Medieval castles in Castile and León

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

Ampudia Castle

First built in the 13th century, but thoroughly altered in the 15th century, Ampudia Castle has a square plan with a gothic central courtyard and 4 towers on each corner. Half of the castle complex is surrounded by a barbican defended by cylindrical towers. It belonged to different owners such as Juan Alfonso de Alburquerque, Sancho de Rojas and Pedro Garcia Herrera (Marsical of Castille) among others. In 1521 it was a ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ampudia, Spain

Béjar Castle

The Ducal Palace of Béjar was built after 1203 by Alfonso VIII. Although these already very reduced in the XIXth century, they still conserve some square and round towers and part of their perimeter bordering the oblong hill on which the old part is based. Béjar was a royal place, but with Enrique III, in 1396, it passed to the lordship of Diego López de Zúñiga or Estúñiga, whose successors will hold the title of ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Béjar, 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

Gormaz Castle

Gormaz was the largest fortress in Europe after its expansion in 956 AD. It is without a doubt the greatest example of military architecture, not only in Soria but in the entire Spanish territory. The original castle was built shortly after 756 AD by emir Abd ar-Rahman I of Córdoba, as part of a state ('dawla') policy to control rich landowners and peasants, as well as to try to govern and protect the Centra ...
Founded: c. 756 AD | Location: Soria, Spain

Aguilar de Campoo Castle

The walls and the castle of the Manrique family in Aguilar de Campoo were built in the 15th century on a previous structure.The castle was erected on top of a Celt-Iberian vernacular structure and became an important fortress in the 12th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Aguilar de Campoo, Spain

Adrada Castle

Adrada Castle is built with granite masonry combined with brick, obeying the wish of don Álvaro de Luna. It was built in the 14th century on a Gothic church, and in the 16th century the keep tower was arisen and built a great cube for the gunner. After that, the castle was transformed into arcaded Renaissance palace, according to the Spanish use.
Founded: 14th century | Location: La Adrada, Spain

Arévalo Castle

Arévalo castle was built in the 14th century and reformed during the 15th and 16th centuries. It has a pentagonal ground plan and a large Tower of Homage. Inside there is a Cereal Museum. King Pedro I, the Cruel, locked his wife Blanca de Borbón in the castle. Juan II and Enrique IV possessed it, the latter handed it to don Álvaro de Zúñiga; between 1476 and 1480, Zúñiga and the Catholic Monarchs negotiated a comp ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Arévalo, Spain

Grajal de Campos Castle

Begun in the 16th century by Hernando de Vega over remains of a 10th century castle, the Grajal de Campos Castle was finished by his son Juan de Vega y Acuna, count of Grajal. Designed to withstand the use of artillery the castle has sloped walls and its overall height is lower than those of earlier castles, making it difficult and hard to target by cannon fire. The Grajal de Campos Castle has a square plan with f ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Grajal de Campos, Spain

Rebolledo de la Torre Castle

Rebolledo de la Torre castle is located on a hill, very close to the Romanesque church. It consists of a tower and a fence. It has an irregular polygonal floor plan. The castle dates from the 14th century.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Rebolledo de la Torre, Spain

Valdecorneja Castle

The village of El Barco de Avila is situated in the foothills of the Sierra de Gredos mountain range. After the conquest of Toledo and the retreat of the Muslim lines to the south bank of the river Tajo, King Alfonso VI donated this valley to his daughter and ordered his son-in-law Ramon de Borgoña to erect a fortification and to repopulate the surrounding area. There is few documented data of the construction of the pr ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: El Barco de Ávila, Spain

Urueña Castle

The Urueña castle was built around the year 1060 by the Castilian monarch Fernando I el Magno (the Great). It is built on the remains of a Roman fort. Overlooking the Tierra de Campos it has always been a strategically important place. Urueña was on the border between the two kingdoms Castilla and León. After many battles the kingdom of Castilla reconquered the castle in the year 1281. The Queen Doña Urraca lived in ...
Founded: 1060 | Location: Urueña, Spain

Rello Castle

The fortified town of Rello still maintains the original defensive walls and castle that were used as protection against civilisations that came from the south following the Douro River. It is the best-preserved walled enclosure in the province. You can go inside through either one of the two gates located on the sides of the castle. The castle is protected by a fortified enclosure with circular and quadrangular towers t ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Rello, Spain

Torrelobatón Castle

Torrelobatón Castle is one of the most important and best-preserved fortresses in Valladolid. In the historical epic film El Cid with Charlton Heston the castle played the role of Vivar, hometown of El Cid. The castle was begun in 1406, when Don Alfonso Enríquez, 1st Admiral of Castile, obtained licence from John II to erect a fortress in Torrelobatón; the only fortification there was a modest stone enclosure surround ...
Founded: 1406 | Location: Torrelobatón, 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

Sarmiento Castle

15th century castle in Sarmiento belonged to the important Sarmiento family. Its last owner was the House of Alba. Acquired by the Provincial Council of Palencia, we can visit the tower, its rooms and its ramparts. It hosts an exhibition entitled PlastiHistoria, showing various scenes made in clay on the history of Palencia. Its keep has a height of 22 meters and the thickness of its walls is the largest of the Spanish ca ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Fuentes de Valdepero, Spain

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

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

Portillo Castle

The Castillo de Portillo is a well-preserved medieval castle in Portillo; the earliest elements of its present construction date to the fifteenth century. The site has been fortified since the tenth century, when it is documented in connection with Moorish forays into the region, under Abd al-Rahman III. In the fourteenth century, and until the early fifteenth, it was in the possession of the family of Sandoval; in 1392 ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Portillo, Spain

San Martin del Castañar Castle

San Martin del Castañar Castle was built in the 15th century. Now there are remains of its towers. The building, made in blocks of granite and masonry, consisted of two towers linked by a central body of rooms, protected by an approximately circular enclosure with some cubes and practicable pointed arch doors.
Founded: 15th century | Location: San Martín del Castañar, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Erfurt Synagogue

The Erfurt Synagogue was built c. 1094. It is thought to be the oldest synagogue building still standing in Europe. Thanks to the extensive preservation of the original structure, it has a special place in the history of art and architecture and is among the most impressive and highly rated architectural monuments in Erfurt and Thuringia. The synagogue was constructed during the Middle Ages on the via regia, one of the major European trade routes, at the heart of the historical old quarter very close to the Merchants Bridge and the town hall. Many parts of the structure still remain today, including all four thick outer walls, the Roman­esque gemel window, the Gothic rose window and the entrance to the synagogue room.

After extensive restoration, the building was reopened in 2009. On display in the exhibition rooms is an collection of medieval treasures discovered during archaeological excavations. This includes 3,140 silver coins, 14 silver ingots, approx. 6,000 works of goldsmithery from the 13th and 14th centuries and an intricately worked wedding ring of the period, of which only two others are known to exist anywhere in the world. A mikveh (Jewish bath) has been excavated close by (13th/14th century). The Old Synagogue, the Small Synagogue and two Jewish cemeteries together form a network of historical buildings and sites which vividly portray the role of Jewish life in the history of Erfurt.