Medieval castles in Navarre

Royal Palace of Olite

The Palace of the Kings of Navarre of Olite was one of the seats of the Court of the Kingdom of Navarre, since the reign of Charles III 'the Noble' until its conquest by Castile (1512). The fortification is both castle and palace, although it was built more like a courtier building to fulfill a military function. On an ancient Roman fortification was built during the reign of Sancho VII of Navarre (13th century ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Olite, Spain

Zalatambor Castle

The first documents of Zalatambor Castle date back to 1024. This fort became known since the 13th century as the castle of Zalatambor, coinciding with the first fortifications made in the main rock. In addition to the successive extensions and reforms of Zalatambor, the defense of the city was reinforced with the construction of a new castle, Belmecher, in 1276, and a tower as a defensive watchtower that, following the m ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Estella, Spain

Xavier Castle

The Castle of Xavier (Castillo de Javier) is located on a hill in the town of Javier. Built in the 10th century, this castle was the birthplace and childhood home of Saint Francis Xavier, son of the Lords of Xavier, hence his surname. The town of Javier belonged to the Kingdom of Navarre which was always its own kingdom, never belonging to France. The castle consists of three buildings with different antiquity. The Tower ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Javier, Spain

Cerco de Artajona

The walls of Artajona is 11th century fortified walled complex. It originally had fourteen crenellated towers, of which nine remain. The complex has also fortified church of San Saturnino, which was part of the complex’s defense system together with robust walls, buttresses, the watchtower, the parapet walk and dungeon. The church was Gothic edifice from the 13th century.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Artajona, Spain

Marcilla Castle

The Castillo Palacio de Marcilla is a Gothic-style castle built in the 15th century by Mosén Pierres de Peralta. At first it had a defensive character but when the Marquisate of Falces was instituted it became the residential palace of the Marquises. The gateway to the castle, which houses the drawbridge under which the moat runs, is next to what is considered to be the Homage Tower, one of the four towers that make up t ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Marcilla, Spain

Tiebas Castle

Theobald I ordered the construction of the Tiebas castle around 1250 and since then it has suffered throughout history. It survived numerous attacks quite well until an attack by Castile in 1378 ended with it on fire. With it, burned a good part of the Navarre Archive, and this has deprived us of a lot of information about our history. Luckily, in 1512, it managed not be demolished under Cardinal Cisneros. Then it witne ...
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Tiebas, Spain

Cortes Castle

Cortes Castle originates from the Muslim reign, but first document dates from 1128 after the town was conquered by Christian army. The medieval building was restored as a residential palace in the mid-16th century and again in the 19th century.        
Founded: 12th century | Location: Cortes, Spain

San Esteban de Deyo Castle

San Esteban de Deyo, also called the Castillo de Monjardín, is a ruined castle on a hill overlooking Villamayor de Monjardín in Navarre. The castle lies at an elevation of 890 metres. The castle has a Roman foundation, but was repeatedly rebuilt over the centuries. It was one of the last fortresses of the Banu Qasi, the local Muslim dynasty, before it was taken by King Sancho I of Navarre in 914. According to ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Villamayor de Monjardín, Spain

Irulegui Castle

Irulegui castle is located on the Sierra de Aranguren in the municipality of Laquidáin. During the Iron Age it there was a castro de los Vascones. This pre-Roman fort was destroyed around 76 BC. as a consequence of the rebellion. Although there are legends that suggest the existence of the castle (or, at least, of a defensive structure in this place) during the Almanzor raids in the 11th century, the first reliable do ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Laquidáin, Spain

Garaño Castle

Garaño castle is one of the oldest in Navarre. It may be the Sajrat Qais, mentioned in the Arab chronicles in the 8th-10th centuries. Coins from the 11th century are found from the ruins. There were a small town, which disappeared in the 14th century. The castle was dismantled in 1512, today some ruins remain.
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Saldise, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kraków Cloth Hall

The Cloth Hall in Kraków dates to the Renaissance and is one of the city's most recognizable icons. It is the central feature of the main market square in the Kraków Old Town (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978).

The hall was once a major centre of international trade. Traveling merchants met there to discuss business and to barter. During its golden age in the 15th century, the hall was the source of a variety of exotic imports from the east – spices, silk, leather and wax – while Kraków itself exported textiles, lead, and salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

Kraków was Poland's capital city and was among the largest cities in Europe already from before the time of the Renaissance. However, its decline started with the move of the capital to Warsaw in the very end of the 16th century. The city's decline was hastened by wars and politics leading to the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century. By the time of the architectural restoration proposed for the cloth hall in 1870 under Austrian rule, much of the historic city center was decrepit. A change in political and economic fortunes for the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria ushered in a revival due to newly established Legislative Assembly or Sejm of the Land. The successful renovation of the Cloth Hall, based on design by Tomasz Pryliński and supervised by Mayor Mikołaj Zyblikiewicz, Sejm Marshal, was one of the most notable achievements of this period.

The hall has hosted many distinguished guests over the centuries and is still used to entertain monarchs and dignitaries, such as Charles, Prince of Wales and Emperor Akihito of Japan, who was welcomed here in 2002. In the past, balls were held here, most notably after Prince Józef Poniatowski had briefly liberated the city from the Austrians in 1809. Aside from its history and cultural value, the hall still is still used as a center of commerce.

On the upper floor of the hall is the Sukiennice Museum division of the National Museum, Kraków. It holds the largest permanent exhibit of the 19th-century Polish painting and sculpture, in four grand exhibition halls arranged by historical period and the theme extending into an entire artistic epoch. The museum was upgraded in 2010 with new technical equipment, storerooms, service spaces as well as improved thematic layout for the display.

The Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art was a major cultural venue from the moment it opened on October 7, 1879. It features late Baroque, Rococo, and Classicist 18th-century portraits and battle scenes by Polish and foreign pre-Romantics.