castle was originally a defence tower and the present-day castle was build in different phases from the 12th to the 19th century. Originally a possession of the Clutinck family, the castle later changed ownership several times until it finally was sold in 1973. Today, the castle is used for conferences, receptions, expositions and similar kinds of events.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Brussels, Belgium

Bossenstein Castle

The oldest part of the present Bossenstein Castle is the square keep, probably built before the 14th century by a Joannes van Busco or Van den Bossche. Not much later it went to the Van Berchem family. They are supposed to have made some major alterations to the castle. They sold it in 1544 to Guilelmus van der Rijt, who was a member of the city council of nearby Antwerp. In the deed of sale the castle was described as an ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Ranst, Belgium

Rameyen Castle

The first known owner of Rameyen castle in Gestel was Jan II Berthout who lived in the castle in 1303. The oldest part of the castle is the square keep. This heavy tower dates back to the 13th century. The keep was fitted with cannon holes in the 16th century. A beautiful castle was built around the keep by Van Immerseele and de Cock families. Boudewijn de Cock sold the castle in 1643 to Nicolaas Rubens, the second son o ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Gestel, Belgium

Thierry Castle Ruins

Thierry, bishop of Metz, received the abbey of Waulsort in 969 AD. To protect it, he founded a castle to the opposite side of river Meuse. It was destroyed in 1675 by French army and left to decay.
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Hastière, Belgium

Fernelmont Castle

Fernelmont Castle is a fortified farmhouse or château-ferme in Noville-les-Bois in the municipality of Fernelmont. It s a large quadrilateral surrounded by an impressive moat. The only original medieval building left is the imposing arcaded prison, built around the 14th century. It is a massive stone structure with a central arched entrance between two hemispherical protrusions. Its internal layout shows that it was we ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Fernelmont, Belgium

Opprebais Castle

Opprebais Castle was built in the first half of the 13th century or maybe at the end of the 12th century probably by a local noble family. It is a square castle with round corner towers. In 1486, the seigniory was sold to Jean de Glimes. It remained in the hands of his descendants until 1660 when the castle was sold to the Dukes of Arenberg. In the 17th century a farm was built inside its walls.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Incourt, Belgium

Falnuée Castle

Falnuée Castle, locally known as Château-ferme de Falnuée, lies south of the village of Mazy, in the province of Namur. Falnuée Castle started out as just a square keep, serving as a watchtower, in the valley of the Orneau river. It was probably built around 1285 but only first mentioned in 1343. Then it was held in fief by Henri de Falnuée from the Count of Namur; William I. It protected Namur"s border with the ...
Founded: c. 1285 | Location: Gembloux, Belgium

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Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.