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:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.