Medieval castles in Cantabria

Santa Ana Castle

Santa Ana Castle was built in the 13th century but abandoned already in the 16th century. The five 15m high corner towers protect the main building where the lighthouse was erected in 1853.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Castro Urdiales, Spain

San Vicente de la Barquera Castle

The castle of San Vicente de la Barquera was a royal residence built by Alfonso I of Asturias in the 8th century. The current walls and structure date from the 13th century. The complex is 50 meters long and around 20 m wide. Today the restored castle is a museum and used for events.
Founded: 13th century | Location: San Vicente de la Barquera, Spain

Argüeso Castle

Built during the 13th-15th centuries, the castle of San Vicente de Argueso represents the most outstanding and ancient example of the Roqueno Castle of Cantabria, being the only interior castle that exists in the Community. The castle was one of the strengths of Senorio de la Vega from which they defended their interests in Campoo de Suso. In the fifteenth century, he is the owner of the same Don Leonor de la Vega, wife ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hermandad de Campoo de Suso, Spain

Torre de Venero

Torre de Venero is a late medieval fortified tower built in the 13-14th centuries by Martín Sánchez del Castillo. The square tower is around 10m high and has four floors.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Cantabria, Spain

Torre de Cabrahigo

Cabrahigo was probably built in the 15th century by Velarde family. The square tower has four floors and is 12m high.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Arnuero, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kirkjubøargarður

Kirkjubøargarður ('Yard of Kirkjubøur', also known as King"s Farm) is one of the oldest still inhabited wooden houses of the world. The farm itself has always been the largest in the Faroe Islands. The old farmhouse dates back to the 11th century. It was the episcopal residence and seminary of the Diocese of the Faroe Islands, from about 1100. Sverre I of Norway (1151–1202), grew up here and went to the priest school. The legend says, that the wood for the block houses came as driftwood from Norway and was accurately bundled and numbered, just for being set up. Note, that there is no forest in the Faroes and wood is a very valuable material. Many such wood legends are thus to be found in Faroese history.

The oldest part is a so-called roykstova (reek parlour, or smoke room). Perhaps it was moved one day, because it does not fit to its foundation. Another ancient room is the loftstovan (loft room). It is supposed that Bishop Erlendur wrote the 'Sheep Letter' here in 1298. This is the earliest document of the Faroes we know today. It is the statute concerning sheep breeding on the Faroes. Today the room is the farm"s library. The stórastovan (large room) is from a much later date, being built in 1772.

Though the farmhouse is a museum, the 17th generation of the Patursson Family, which has occupied it since 1550, is still living here. Shortly after the Reformation in the Faroe Islands in 1538, all the real estate of the Catholic Church was seized by the King of Denmark. This was about half of the land in the Faroes, and since then called King"s Land (kongsjørð). The largest piece of King"s Land was the farm in Kirkjubøur due to the above-mentioned Episcopal residence. This land is today owned by the Faroese government, and the Paturssons are tenants from generation to generation. It is always the oldest son, who becomes King"s Farmer, and in contrast to the privately owned land, the King"s Land is never divided between the sons.

The farm holds sheep, cattle and some horses. It is possible to get a coffee here and buy fresh mutton and beef directly from the farmer. In the winter season there is also hare hunting for the locals. Groups can rent the roykstovan for festivities and will be served original Faroese cuisine.

Other famous buildings directly by the farmhouse are the Magnus Cathedral and the Saint Olav"s Church, which also date back to the mediaeval period. All three together represent the Faroe Island"s most interesting historical site.