Medieval castles in Murcia

La Concepción Castle

The castle of La Concepción or Asdrúbal from the 13th or 14th century rises over Cartagena and its port. The nature of the first buildings on the hill are somewhat uncertain. According to the Greek historian Polybius, a temple dedicated to the god Aesculapius stood on the hill in Roman times. In the recent restoration carried out in the castle, it was discovered that the first floor of it had been built reusing Roman-m ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Cartagena, Spain

Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista. Archaeological excava ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Lorca, Spain

Monteagudo Castle

Monteagudo Castle sits on top of a hill and is in excellent condition. The archaeological remains that have been found date from the Moorish period. After the city of Murcia was founded in 825, the castle was used as a fortification and probably also a prison. Farmers stored grain there and it had large wells for the garrison. The walls are made of solid rammed earth and mortar, and the floor adapts to the terrain and is ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Murcia, Spain

Luz Castle

At an elevation of 438 meters on the Cresta del Gallo Sierra, Castillo de La Luz is an 9th century construction built by the Moors. The castle was part of Murcia"s defense buildings and a check point between the coast and the city. A tank, and parts of a wall and a tower, still stand. It was abandoned in the 13th century after Murcia was merged to the kingdom of Castilia.
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Murcia, Spain

Jumilla Castle

The hill where the Jumilla castle is built was inhabited by people from the Bronze Age. In a later era, this was occupied by people when Iberian civilizations were present in large part of Iberian Peninsula, and specifically in the current municipality. In Roman Iberian Peninsula period, people also leveraged this hill. The last era in regards to this hill before the construction of the current castle is the one when larg ...
Founded: 1461 | Location: Jumilla, Spain

Xiquena Castle

The ruined castle of Xiquena is located in Fontanares, hamlet of the town of Lorca. Many authors argue that the name Xiquena comes from the Arabic Gikena or Gehenna and that it means 'hell'. On the other hand, others attribute a Roman origin to it due to a nearby farm. Xiquena Castle was founded during Muslim rule over the area, certainly before the 13th century, but maybe even as early as the 10th century. ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Lorca, Spain

Asomada Castle

The castle of La Asomada is an old fortification that is located in a strategic place near the district of El Palmar. The slopes of the mountain where the Arab fortress is located are covered by a green blanket of Aleppo pine, the product of a repopulation carried out in the 1960s. Several trails mark the forest up to its top, being frequented by hikers who take advantage of the panoramic view over the Segura valley that ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Murcia, Spain

Nogalte Castle

Nogalte Castle in Puerto Lumbreras is a medieval Islamic fortress. Although the lack of documentary sources prevents specifying the exact date of its foundation, the constructive characteristics of the fortress as well as the materials recovered in the excavations could place it in the first half of the 13th century, in a period in which in the old Muslim kingdom In Murcia, the rural castles that protected the numerous ag ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Puerto Lumbreras, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.