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

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

peter horstmann (2 years ago)
Very special and very remote. Good comfort but not my favorite way for a stay
Nikki Parker (3 years ago)
Loved it!! Despite having seen photos and videos of my brother's visits to Eurostars Fuerte 'The Fort', we were blown away by the reality. After a warm welcome from lovely Vanesa on front desk we were taken by her to suite 1. Ignoring the smell and humidity, which was understandable given where we were, the room was perfect. It was spacious and had everything you'd need. We enjoyed dinner in the restaurant and met our waiter, Gabriel - he's another lovely member of staff who is a credit to the hotel. The next morning we were pleasantly surprised at the vast selection of breakfast options on offer. And once again, in a beautiful setting and with perfect service by Gabriel. A slight negative for us was that there was an electrical buzzing in our room all night. However, we are extremely light sleepers so accepted that this might not be an issue for everyone. Also, as others have mentioned, the WiFi is extremely intermittent. It is quite a challenge for both the hotel and mobile networks whereby being so close to the Portuguese border, there is often confusion as to whether you're in Spain or Portugal. Upon departure we met Adriena(?) who, like her colleagues, was friendly and helpful. All in all, for the price and the experience, you can't fault this unique hotel. Highly recommended for everyone. As an aside, Vanesa recommended visiting Almeida. This was well worth doing. We loved it!!
Jakob Wankel (3 years ago)
Very nice hotel situated in a fortress. The hotel is in sight of the border to Portugal (just a few meters away). The rooms are quite big and state of the art. We had breakfast here (what is recommended because the next bar to have breakfast is not very close) which was very good. There is also a terrace with a nice view over the garden of the fortress, where you can have a snack or dinner. If you are in the area, it is totally worth to stay a day or two.
Ricardo Rocha (3 years ago)
Unique stay in a cosy exquisite hotel build within an historical fortress, located in the natural landscape of Spain's Castilla y León región with a view to Portugal's Beira Interior. Extremely caring service in a unique, comfortable, design hotel planted in the natural landscape of border Portugal-Spain.
cristobal cardona (5 years ago)
Classical medieval fortress with all amenities of a modern Hotel. Great breakfast, you cannot control heater or cold/A/C.
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