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

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.