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

Charlottenburg Palace

Charlottenburg Palace is the largest palace in Berlin and the only surviving royal residence in the city dating back to the time of the Hohenzollern family. The original palace was commissioned by Sophie Charlotte, the wife of Friedrich III, Elector of Brandenburg in what was then the village of Lietzow. Originally named Lietzenburg, the palace was designed by Johann Arnold Nering in baroque style. The inauguration of the palace was celebrated on 11 July 1699, Frederick's 42nd birthday.

Friedrich crowned himself as King Friedrich I in Prussia in 1701 (Friedrich II, known as Frederick the Great, would later achieve the title King of Prussia). Two years previously, he had appointed Johann Friedrich von Eosander (also known as Eosander von Göthe) as the royal architect and sent him to study architectural developments in Italy and France, particularly the Palace of Versailles. On his return in 1702, Eosander began to extend the palace, starting with two side wings to enclose a large courtyard, and the main palace was extended on both sides. Sophie Charlotte died in 1705 and Friedrich named the palace and its estate Charlottenburg in her memory. In the following years, the Orangery was built on the west of the palace and the central area was extended with a large domed tower and a larger vestibule. On top of the dome is a wind vane in the form of a gilded statue representing Fortune designed by Andreas Heidt. The Orangery was originally used to overwinter rare plants. During the summer months, when over 500 orange, citrus and sour orange trees decorated the baroque garden, the Orangery regularly was the gorgeous scene of courtly festivities.

Inside the palace, was a room described as 'the eighth wonder of the world', the Amber Room, a room with its walls surfaced in decorative amber. It was designed by Andreas Schlüter and its construction by the Danish amber craftsman Gottfried Wolfram started in 1701. Friedrich Wilhelm I gave the Amber Room to Tsar Peter the Great as a present in 1716.

When Friedrich I died in 1713, he was succeeded by his son, Friedrich Wilhelm I whose building plans were less ambitious, although he did ensure that the building was properly maintained. Building was resumed after his son Friedrich II (Frederick the Great) came to the throne in 1740. During that year, stables for his personal guard regiment were completed to the south of the Orangery wing and work was started on the east wing. The building of the new wing was supervised by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff, the Superintendent of all the Royal Palaces, who largely followed Eosander's design. The decoration of the exterior was relatively simple but the interior furnishings were lavish. The ground floor was intended for Frederick's wife Elisabeth Christine, who, preferring Schönhausen Palace, was only an occasional visitor. The decoration of the upper floor, which included the White Hall, the Banqueting Hall, the Throne Room and the Golden Gallery, was lavish and was designed mainly by Johann August Nahl. In 1747, a second apartment for the king was prepared in the distant eastern part of the wing. During this time, Sanssouci was being built at Potsdam and once this was completed Frederick was only an occasional visitor to Charlottenburg.

In 1786, Frederick was succeeded by his nephew Friedrich Wilhelm II who transformed five rooms on the ground floor of the east wing into his summer quarters and part of the upper floor into Winter Chambers, although he did not live long enough to use them. His son, Friedrich Wilhelm III came to the throne in 1797 and reigned with his wife, Queen Luise for 43 years. They spent much of this time living in the east wing of Charlottenburg. Their eldest son, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, who reigned from 1840 to 1861, lived in the upper storey of the central palace building. After Friedrich Wilhelm IV died, the only other royal resident of the palace was Friedrich III who reigned for 99 days in 1888.

The palace was badly damaged in 1943 during the Second World War. In 1951, the war-damaged Stadtschloss in East Berlin was demolished and, as the damage to Charlottenburg was at least as serious, it was feared that it would also be demolished. However, following the efforts of Margarete Kühn, the Director of the State Palaces and Gardens, it was rebuilt to its former condition, with gigantic modern ceiling paintings by Hann Trier.

The garden was designed in 1697 in baroque style by Simeon Godeau who had been influenced by André Le Nôtre, designer of the gardens at Versailles. Godeau's design consisted of geometric patterns, with avenues and moats, which separated the garden from its natural surroundings. Beyond the formal gardens was the Carp Pond. Towards the end of the 18th century, a less formal, more natural-looking garden design became fashionable. In 1787 the Royal Gardener Georg Steiner redesigned the garden in the English landscape style for Friedrich Wilhelm II, the work being directed by Peter Joseph Lenné. After the Second World War, the centre of the garden was restored to its previous baroque style.