Medieval castles in Castile and León

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

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

Caracena Castle

Caracena Castle was first time mentioned in 1136. The primitive castle stood until the 15th century until it was demolished during the local conflict. In 1491, Alfonso Carrillo de Acuña, nephew of the archbishop of Toledo, obtained the lordship of Caracena and proceeded to rebuild the castle.
Founded: 1491 | Location: Caracena, Spain

Ucero Castle

The place dominated by the Ucero castle has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The castle is built on the site of an ancient Celtiberian castro. The site was first time mentioned in 1157 when Alfonso VII located the village of Sotos the Suso between Uxama and Ucero and there are documents that indicate that the castle already existed in the 13th century. It is estimated that the important hermit of San Juan de ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ucero, Spain

Mombeltran Castle

There may have been earlier castles at this site, but the Mombeltran castle we see today was built by Don Beltrán de la Cueva, the first Duke of Alburquerque. He placed his coat of arms and those of his successive spouses above the entrance gate. This makes us believe that the construction of the castle took place between 1462 and 1474. The castle was donated to Don Beltrán by King Enrique IV, in 1461. Because there&quo ...
Founded: 1462-1474 | Location: Mombeltrán, 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

Tiedra Castle

Located on a hill, almost on the border of the province of Zamora, and within viewing distance of Villalonso Castle, the primitive Tiedra Castle is already mentioned in the 11th century. The present castle seems to date from the end of the 13th century and is in a bad state of conservation. It consists of a polygonal enclosure, with a perimeter of 115 meters, equipped with two circular towers. Near one of these there ar ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Tiedra, 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

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

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

Coruña del Conde Castle

Coruña del Conde village contains the ruins of an ancient castle, later converted for use by Castilian counts, which sits atop a hill that looks over the town. The castle has its origins in the 10th century, when García I de León decided to repopulate the Douro valley.
Founded: 10th century | Location: Coruña del Conde, Spain

San Esteban de Gormaz Castle

The castle of San Esteban de Gormaz is one of the key castles that changed ruler once and again during the 10th and 11th century when it finally came under Christian domain. During the reign of King García I, king of Leon, it was reinforced giving place to a repopulation of the town. From there, soldiers would control transit through the Douro River and they would guard the bridge that passed over this river. Nowadays, w ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: San Esteban de Gormaz, Spain

Monzón de Campos Castle

Monzón de Campos Castle was built in the 14th century by the Rojas family on the remains of an earlier castle which was contemporary one. The keep, made of high quality ashlar masonry, has no openings besides a couple of small arrow slits which gives it a severe appearance. The oldest part is the elevated entrance of the present tower of homage.The coat of arms on the pointed arch of the main gate belongs to the Rojas f ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Monzón de Campos, Spain

Monteagudo de las Vicarías Castle

Monteagudo de las Vicarías Castle was located in the centre of the town within the defensive walls that completely surrounded it and that can still be seen throughout the town. It was built between the 15th and 16th century by the Hurtado de Mendoza family, and it has towers and buttresses on the corners, a great indoor courtyard and an octagonal shaped keep. Recent restorations have been carried out on the battlement he ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Monteagudo de las Vicarías, Spain

Almenar Castle

Almenar castle was built in the 15th century over the remains of an older castle that can still be seen today. It originally belonged to the Bravo de Laguna and Saravias y Ríos families, and till this day you can still see their coat of arms on the castle’s walls. It has a double-wall enclosure: in the interior one you can find the Keep and the weapon courtyard, and in the exterior one, you can see the defensive walls ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Almenar de Soria, 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

Fuentidueña Castle

Located in the extreme north of the province of Segovia, Fuentidueña village rises above a narrow valley formed by the Duratón River, a unique geographical location that explains the importance of the town during the Middle Ages. The Villa was walled on its north, south and west sides with a clearly defensive function. On the other hand, there is an impressive rock cut that makes defense very easy. Intramural access is ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Fuentidueña, Spain

Magaña Castle

The castle of Magaña is considered to be one of the most important castles from the 15th century in the province of Soria. This castle is in better condition than what we are used to seeing in the area and the best way to contemplate its majestic silhouette is from the road on the way towards Fuentes de Magaña or from the highest parts of the town. You will be able to see all the plants that have reclaimed its walls con ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Magaña, Spain

Yanguas Castle

To the west of the Yanguas town, on the edge of the cliff, is a limestone castle that controlled the access to the Ebro valley. It is not certain when it was first built and it is possible that it was built when Yanguas received its own town charter. However, the architectonical style suggests that it was built in the 14th century. Recent restoration works have given the castle back the dignity it deserves to be a herita ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Yanguas, Spain

Aunqueospese Castle

The construction of the Aunqueospese Castle was started in 1490 by Pedro Dávila, lord of Villafranca and captain of the Duke of Alba. The castle was completed in 1504 by Esteban Dávila.
Founded: 1490 | Location: Mironcillo, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of the Savior on Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.

In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.