Medieval castles in Castile and León

Haza Castle

The defensive system of Haza is set throughout the Middle Ages. Its origin is at an advanced point of the high medieval period to begin a phase of destruction and deterioration in the 16th and 17th centuries, process that has accelerated in the last two centuries. The fortified complex of Haza is integrated by the urban wall, castle and the keep tower.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Haza, Spain

Miranda de Ebro Castle

The castle of Miranda de Ebro is located on Picota hill and offers great views of the city and the mountains that surround it. The origins of the castle date from 1358, when Tello of Castille asked the bishopric of Calahorra for the land to construct a castle at the top of the hill of La Picota, a place that was at that time occupied by the church of Santa Maria. Nevertheless, the construction did not begin until 1449 ...
Founded: 1449 | Location: Miranda de Ebro, Spain

Monasterio de Rodilla Castle

The castle of Monasterio de Rodilla was built around 884 AD by Count Diego Porcelos to protect the new territories to be settled. The castle is documented for the first time in 1011. From 1035-1054 the castle was owned by Navarra.
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Monasterio de Rodilla, Spain

Peñaranda de Duero Castle

The castle of Peñaranda de Duero is a well preserved Gothic castle. The castle originally dates from the 10th century but reforms by Counts of Miranda del Castañar in the 15th century changed much of the building. Today the castle stands at the start of a defensive wall that formerly surrounded the town, of which only the crenellated arch of 'Las Monjas' still stands. The castle was an important poi ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Peñaranda de Duero, Spain

Rojas Castle

The castle of the Rojas is located on the top of a hill near the town of Poza de la Sal. At the end of the 9th century Count Diego Rodríguez Porcelos repopulated Poza building the castle for the defense of the new territory. Like other castles of this time it may have been a simple keep surrounded by some walls. In the 14th century Rodriguez de Rojas family rebuilt the current castle. It was occupied in 1808 by Fre ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Poza de la Sal, 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

Santa Gadea del Cid Castle

The small and picturesque town of Santa Gadea del Cid grew around its castle built in the 11th century and reformed in the 15th century by Pedro López de los Manrique.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Santa Gadea del Cid, Spain

Sotopalacios Castle

Sotopalacios castle, dating from the 14th century, is a rectangular in shape, with square turrets in the corners. It contains palatial rooms around a courtyard. One of the largest and better preserved castles in the province of Burgos, thanks to the restoration works the owner has carried out over the years.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Merindad de Río Ubierna, Spain

Torregalindo Castle Ruins

Torregalindo castle was mentioned first time in 11th centur when Kingdom of Castile populated the area. Today it lies in ruins above the village.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Torregalindo, 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

Úrbel Castle

El Castillo de Úrbel is located on a steep hill. The current remains date back to the 15th century and were built by the Zúñiga family. Originally castle was built in the 11th century.  
Founded: 15th century | Location: Urbel del Castillo, Spain

Castilnovo Castle

Built in the 12th century in mudejar style, the Castilnovo castle is conserved in good condition. It has a rectangular plan, with six round and square towers. It was rebuilt in the 14th - 16th centuries and again between the 19th and the 20th centuries. The present castle is thought to have been built on a previous structure, probably a small fortress. Trapezoid ground plan, with six round and rectangular turrets of br ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Condado de Castilnovo, 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

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

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

Alcázar de Toro

Although the origins of Alcázar de Toro castle date back to the 10th century, its current construction dates from the 15th century. Witness of important historical events, the Alcazar de Toro is one of the main buildings of the city. After the división of León and Castile in the mid-12th century, Toro remained in the kingdom of León. In 1199 Alfonso 9th married Doña Berenguela and between 1188 and 1195 he started t ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Toro, Spain

Cornatel Castle

The history of Cornatel castle dates back to the 9th century, although it was built on the site of ancient Roman remains. In 1211 Alfonso IX of León donated to the area to Knight Templars who rebuilt the castle. Subsequently it was owned by the Duke of Lemos. The castle is accessed by bordering the western section between the walls and the impressive cliff at the foot of the castle. Inside, exhibitions are held periodi ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Priaranza del Bierzo, 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

Castillo de los Duques de Alba

Castle of the Dukes of Alba was founded in the 12th century when King Ferdinand II of León ordered to build a simple watchtower. In the 13th century, King Sancho IV of Castile converted the primitive tower into a castle. It was devastated by the battles of the time of King Henry IV of Castile but later rebuilt and converted it into a private palace. In its interior you can visit several rooms, such as the on ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Alba de Tormes, Spain

Ledesma Castle

Ledesma still has most of the granite wall which historically has surrounded the town. A large part of what is still standing was built in times of Fernando II of Leon, in the 12th century, but in the 15th century several parts of it were rebuilt with well-carved masonry. Many stone mason marks can be seen among these stones. Out of the eight doors it once had, the only one that is still preserved is  the one called ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ledesma, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone faces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.

The fortress, which for centuries was used as a state prison, is still intact and is now one of Saxony's foremost tourist attractions, with 700,000 visitors per year.

By far the oldest written record of a castle on the Königstein is found in a deed by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia dating to the year 1233. It is probable that there had been a stone castle on the Königstein as early as the 12th century. The oldest surviving structure today is the castle chapel built at the turn of the 13th century. In the years 1563 to 1569 the 152.5 metre deep well was bored into the rock within the castle - until that point the garrison of the Königstein had to obtain water from cisterns and by collecting rainwater.

Between 1589 and 1591/97 Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the castle developed into the strongest fortification in Saxony. The hill was now surrounded with high walls. Buildings were erected, including the Gatehouse (Torhaus), the Streichwehr, the Old Barracks (Alte Kaserne), the Christiansburg (Friedrichsburg) and the Old Armoury (Altes Zeughaus). The second construction period followed from 1619 to 1681, during which the John George Bastion was built. The third construction period is seen as the time from 1694 to 1756, which included the expansion of the Old Barracks. From 1722 to 1725, at the behest of August the Strong, coopers under Böttger built the enormous Königstein Wine Barrel, the greatest wine barrel in the world, in the cellar of the Magdalenenburg which had a capacity of 249,838 litres. It cost 8,230 thalers, 18 groschen and 9 pfennigs. The butt, which was once completely filled with country wine from the Meißen vineyards, had to be removed again in 1818 due to its poor condition. Because of Böttger, Königstein Fortress is also the site where European porcelain started.

Even after the expansion during those periods of time there continued to be modifications and additions on the extensive plateau. The Treasury (Schatzhaus) was built from 1854 to 1855. After the fortress had been incorporated in 1871 into the fortification system of the new German Empire, battery ramparts were constructed from 1870 to 1895 with eight firing points, that were to have provided all-round defence for the fortress in case of an attack that, in the event, never came. This was at this time that the last major building work was done on the fortress.

Because Königstein Fortress was regarded as unconquerable, the Saxon monarchs retreated to it from Wittenberg and later Dresden during times of crisis and also deposited the state treasure and many works of art from the famous Zwinger here; it was also used as a country retreat due to its lovely surroundings.

The fortress played an important role in the History of Saxony, albeit less as a result of military action. The Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the fortress primarily as a secure refuge during times of war, as a hunting lodge and maison de plaisance, but also as a dreaded state prison. Its actual military significance was rather marginal.

Since 1955 the fortress has been an open-air, military history museum of high touristic value.