Medieval castles in Madrid

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

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

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

Casasola Castle

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

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

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

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

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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone faces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.

The fortress, which for centuries was used as a state prison, is still intact and is now one of Saxony's foremost tourist attractions, with 700,000 visitors per year.

By far the oldest written record of a castle on the Königstein is found in a deed by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia dating to the year 1233. It is probable that there had been a stone castle on the Königstein as early as the 12th century. The oldest surviving structure today is the castle chapel built at the turn of the 13th century. In the years 1563 to 1569 the 152.5 metre deep well was bored into the rock within the castle - until that point the garrison of the Königstein had to obtain water from cisterns and by collecting rainwater.

Between 1589 and 1591/97 Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the castle developed into the strongest fortification in Saxony. The hill was now surrounded with high walls. Buildings were erected, including the Gatehouse (Torhaus), the Streichwehr, the Old Barracks (Alte Kaserne), the Christiansburg (Friedrichsburg) and the Old Armoury (Altes Zeughaus). The second construction period followed from 1619 to 1681, during which the John George Bastion was built. The third construction period is seen as the time from 1694 to 1756, which included the expansion of the Old Barracks. From 1722 to 1725, at the behest of August the Strong, coopers under Böttger built the enormous Königstein Wine Barrel, the greatest wine barrel in the world, in the cellar of the Magdalenenburg which had a capacity of 249,838 litres. It cost 8,230 thalers, 18 groschen and 9 pfennigs. The butt, which was once completely filled with country wine from the Meißen vineyards, had to be removed again in 1818 due to its poor condition. Because of Böttger, Königstein Fortress is also the site where European porcelain started.

Even after the expansion during those periods of time there continued to be modifications and additions on the extensive plateau. The Treasury (Schatzhaus) was built from 1854 to 1855. After the fortress had been incorporated in 1871 into the fortification system of the new German Empire, battery ramparts were constructed from 1870 to 1895 with eight firing points, that were to have provided all-round defence for the fortress in case of an attack that, in the event, never came. This was at this time that the last major building work was done on the fortress.

Because Königstein Fortress was regarded as unconquerable, the Saxon monarchs retreated to it from Wittenberg and later Dresden during times of crisis and also deposited the state treasure and many works of art from the famous Zwinger here; it was also used as a country retreat due to its lovely surroundings.

The fortress played an important role in the History of Saxony, albeit less as a result of military action. The Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the fortress primarily as a secure refuge during times of war, as a hunting lodge and maison de plaisance, but also as a dreaded state prison. Its actual military significance was rather marginal.

Since 1955 the fortress has been an open-air, military history museum of high touristic value.