Medieval castles in Castile and León

Osma Castle

The Castle of Osma is a medieval castle which seems to have been built in the 10th century. It was built in stone, although Count Gonzalo Tello used some Roman structures and materials which belonged to a small Christian fortress. The castle is divided into three walled enclosures which can be easily distinguished. Nowadays you can see the ruins of this fortress which adapts perfectly to the rocky hill between the Ucero ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Burgo de Osma, Spain

Íscar Castle

The first written mention of Íscar was in the year 939 AD in Muslim chronicles. The remaining Christians reconquered Iscar in 1086 AD. Build on the ruins of its ancient fortress, Iscar’s Castle stands majestic looking over the village. The oldest preserved parts of this fortress (probably dating back to the 13th century) are remains of the curtain wall and the inside structure of the tower. To provide a defence against ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Íscar, Spain

Villaviciosa Castle

The Castle of Villaviciosa was built in two different stages. In the 15th century, Nuño González del Águila y Guzmán ordered to build a castle to control the passage from the Amblés Valley to the Sierra de la Paramera. In the 16th century, the execution of the Torre de las Damas was carried out. Currently, Villaviciosa Castle is a hotel.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Villaviciosa, Spain

Sotopalacios Castle

Sotopalacios castle, dating from the 14th century, is a rectangular in shape, with square turrets in the corners. It contains palatial rooms around a courtyard. One of the largest and better preserved castles in the province of Burgos, thanks to the restoration works the owner has carried out over the years.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Merindad de Río Ubierna, Spain

Úrbel Castle

El Castillo de Úrbel is located on a steep hill. The current remains date back to the 15th century and were built by the Zúñiga family. Originally castle was built in the 11th century.  
Founded: 15th century | Location: Urbel del Castillo, 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

Encinas de Esgueva Castle

Encinas Castle is dated back to the 14th century. The castle consists of a small and square enclosure, with two square towers in two of its corners. One of these served as the keep. In the other two corners the crenelated walls are raised to the same height as the two towers thus giving the false impression that the castle had four towers. There is a small stone ditch at the feet of the walls, which is provided with a low ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Encinas de Esgueva, Spain

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

Montuenga Castle

Montuenga Castle in Soria, Spain forms part of the defensive line of the Jalón River set in a natural passage between the plateau and strategic basin of the Ebro. The area was subject to disputes, notable during the Castilian Civil War. The castle is perched on a high hill, steep and long, from which it dominates the town of Montuenga de Soria. The remains of the building, two polygonal towers at each end, are jo ...
Founded: Middle ages | Location: Montuenga de Soria, Spain

Narros de Saldueña Castle

Narros de Saldueña Castle dates from the 15th century. During the Peninsular War (1807–1814) it was occupied by the French army. The conservation took place in 1960s.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Narros de Saldueña, Spain

Castilnovo Castle

Built in the 12th century in mudejar style, the Castilnovo castle is conserved in good condition. It has a rectangular plan, with six round and square towers. It was rebuilt in the 14th - 16th centuries and again between the 19th and the 20th centuries. The present castle is thought to have been built on a previous structure, probably a small fortress. Trapezoid ground plan, with six round and rectangular turrets of br ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Condado de Castilnovo, Spain

Alcuetas Castle

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

Villavellid Castle

Villavellid Castle is located on a little hill next to the village. By its diposition and characteristics it can be dated to the 15th century and it was probably the residence of a nobleman. Its constructor isn"t known although in 1452 a Don Francisco de Almazán, Marquess of Alcañices, was mentioned as the Lord of the village and the owner of a 'strong house'. Its plan is a square with wide walls of ashl ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Villavellid, 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

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

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

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

Castronuevo Castle

Castronuevo was built before 1481 and remodeled in 1489. It has three circular and two rectangular towers.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Rivilla de Barajas, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Het Steen

Het Steen is a medieval fortress in the old city centre of Antwerp. Built after the Viking incursions in the early Middle Ages as the first stone fortress of Antwerp, Het Steen is Antwerp's oldest building and used to be its oldest urban centre.

Previously known as Antwerpen Burcht (fortress), Het Steen gained its current name in around 1520, after significant rebuilding under Charles V. The fortress made it possible to control the access to the Scheldt, the river on whose bank it stands. It was used as a prison between 1303 and 1827. The largest part of the fortress, including dozens of historic houses and the oldest church of the city, was demolished in the 19th century when the quays were straightened to stop the silting up of the Scheldt. The remaining building, heavily changed, contains a shipping museum, with some old canal barges displayed on the quay outside.

In 1890 Het Steen became the museum of archeology and in 1952 an annex was added to house the museum of Antwerp maritime history, which in 2011 moved to the nearby Museum Aan de Stroom. Here you’ll also find a war memorial to the Canadian soldiers in WWII.

There are some beautiful plaques on the back side of the Steen Castle at Antwerp. Canadian visitors will especially want to see the plaques thanking the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry for their part in the liberation of Antwerp, in 1944.

At the entrance to Het Steen is a bas-relief of Semini, above the archway, around 2nd century. Semini is the Scandinavian God of youth and fertility (with symbolic phallus). A historical plaque near Het Steen explains that women of the town appealed to Semini when they desired children; the god was reviled by later religious clergy. Inhabitants of Antwerp previously referred to themselves as 'children of Semini'.

At the entrance bridge to the castle is a statue of a giant and two humans. It depicts the giant Lange Wapper who used to terrorise the inhabitants of the city in medieval times.