Medieval castles in Castile and León

Walls and Alcazar of Segovia

Rising out on a rocky crag above the confluence of two rivers near the Guadarrama mountains, the Alcázar of Segovia is one of the most distinctive castle-palaces in Spain by virtue of its shape – like the bow of a ship. The Alcázar was originally built as a fortress but has served as a royal palace, a state prison, a Royal Artillery College and a military academy since then. It is currently used as a museum and a mili ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Segovia, Spain

Medieval Walls of Avila

The city walls of Avila were built in the 11th century to protect the citizens from the Moors. They have been well maintained throughout the centuries and are now a major tourist attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk around about half of the length of the walls. The layout of the city is an even quadrilateral with a perimeter of 2,516 m. Its walls, which consist in part of stones already u ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Ávila, Spain

Ponferrada Castle

In 1178, Ferdinand II of León donated the Ponferrada city to the Templar order for protecting the pilgrims on the Way of St. James who passed through El Bierzo in their road to Santiago de Compostela. Their castle was originally a hill-fort and later a Roman citadel. Templar knights took possession of the fortress and reinforced and extended it to use it as an inhabitable palace. However, the Templars were only a ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ponferrada, Spain

Puebla de Sanabria Castle

Puebla de Sanabria Castle was built in the 15th century as a castle-palace by the fourth Count of Benavente, Don Rodrigo Alonso Pimentel, a member of the powerful Castilian nobility and the owner of many castles. The castle has a barrier with large towers and barrel vaulted rooms and a peculiar yard at the entrance. The structure has a regular, square ground floor. The multi-storey Tower of Homage, commonly known as &qu ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Puebla de Sanabria, Spain

Zamora Castle

Zamora Castle features Pre-Roman foundations and a Romanesque general structure. It was built between the 10th and 12th centuries. According to the chronicles it was ordered to be built by Alfonso II of Asturias, although it would probably be done by Ferdinand I of León (in reign 1056–1065). The castle stands northwest of the Cathedral, with magnificent views of the town and the river from the keep.  
Founded: 11th century | Location: Zamora, Spain

Frias Castle

Frias castle origins date back to the 9th century, when Alfonso VIII repopulated the valley to reinforce the border between Castile and Navarre. The historic quarter preserves its medieval atmosphere, and urban layout. On the tallest, most rugged end of a hill, the castle of the Duke of Frías stands, with its beautiful and well-kept mullioned windows, and 13th-century Romanesque capitals. In the city centre we must poin ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Frías, Spain

Burgos Castle

The Castle of Burgos is located on the hill of San Miguel to 75 m above the city of Burgos. According to excavations the castle attributes to the Visigoths, and its oldest parts, to the Romans. It is believed that the fortress was already built back in 865 when Muslims amounted to the Castilian plateau led by Al-Mondzir obliterating. Twenty years later the Asturian monarch Alfonso III gives order to Count Diego R ...
Founded: c. 865 AD | Location: Burgos, Spain

Calatañazor Castle

According to the legends, Al-Mansur (legendary Moorish leader) was defeated near Calatañazor Castle in a bloody battle against Christian troops in 1002. The fortress originally had two quadrangular towers on the corners and a keep. Later on, circular towers were added to the southern wall and semi-circular ones next to the main entrance. The current  appearance dates mainly from the 14th century. The castle is part of ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Calatañazor, Spain

Ciudad Rodrigo Castle

The castle of walled city Ciudad Rodrigo was built by the medieval King Enrique II of Castile in 1372. The artillery barrier that surrounds the castle was built in the early 16th century.
Founded: 1372 | Location: Ciudad Rodrigo, Spain

Coca Castle

Magnificent Coca Castle was built in the 15th century by Alonso de Fonseca, a mighty archbishop of Seville, during the reign of King Enrique IV of Castile. It"s made up of two square baileys separated by a passageway. Both show polygonal towers at the corners. The double walls are 2.5 m thick and it"s circled by a deep dry moat. Coca castle is a mixture of western and Moorish military architecture, as can be s ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Coca, Spain

Castle of La Mota

The Castle of La Mota is a medieval fortress, located in the town of Medina del Campo. It is so named because of its location on an elevated hill, a mota (in Spanish), from where it dominates the town and surrounding land. The adjacent town came to be surrounded by an expanding series of walls in subsequent years, of which little remains. History Initial fortification of the village, repopulated after Moorish depreda ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Medina del Campo, Spain

Cuéllar Castle

Cuéllar Castle is conserved in good condition, and it has been built in different architectural styles between the 13th and 18th century. Much of the castle in the Gothic and Renaissance styles. The military building was extended and transformed in the 16th century, turning it into the palace of the Duke of Alburquerque. Among its historical owners, stands out Álvaro de Luna and Beltrán de la Cueva, as well as t ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Cuéllar, Spain

Pedraza Castle

Pedraza Castle dates from the 13th century and it was rebuilt in the 15th century by García Herrera and again in the early 16th century by the Dukes of Frías. Poligonal ground plan, double enclosure, with cues and square turrets, plus an artificial moat excavated in the rock. The castle uses part of the wall and preserves the remains of one front, with Romanesque elements. The tower that serves as the tower of homa ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Pedraza, Spain

Peñafiel Castle

Construction works for Peñafiel Castle commenced in the 10th century, although the contemporary structure underwent major interventions during the 14th and 15th centuries. This medieval fortress was declared a National Monument in 1917 and currently stands as a veritable emblem of wine tourism in Ribera del Duero. Peñafiel and its castle were key defensive locations along river Duero, both for Christians and Muslims ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Peñafiel, Spain

Coyanza Castle

This castle held the Coyanza Council in 1050; the old Coyanza was populated and fortified by Fernando II of León in the second half of the 12th century. The current castle was built in the 15th century. It was constructed on the site of older castle that had been erected on the ruins of a fortification dating back to the Iron Age. The castle consists basically of one articulated front with projections, flanked by turret ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Valencia de Don Juan, Spain

Miranda del Castañar Castle‎

Miranda del Castañar Castle‎, or at least the tower of homage, was probably built by Pedro de Zúñiga. By means of a small enclosure that serves as a gate, the tower is attached to another D-shaped tower and other remains that might belong to a previous fortress. The round loopholes are the usual 15th-century artillery loopholes. Miranda was founded around 1215.The well preserved wall probably dates from that time. P ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Miranda del Castañar, Spain

Turégano Castle

The Castle of Turégano was founded on the site of a pre-existing Arabian fortress. Its structure is integrated into the adjacent church of San Miguel, completed in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Turégano, Spain

Castle of Don Álvaro de Luna

The construction of Don Álvaro de Luna castle was commissioned by the High Constable Ruy López Dávalos between the end of the 14th century and the beginning of the 15th century.There is very little left in the interior of the castle. The fires originating from the different wars have left, over time, only the walls of the building. In other periods it was used as a prison and cemetery, and today it is the municipal aud ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Arenas de San Pedro, Spain

Villafranca del Bierzo Castle

The Villafranca del Bierzo Castle was built in 1515 over the remains of a previous fortification. Its first owner was Don Pedro Alvarez de Toledo (second marques of Villafranca) and since 1850 by Don Joaquin Caro y Alvarez. More of a fortified-palance than a castle, it was ransacked in 1809 by the English and in 1815 and 1819 by the French during the Independence War. This building is located in a town of great import ...
Founded: 1515 | Location: Villafranca del Bierzo, Spain

Simancas Castle

The site of the Simancas castle was at one time a Moorish fortress. In the 15th century the House of Enríquez constructed a new fortification on top of the existing ruins, restored the Moorish walls, and added a chapel. The new castle was seized by the Spanish Crown during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs and turned into a prison. In 1540 the Archivo General de Simancas was established in the castle, the first official ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Simancas, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Montparnasse Cemetery

Montparnasse Cemetery was created from three farms in 1824. Cemeteries had been banned from Paris since the closure, owing to health concerns, of the Cimetière des Innocents in 1786. Several new cemeteries outside the precincts of the capital replaced all the internal Parisian ones in the early 19th century: Montmartre Cemetery in the north, Père Lachaise Cemetery in the east, and Montparnasse Cemetery in the south. At the heart of the city, and today sitting in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, is Passy Cemetery.

Montparnasse cemetery is the burial place of many of France's intellectual and artistic elite as well as publishers and others who promoted the works of authors and artists. There are also many graves of foreigners who have made France their home, as well as monuments to police and firefighters killed in the line of duty in the city of Paris.

The cemetery is divided by Rue Émile Richard. The small section is usually referred to as the small cemetery (petit cimetière) and the large section as the big cemetery (grand cimetière).

Although Baudelaire is buried in this cemetery (division 6), there is also a cenotaph to him (between division 26 and 27). Because of the many notable people buried there, it is a highly popular tourist attraction.