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

Doña Crocreta (6 months ago)
Interesante la historia de la torre.
dani player (6 months ago)
Torre espectacular y muy bonita en un pueblo acogedor y tranquilo, recomendado para hacer una visitilla
Gem Blackburd (13 months 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
Sebastian Gomez (2 years ago)
We love Mendoza, but what we really love is the people living there.
alexander dembouski (2 years ago)
Guiet village
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Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.


The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.