Tower of Mendoza

Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain

The Tower of Mendoza is strategically located between the roads of Old Castile and the Ebro river. The Mendoza's entered to the service of the kingdom of Castile during the reign of Alfonso XI (1312-1350). Álava is one of the Basque territories incorporated into the Castilian monarchy with jurisdictions. Before the Mendoza's went to Castile, Álava was a battlefield, in which the lordly families resolved their fights over generations. In 1332, the Mendoza's had already battled several times with the Guevara. Once this castle entered into the service of the kings of Castilla, those contests were ended.

Iñigo Lopez de Mendoza built the Tower of Mendoza in the early 13th century. He participated in the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212 and for having contributed to the breaking of the siege of the chains that guarded the store of Almohade, Muhammad al-Nasir (Miramamolin) (1199-1213), added to his coat of arms a border with chains.

The Dukes of the Infantado maintained possession of the Tower of Mendoza until its 1856 sale to the Victorian Bruno Martinez of Aragon and Fernandez de Gamboa.

For 50 years, it was assigned to the Diputación Foral de Álava and hosted the Museum of Heraldry of Álava, with a collection of medieval shields and clothing and information on Alava's heraldry. In 2012 it was returned to its owners because it does not meet the accessibility requirements for a museum.


The tower stands out of the whole castle. The wall surrounds the building with four round towers in the corners. It has five floors: the ground floor and the first floor are made of wood and in the three remaining ones there are openings for defence. The top floor is finished with a cover or roof to avoid water entering the castle.

The castle now has a room where there are the shields of the most important families of Álava.



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Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Spain

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4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Antonio Heredia Valdeolivas (7 months ago)
Historical site of Álava, with a small museum where its functionality at the time is reported, visiting hours on the website.
Antonio HERRERA CASADO (8 months ago)
Very close to Vitoria, easy parking, everything very well maintained and preserved. The castle marks the birthplace of a powerful lineage of medieval and Renaissance Castile, the Mendoza. And the building houses the Museum of Basque Heraldry, truly spectacular.
Doña Crocreta (3 years ago)
Interesante la historia de la torre.
dani player (3 years ago)
Torre espectacular y muy bonita en un pueblo acogedor y tranquilo, recomendado para hacer una visitilla
Gem Blackburd (4 years ago)
Mendoza Tower is the typical example of fortified tower-house. Residence for more than a century of the Mendoza Family, one of the most distinguished families. Iñigo López de Mendoza ordered its construction in the early 13th century. The tower, with civil Gothic features and five floors, stands out from the architectural framework and a wall surrounds the compound with four cubes in its corners. Once the Mendozas left the tower, it operated as a prison. In 1963 was restored and got back its ancient magnificence and it held the Museum of Alava's Heraldry until 2007, when it was closed to the public as it did not fulfil the accessibility rules. Very well kept & pretty village, parking for motorhomes overnight at the back of the tower, quiet & flat with nice views. Services: Public toilet / Parking / Exhibition hall / Conference Hall / Shops
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