Medieval castles in Madrid

New Castle of Manzanares el Real

The construction of the New Castle of Manzanares el Real, also known as Castle of los Mendoza, began in 1475 on a Romanesque-Mudéjar hermitage and today is one of the best preserved castles of the Community of Madrid. It was raised on the river Manzanares, as a residential palace of the House of Mendoza, in the vicinity of an ancient fortress that was abandoned once the new castle was built. Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, ...
Founded: 1475 | Location: Manzanares el Real, Spain

Buitrago del Lozoya Castle

The town of Buitrago del Lozoya is completely surrounded by an ancient wall originally built by the Moorish people. Within these walls lies the ruins of the Buitrago de Lozoya castle. The style of the castle is a unique mix of Mudéjar (moorish) and Gothic designs – tall, solid square towers combined with the typical pentagonal shaped often used by the ancient Arabs. It was built in the 15th century. It has a rectan ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Buitrago del Lozoya, Spain

Chinchón Castle

Chinchón Castle was preceded by an earlier castle built at the end of the 15th century which was destroyed by commoners in 1521 after a long siege. Chinchón Castle was built on the ruins of this earlier castle in the late 16th century by the third Earl of Chinchón, Don Diego Fernandez de Cabrera. Chinchón Castle was built as a Renaissance castle with broad rectangular windows as aspects of a palatial building. Its th ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Chinchón, Spain

Alameda Castle

Alameda Castle is one of the scarce remains of military architecture from 15th century and one of few castles that have survived over the time and now arises once more after a restoration process and being converted into a museum. The origin of the castle dates back to the late fourteenth century or the beginnings of the fifteenth century, and is linked to the Zapata family, who were holders of the seigniory which includ ...
Founded: 1431 | Location: Madrid, Spain

Coracera Castle

Coracera castle was built by Álvaro de Luna in the 15th century, as a residence and hunting lodge. However, there are references to a previous construction, dating from the time of Alfonso VIII of Castile in the 12th and 13th centuries. The castle is in a good state, as a result of several restoration works.
Founded: 15th century | Location: San Martín de Valdeiglesias, Spain

Fuentidueña de Tajo Castle

Fuentidueña  de Tajo Castle is a large, irregular building standing on a hill which dominates the Town and the Tagus River. It is believed to have been built during the 12th century and has been extended and rebuilt later on in the 14th century. It is related to the Kings, Alfonso VI and Alfonso VIII. It still has a wall and part of the cylindrical towers on the sides. The two sections composing it are separated by an ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Fuentidueña de Tajo, Spain

Aulencia Castle

Aulencia Castle is located at the top of a little hill where the Aulencia river joins the Guadarrama river. From there, one can see a beautiful landscape, composed of the Aulencia river brook’s vegetation on one side, and the European Space Astronomy Centre on the other. As it is for the history of this beautiful and original example of a Spanish noble mudejar castle, it is said that the Arabian feudal king who ruled t ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain

Batres Castle

Batres Castle is the main attraction of town. It has a square floor plan and was built in the 15th century, with fired clay on flint foundations. It is peculiar because of the diamond shapes on the corners of the towers, which end in circular terraces at the top. The highest one, the keep, is 25 metres high. In the fortress there is a beautiful iron balcony, as well as an interior Renaissance courtyard with Plateresque ga ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Batres, Spain

Casasola Castle

Casasola Castle dates from the 15th century. The plan is approximately triangular, with two circular towers.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Chinchón, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Trinity Sergius Lavra

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.

Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.

In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.

The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.

In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by  Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.

After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.

In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.

Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.

In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.

In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.