Medieval castles in Castile and León

Velasco Castle

Velasco castle was built at the end of 14th century and mid-15th century. Due to its complexity, dimensions and conservation, it is the most important castle of Mena and one of the most interesting in the province of Burgos. The first documents of the tower dates back to 1397 when it fell, after sharing the heritage of Pedro Gomez de Porras, on Maria Alonso de Porras, married to Diego Sanchez de Velasco.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Valle de Mena, Spain

Mazuelo de Muñó Castle

Mazuelo de Muñó Castle was built in the mid-14th century. The tower was inhabited until 1923 when a fire destroyed its interior.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Mazuelo de Muñó, Spain

Virtus Castle

Virtus Castle built in the 14th and 15th centuries. Privately owned, it is used as a home. It once belonged to the Porres family. The building consists of two floors. The inside is made of sandstone ashlar, has square floor and attached towers of circular section in the corners.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Valle de Valdebezana, 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

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

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

Enríquez Castle

At the beginning of the 16th century the Enríquez castle was owned by Bernardino Pérez de Sarmiento, Count of Ribadavia. It was a three-story castle with a square floor. The castle has been ruined at least since the 18th century.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Hornillos de Cerrato, 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

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

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

Arcos de Jalón Castle

Arcos de Jalón Castle, dating from the 14th century, stands on the site of an old Arab fortress. It was besieged in the 14th century by the supporters of the Castilian King Pedro I, who fought against the rebel D. Fernán Gómez de Albornoz, supporter of his bastard brother Enrique de Trastamara. This castle has a rectangular floor plan although it is quite irregular due to the fact that it adapts to the rugged land ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Arcos de Jalón, Spain

Berlanga de Duero Castle

Berlanga de Duero Castle, which is now in ruins, dates back to the 15th century though it was built over a 10th-century Muslim fortress of which there are no remnants. It originally belonged to the Tovar family who ordered the construction of the village’s collegiate. This castle played an important role, along with the defensive wall, in defending the villages along the Douro riverbanks during the Muslim Conquest. Of t ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Berlanga de Duero, Spain

Calatañazor Castle

According to the legends, Al-Mansur (legendary Moorish leader) was defeated near Calatañazor Castle in a bloody battle against Christian troops in 1002. The fortress originally had two quadrangular towers on the corners and a keep. Later on, circular towers were added to the southern wall and semi-circular ones next to the main entrance. The current  appearance dates mainly from the 14th century. The castle is part of ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Calatañazor, 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

Castillejo de Robledo Castle

Castillejo de Robledo castle and its lands were property of the Order of Malta until it was suppressed by Pope Clement V in 1311. After that the estate passed to the Knights Hospitaller and then to the residents of the town. In the town there was an old Moorish fortification where the current castle was built in the 12th century. The remains of the original wall are visible and are characterized by a greater thickn ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Castillejo de Robledo, Spain

Ciria Castle

Ciria Castle was built to protect the passage from Bilbilis to Numancia during the Moorish era. Later Ciria was linked to the border disputes between Castilians and Aragonese. In 1430 the Aragonese king seized the castles of Ciria and Borobia.
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Ciria, 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

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

Medinaceli Castle

Medinaceli Castle was built in the 9th century and rebuilt in the 15th century. There aren’t many remains left of this castle which was of great importance during the Middle Ages. According to legends, inside the castle, which is now completely restored, there was an Arabic citadel where Al-Mansur was buried after being defeated and killed in the Battle of Calatañazor in 1002, although, there aren’t any remains of th ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Medinaceli, 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Royal Palace of Aranjuez

Palacio Real de Aranjuez is a former Spanish royal residence. It was established around the time Philip II of Spain moved the capital from Toledo to Madrid. Aranjuez became one of four seasonal seats of government, occupied during the springtime (from about holy week). Thereafter, the court moved successively to Rascafría, El Escorial and wintered in Madrid. Aranjuez Cultural Landscape is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After the Christian conquest, Aranjuez was owned by the Order of Santiago and a palace was built for its Grand Masters where the Royal Palace stands today. When the Catholic Monarchs assumed the office of Grand Master of the Order of Santiago, Aranjuez became part of the Royal estate. This fertile land, located between the Tajo and Jarama Rivers, was converted into the Spanish monarchy"s most lavish country retreat: during Spain"s Golden Age, Aranjuez became a symbol for the perfection of nature by mortal hands, as El Escorial was for art.

Such excellence was based on strong Renaissance foundations, as Charles V envisaged this inherited estate as a large Italian-inspired villa, a desire continued by Philip II who appointed Juan Bautista de Toledo to design leafy avenues that ran through the gardens and farming land. A series of dams was constructed in the 16th century to control the course of the Tajo River and create a network of irrigation canals.

The splendour of the estate was only enhanced by the Bourbon monarchs, who would spend the whole spring, from Easter to July, at the Palace. Phillip V added new gardens and Ferdinand VI designed a new system of tree-lined streets and created a small village within the estate, which was further developed by Charles III and Charles IV. As Ferdinand VII and Isabella II continued to visit Aranjuez during the spring, the splendour of this site was maintained until 1870.

The Royal Palace, built by Phillip II on the site of the old palace of the Grand Masters of Santiago, was designed by the architect Juan Bautista de Toledo –under whom construction began in 1564– and later Juan Herrera, who only managed to finish half the project. Although glimpses of the original layout still remain, the building itself is more characteristic of the classicism favoured by the Hapsburg monarchs, with alternating white stone and brick. The original design was continued by Phillip V in 1715 but not finished until 1752 under Ferdinand VI. The rectangular layout that Juan Bautista de Toledo had planned, and that took two centuries to complete, was only maintained for 20 years, since in 1775 Charles III added two wings onto the Palace.

Real Casa del Labrador

As the Prince of Asturias, Charles IV was a frequent visitor to the pier pavilions built by Ferdinand VI and grew up playing in the Prince’s Garden. When he became King, he decided to build a new country house at the far end of these gardens, known as the Casa del Labrador (the labourer"s house) due to its modest exterior that was designed to heavily contrast the magnificent internal decor. It was built by chief architect Juan de Villanueva and his pupil Isidro González Velázquez, who designed some of the interior spaces. These rooms, developed in various stages until 1808, are the greatest example of the lavish interior decor favoured by this monarch in his palaces and country retreats. Highlights at this Site include the combination of different types of art and the luxurious textiles, in particular the silks from Lyon, as well as wealth of original works on the main floor, where Ferdinand VII added various paintings and landscapes by Brambilla.

King"s Garden, the Island Garden, Parterre Garden and the Prince"s Garden

Phillip II, a great lover of gardens, paid special attention to this feature of the Aranjuez Palace: during his reign, he maintained both the Island Garden, designed by the architect Juan Bautista de Toledo, and the King"s Garden, immediately adjacent to the Palace and whose current layout was designed by Philip IV. The majority of the fountains on this island were commissioned by Phillip IV, while the Bourbons added other features such as the Charles III benches.

Phillip V made two French-style additions to the existing gardens: the Parterre Garden in front of the palace and the extension at the far end of the Island Garden, known as the Little Island, where he installed the Tritons Fountain that was later moved to the Campo del Moro park by Isabella II.

The Prince"s Garden owes its name and creation to the son and heir of Charles III who, in the 1770s, began to use Ferdinand VI"s old pier for his own enjoyment. He also created a landscaped garden in the Anglo-French style that was in fashion at the time and which was directly influenced by Marie Antoinette"s gardens at the Petit Trianon. Both Juan de Villanueva and Pablo Boutelou collaborated in the design of this garden.