Medieval castles in Castile and León

Monasterio de Rodilla Castle

The castle of Monasterio de Rodilla was built around 884 AD by Count Diego Porcelos to protect the new territories to be settled. The castle is documented for the first time in 1011. From 1035-1054 the castle was owned by Navarra.
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Monasterio de Rodilla, Spain

Torregalindo Castle Ruins

Torregalindo castle was mentioned first time in 11th centur when Kingdom of Castile populated the area. Today it lies in ruins above the village.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Torregalindo, 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

Serón de Nágima Castle

The Raya or frontier between the kingdoms of Castile and Aragón was fortified with a system of castles and walled-cities that were useful during the several conflicts that took place in the late Middle Ages. The Serón de Nágima castle defended the communication road between the axis of the Jalón river valley, which flows into the Ebro, and Duero valley. Its uniqueness stems from the fact that it is one of the few for ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Serón de Nágima, Spain

Cabrejas del Pinar Castle

The walled medieval town of Cabrejas del Pinar was the leader of its Community of Burgs and Land and there are some traces left of the walled enclosure and fortress that protected the locals. The castle was built in stone on top of a high rock possibly between the 13th and 14th century. Some of the walls, doors and the keep are still visible which helps understand how the fortress’ layout once was. The quadrangular kee ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Cabrejas del Pinar, Spain

Villagarcía de Campos Castle

Villagarcía de Campos Castle was first time mentioned in 1336. In 1810 the castle was ravaged by the French Army during the War of Independence.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Villagarcía de Campos, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.