The village of El Barco de Avila is situated in the foothills of the Sierra de Gredos mountain range. After the conquest of Toledo and the retreat of the Muslim lines to the south bank of the river Tajo, King Alfonso VI donated this valley to his daughter and ordered his son-in-law Ramon de Borgoña to erect a fortification and to repopulate the surrounding area.
There is few documented data of the construction of the present castle but due to its architectural design it is dated to the end of the 15th century. The castle, built of granite rubblework, is situated on a small hill on the east bank of the Tormes river. Its groundplan, similar to that of other castles on the Castilian plateau, is a square with circular towers on the corners and sentry boxes in three of its curtain walls. The fourth curtain wall contains the rectangular keep.
The entrance to the keep is on a higher floor level, facing the courtyard. Although totally dismantled you can see traces of two floor levels and columns around a central patio in the walls and floor of the courtyard. Also underground rooms and rain tanks exist beneath the courtyard.
The territory of Valdecorneja is linked to the Alba family since the 14th century when King Enrique II de Trastámara donated it to Don Garci Alvarez de Toledo. It is probably one of the descendants of this first Lord of Valdecorneja who built the present castle.References:
The city walls of Avila were built in the 11th century to protect the citizens from the Moors. They have been well maintained throughout the centuries and are now a major tourist attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk around about half of the length of the walls.
The layout of the city is an even quadrilateral with a perimeter of 2,516 m. Its walls, which consist in part of stones already used in earlier constructions, have an average thickness of 3 m. Access to the city is afforded by nine gates of different periods; twin 20 m high towers, linked by a semi-circular arch, flank the oldest ones, Puerta de San Vicente and Puerta del Alcázar.