Medieval castles in Castile and León

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

Montemayor del Río Castle

Montemayor del Río Castle probably doesn"t date back to before the 15th century, and has more the character of a palace than of a strength. It has two existing enclosures. From the outer one only the entrance, flanked by two turrets, remains. The inner has an irregular groundplan, adapted to the outline of the land it was build on. In the interior two floor levels can still be traced which were arranged around a c ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Montemayor del Río, 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

Puente del Congosto Castle

The origins of Puente del Congosto Castle dates from the 12th and 13th centuries. It was built for defensive reasons, to control the route which connected Ciudad Rodrigo with Avila. In 1393, Enrique III granted the manor of the Puente del Congosto to Gil Gonzalez Davila, which rebuilt the castle, which would be Posada Real. The Duke of Alba bought the castle to the Emperor Carlos in 1539, adding to the rectangular tower ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Puente del Congosto, Spain

Villanueva de Cañedo Castle

The castle of Villanueva del Cañedo (also known as the castle of Buen Amor) was built on the remains of a previous castle of the 11th century, and of which the basement is still preserved. In 1477 the castle became property of Alonso Ulloa de Fonseca Quijada, Bishop of Ávila. Fonseca reconstructed the castle turning it into a Renaissance palace. Between 1958 and 1960 the castle was restored by its current owner ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Topas, Spain

Monleón Castle

Located at the western end of the Monleón village, next to a steep area that dominates the confluence of the Carnicero stream with the Alagón river, Monleón Castle was raised in the 13th century as part of the defensive walls that surround the village. Its groundplan is an irregular trapeze, with the keep in the middle. The north and east wall of the enclosure are built later than the others, to obtain a fortified per ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Monleón, 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

San Felices de los Gallegos Castle

San Felices de los Gallegos Castle has an historical purpose as the frontier stronghold between Portugal and Castile. The enclosure with medieval origins is protected by the castle and the walls which were built in successive periods. The wall, built of stone blocks with adjoining square towers, dates from the 13th century and encircles a spacious bailey. The keep dates from the 15th century, and a third fortified enclos ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: San Felices de los Gallegos, Spain

Alcuetas Castle

The Alcuetas Castle was probably built in the 15th century by Alfonso Enríquez de Acuña.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Alcuetas, Spain

Cea Castle

Castillo de Cea was built in the 15th century on the site of an older castle destroyed in the 12th century. It was used as a prison for Castilian kings. At the beginning of the twentieth century it was used as a quarry for the new church of the town. At the moment only a tower and an entrance arch of the wall are conserved.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Cea, 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

Alija del Infantado Castle

Alija del Infantado Castle was built in the late 15th century. It has a square floor plan, flanked by towers. Inside the walls is the private Palace of the Ponces, whose primitive construction dates back to the thirteenth century.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Alija del Infantado, Spain

Laguna de Negrillos Castle

Castle of Laguna de Negrillos is one of the fortress that belonged to the Conde Luna, with a characteristic structural style which features for a square floor and use of masonry , except in the corners, whose arris are built in ashlar stone. The keep tower and the crenellated walls are preserved. It was arisen in the 13th century, although what you can seen today is the reconstruction carried out in the 15th century by ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Laguna de Negrillos, 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

Corullón Castle

Corullón Castle dates from 15th century. Its tower was copied to build a similar one in Tuscany (Italy). Today, the tower and the surrounding ruins are still preserved. The best place which has been preserved is the Tower of Homage. On its entry point, two armorial bearings mark both houses, Osorio´s House and Valcarce´s House. It is a squared tower with three storeys, separated by imposts, battlements, modillions, me ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Corullón, Spain

Sarracín Castle

Castillo de Sarracín is a castle-fortress located near the village of Vega de Valcarce in Spain, situated on the most ancient European pilgrimage route known as the way of Saint James – El Camino de Santiago. The castle was built around the 9th Century and was used by the Knights Templars to protect the pilgrim routes. The castle has been used until the 16th century and has been abandoned ever since.
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Vega de Valcarce, Spain

Castle of Alba de Aliste

Castle of Alba de Aliste is located on the margins of the river Aliste. Today it lies in ruins. In the 12th century it belonged to the Knights Templar. Don Álvaro de Luna owned it in the 15th century. It became the capital of the county of Alba y Aliste under Enrique IV. It was built on the remains of an old Vetton fort in the 12th century and renovated in the 15th century, retaining only some walls and a tower, althoug ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Losacino, 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

Villalonso Castle

Villalonso Castle is one of the best conserved castles in the province of Zamora. The castle is a typical and notable example of 15th-century architecture; its construction may be attributed to Juan de Ulloa and his wife María de Sarmiento, whose coats of arms can be seen above the entrance gate. It played an important role during the siege of the queen Isabel the Catholic on Toro during her war against Juan "La B ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Villalonso, Spain

Castrotorafe Castle

The ruins of the ancient town of Castrotorafe, popularly known as Zamora la Vieja, are in San Cebrian de Castro, emplacement already located in the 12th century. It was a medieval defensive site which appeared on the banks of Esla River. It keeps the walls built with slate masonry and mortar, and has 4.709 square meters, including the castle, the hermitage and the walls. The best preserved is the castle, of two enclosur ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: San Cebrian de Castro, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lübeck Cathedral

Lübeck Cathedral is a large brick-built Lutheran cathedral in Lübeck, Germany and part of the Lübeck UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1173 Henry the Lion founded the cathedral to serve the Diocese of Lübeck, after the transfer in 1160 of the bishop's seat from Oldenburg in Holstein under bishop Gerold. The then Romanesque cathedral was completed around 1230, but between 1266 and 1335 it was converted into a Gothic-style building with side-aisles raised to the same height as the main aisle.

On the night of Palm Sunday (28–29 March) 1942 a Royal Air Force bombing raid destroyed a fifth of the town centre. Several bombs fell in the area around the church, causing the eastern vault of the quire to collapse and destroying the altar which dated from 1696. A fire from the neighbouring cathedral museum spread to the truss of the cathedral, and around noon on Palm Sunday the towers collapsed. An Arp Schnitger organ was lost in the flames. Nevertheless, a relatively large portion of the internal fittings was saved, including the cross and almost all of the medieval polyptychs. In 1946 a further collapse, of the gable of the north transept, destroyed the vestibule almost completely.

Reconstruction of the cathedral took several decades, as greater priority was given to the rebuilding of the Marienkirche. Work was completed only in 1982.

The cathedral is unique in that at 105 m, it is shorter than the tallest church in the city. This is the consequence of a power struggle between the church and the guilds.

The 17 m crucifix is the work of the Lübeck artist Bernt Notke. It was commissioned by the bishop of Lübeck, Albert II. Krummendiek, and erected in 1477. The carvings which decorate the rood screen are also by Notke.

Since the war, the famous altar of Hans Memling has been in the medieval collection of the St. Annen Museum, but notable polyptychs remain in the cathedral.

In the funeral chapels of the southern aisle are Baroque-era memorials by the Flemish sculptor Thomas Quellinus.