Medieval castles in Galicia

Ribadavia Castle

Ribadavia Castle, sitting at what is the unofficial entry point to the old town, has relics dating back as far as the 9th century, but the main structure was erected during the 15th century at the behest of the then Count of Ribadavia. It was abandoned in the 17th century when the counts moved to the palace adjacent to main square of Ribadavia.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Ribadavia, Spain

Monterreal Fortress

Monterreal Fortress is located on the Monte Boi peninsula, also know as Monterreal. This site has been known over the past 2000 years as the walled precinct. Pre-Christian civilisations such as the Celts, the Phoenicians and the Romans lived here in the past. During the present time, the place was occupied by many different people and it suffered a number of attacks and modifications. The village of Baiona was site here d ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Baiona, Spain

Torres de Oeste

Oeste Towers (Torres de Oeste) is located at the head of the Ría de Arousa. The towers remaining today are the ruins of Castellum Honesti. In the 9th century, King Alfonso III of Leon built the castle as a defense against Viking attacks. The two remaining towers are from this period, and have a pre-Roman style. Pre-Roman ceramics and bronze tools have been discovered at the site. Two centuries later, King Alfonso V ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Catoira, Spain

Lanzada Castle Ruins

Lanzada Castle dates from the c. 960 AD and it was built to the grounds of Phoenician or Roman lighthouse. The castle was built to protect the area against Viking and Norman raids and later for Moorish pirates. It was conquered by Irmandiño revolts and destroyed in 1467. Today one hermit and and part of the keep remains.
Founded: c. 960 AD | Location: A Lanzada, Spain

Monastery of San Vicente do Pino

Above the plain of Monforte de Lemos rises a small hill which overlooks its entire expanse. This was the site chosen in the 10th century for building what would subsequently become the current monastery. It is also said that this was the location for the well-known Castrum Dactonium, of the Celtic Lemavos tribe, mentioned by the historians Ptolemy and Pliny the Elder. Construction of the current San Vicente del Pino mona ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Monforte de Lemos, Spain

Castro Caldelas Castle

The typical Galician noble fortress in Castro Caldelas with medieval origins has been splendidly conserved and restored and today functions as a library, cultural centre and exhibition venue. The castle originally belonged to the House of the Counts of Lemos, and became part of the House of Alba in the 18th century. It was built in the 14th century as a fortress with a purely military function, and was renovated in the 1 ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Castro Caldelas, Spain

Monterrei Castle

Monterrei Castle is located a high part of the valley, near the town of Verín. It was built in the 12th century by Alfonso Henríquez. It was extremely important in the epoch of Peter the Cruel. In the 16th century it was used by Philip the Handsome for a meeting with Cardinal Cisneros. It was built from stone with evenly dressed ashlars. The most notable exterior features are the two towers: the Ladies Tower and the Kee ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Monterrei, Spain

Soutomaior Castle

Built in the 12th century by Pedro Álvarez de Soutomaior it is one of the most important castles in Southern Galicia. Its origins can be traced back to the reign of Alfonso VII, when a military construction was built in a strategic location in the town of Soutomaior. On a hill at 119 metres above sea level at the bottom of the Ría de Vigo, the castle was near the coast but protected against the sea incursions of the Nor ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Soutomaior, Spain

Vimianzo Castle

Vimianzo Castle construction began in the 13th century and was completed during the 14th and 15th centuries. It is in an excellent state of preservation. Its walls are surrounded by a moat over which a drawbridge is lowered. The building was constructed in a polygonal design with four towers and an arms courtyard. Its walls, almost two metres thick, withstood numerous attacks during the Irmandiñas (Brotherhoods) Wars. It ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Vimianzo, Spain

Nogueirosa Castle

Built in a strategic position on a crag, Nogueirosa Castle (or Andrade Castle) is a small fortress but one with magnificent views. From the keep there are extensive views of the mouth of the Eume and virtually all of the Ría de Ares y Betanzos. It was built in the 13th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Pontedeume, Spain

Sobroso Castle

Due to its strategic position, the Sobroso castle was known as 'the key of the Kingdom of Galicia'. The name of the Castle, and the village itself, comes from the Latin SUBEROSUM, in reference to the "sobreiras", Quercus suber or cork trees that once surrounded it. The oldest reference to Sobroso Castle dates back to 1096. The castle that stands today dates back to the 14th or 15th century constr ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: A Pena, Spain

Castle da Rocha Forte

Castle da Rocha Forte was built by Archbishop Juan Arias around 1240 and has since served as an archbishop's and cabildo's residence, witnessing much of the medieval history of Santiago. In the year 1255 appears the first documentary mention of the fortress in relation to the capitular constitutions of Juan Arias. The castle was situated in a strategic location by road from Padrón village to Santiago. Pilgrims followed t ...
Founded: c. 1240 | Location: Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Naraío Castle

Built on solid rock inside the spectacular protected area Xuvia-Castro, Naraío Castle dates from 14th century. Neverthless, it is said that the remains we can see nowadays are the result of the reconstruction of an ancient fortress. The precious castle was an unconquerable fortress. To get to the tower of homage we have to cross two doors where can still be seen the Andrade´s coat of arms. Around the tower were found se ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: San Saturnino, Spain

Torres de Altamira

Torres de Altamira is a ruined castle in Brión, connected to powerful Moscoco family. It was built in the 9th century AD and rebuilt in 1471. In the 17th century it was in bad condition and today mainly towers remain.
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Brión, Spain

Maceda Castle

Originally built in the late 11th century, the Maceda Castle that we see today is a mixture of very different styles of construction. It comprises two concentric enclosures, the newer one dates from the 16th century.  
Founded: 11th century | Location: Maceda, Spain

Castrodouro Castle

Castelo do Castrodouro is a small castle which once belonged to Pardo de Cela"s family. It dates probably from the 14th century.   
Founded: 14th century | Location: Alfoz, Spain

Moeche Castle

Moeche Castle was built in the 14th century by the Andrades Family. It has an octogonal groundplan, and its walls are 10 m high and 3 m thick. Its gatekeep is 18 m tall and it is the only part of the castle protecting its walls from the outside. It was under siege and taken by the Irmandinos uprising. The Moeche Castle has been restored recently, but in order to visit the interior of the castle, you"ll have to requ ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Moeche, Spain

Carbedo Castle

The exact age of Carbedo Castle is unkown, but it was documented first time in 1181. The last restorations were made in 1558, but the castle was abandoned soon after that.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Folgoso de Caurel, Spain

Peroja Castle

The origins of Peroja Castle are uknown. It may be built as part of the defence line in 793 by the King of Asturia. The current ruins date probably from the 13th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: A Peroxa, Spain

Doiras Castle

Castillo de Doiras is one of the best preserved castles in Galicia. It is dated to the 15th century and has 16m high keep and curtain walls.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Lugo, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Walled city of Jajce

The Walled City of Jajce is a medieval fortified nucleus of Jajce in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with citadel high above town on top of pyramidal-shaped steep hill, enclosed with approximately 1,300 metres long defensive walls,. It is one of the best preserved fortified capitals of the Bosnian Kingdom, the last stronghold before the kingdom dissolved under the pressure of military advancement at the onset of Ottoman Empire takeover.

The entire complex of the Walled city of Jajce, with the citadel, city ramparts, watchtower Medvjed-kula, and two main city gate-towers lies on the southern slope of a large rocky pyramid at the confluence of the rivers Pliva and Vrbas, enclosed by these rivers from the south-southwest, with the bed of the Pliva, and east-southeast by the river Vrbas gorge.

History

The fortress was built by Hrvoje Vukčić Hrvatinić, the founder of Jajce. However, the city became the seat of the Bosnian kings, hence the royal coat of arms decoration on the citadel entrance. A part of the wall was built by the Hungarian King, while the Ottomans erected the powder magazine. The walls are high and the castle was built on a hill that is egg shaped, the rivers Pliva and Vrbas also protect the castle. There is no rampart on the south and west.

Jajce was first built in the 14th century and served as the capital of the independent Kingdom of Bosnia during its time. The town has gates as fortifications, as well as a castle with walls which lead to the various gates around the town. About 10–20 kilometres from Jajce lies the Komotin Castle and town area which is older but smaller than Jajce. It is believed the town of Jajce was previously Komotin but was moved after the Black Death.

The first reference to the name of Jajce in written sources is from the year 1396, but the fortress had already existed by then. Jajce was the residence of the last Bosnian king Stjepan Tomasevic; the Ottomans besieged the town and executed him, but held it only for six months, before the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus seized it at the siege of Jajce and established the Banovina of Jajce.

Skenderbeg Mihajlović besieged Jajce in 1501, but without success because he was defeated by Ivaniš Korvin assisted by Zrinski, Frankopan, Karlović and Cubor.

During this period, Queen Catherine restored the Saint Mary"s Church in Jajce, today the oldest church in town. Eventually, in 1527, Jajce became the last Bosnian town to fall to Ottoman rule. The town then lost its strategic importance, as the border moved further north and west.

Jajce passed with the rest of Bosnia and Herzegovina under the administration of Austria-Hungary in 1878. The Franciscan monastery of Saint Luke was completed in 1885.

Surroundings

The Walled city of Jajce is located at the confluence of the Pliva and Vrbas rivers. It was founded and started developing in the Middle Ages and acquired its final form during the Ottoman period. There are several churches and mosques built in different times during different rules, making Jajce a rather diverse town in this aspect. It is declared National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and, as the old Jajce city core, including the waterfall, and other individual sites outside the walled city perimeter, such as the Jajce Mithraeum, it is designated as The natural and architectural ensemble of Jajce and proposed as such for inscription into the UNESCO"s World Heritage Site list. The bid for inscription is currently placed on the UNESCO Tentative list.