Real Fuerte de la Concepción

Aldea del Obispo, Spain

The fortress of Real Fuerte de la Concepción (Royal Fortress of the Conception) is a star fortress built in the Vaubanesque style. In 1640, following the death of Philip II, the conflict known as the Portuguese Restoration War began. The Spanish King began to make plans to recover the throne of Portugal and part of these plans was the strengthening of fortifications along the border along with the construction of new fortress along the border of the two countries. The Fortress of the Concepcion was one of the new fortresses constructed by order of the Duke of Osuna, commander of the Spanish Army and was located in this area to serve as a military station for the Spanish army to recover Portugal.

The construction of the fortress began in 1663. The first phase of construction was completed in 1664 taking just 40 days. This first phase sore the construction built around a large central courtyard with Pentagon bastions built in each corner with reinforced earthworks around the perimeter with addition of bundle of brushwood fascine’s and filled Baskets of woven wicker timbers woven around steaks in circles to form Redoubts. The fort was garrisoned by 1500 infantrymen and 200 cavalrymen.

Spanish troops were defeated by the Portuguese in the Battle of Castelo Rodrigo. The King of Spain took control from Osuna and ordered the demolition of the first Fort Concepción under a year after the start of the building. It was not a total demolition, as it was still sporadically used as base for the troops. 

In 1735, the military engineer Pedro Moreau took on the construction of a new fort of the Concepción. The fort was completed in 1758.

However, in the War of Independence, the fort was to play a prominent role. Napoleon's decision to take control of Portugal and put his brother José on the Spanish throne would transform the fort into a major stage. The British landed in Portugal. At its command was Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington. The enormous territory surrounding Fort Concepción was to become a battlefield throughout the Spanish War of Independence. In the summer of 1810, the French besieged Ciudad Rodrigo and the brigadier Herrasti surrendered the square to the French Marshall Rey. On 21 July 1810, the British blew up Fort Concepción during their withdrawal. The four revellines which protected its walls were destroyed, as were two of its strongholds. A large part of its walls crumbled. The small fort of San José and the circular barracks of Caballerizas were also blown up by British gunners. The ravages of gunpowder can still be observed 200 years later.

After the war, the fort fell by the wayside. With its walls half in ruins, locals used the building as a quarry until the middle of the 20th century: many residents of the area went there to find stones to build their houses. The naves of the fort were also used by nearby shepherds and cattle farmers to house cattle and also for growing mushrooms.

In 2006, the current owners bought the ruins of Fort Concepción. They immediately began to began to rehabilitate the site, enhance its value and transform it into a hotel. This great transformation came to fruition in 2012 when the Real Fuerte de la Concepción reopened, this time as a luxury hotel: the only military Vaubam-style fortress in Europe to be renovated into a luxury hotel. And once and for all, it welcomes everyone – whether Spanish, Portuguese, French or English – with open arms to enjoy an environment of total peace. 

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Details

Founded: 1663
Category: Castles and fortifications in Spain

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jose A Glez (17 months ago)
Impresionante. Trato genial. Habitación excelente. Restaurante excelente.
Jenny Noble (18 months ago)
Great place to stay if you like peace and quiet. Rooms quute quirky and unusual. The service was very good and our room was changed immediately when we realised we had no hot water. We were a little disappointed at breakfast on our second night because there was no buffet since we were the only guests but the waitress was excellent and brought us whatever we wanted. Overall we had a lovely stay and would definitely recommend this hotel.
Francisco Garcia (18 months ago)
Una magnífica experiencia, dormir entre los muros de una maravillosa fortaleza en una habitación magnífica. Como amante de la Historia es una experiencia irrepetible
Alejandro Gonzalez (19 months ago)
Excitante, la combinación de antiguo y nuevo. Historia viva. Desayuno variado y habitación muy cómoda y bonita
Rita Baker (2 years ago)
Wow what a place.
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