The construction of the New Castle of Manzanares el Real, also known as Castle of los Mendoza, began in 1475 on a Romanesque-Mudéjar hermitage and today is one of the best preserved castles of the Community of Madrid. It was raised on the river Manzanares, as a residential palace of the House of Mendoza, in the vicinity of an ancient fortress that was abandoned once the new castle was built.
Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, Admiral of Castile, is credited with building the first fortress, now known as the Old Castle of Manzanares el Real, although it is likely that this building had an earlier origin. In the last third of the 15th century, the House of Mendoza decided to build a new castle-palace, larger and more luxurious, in accordance with the remarkable economic and political influence achieved by this family.
The role of the castle as a palatial residence lasted only a century. With the death in 1566 of Íñigo López de Mendoza y Pimentel, 4th Duke of the Infantado, the castle ceased to be inhabited, as economic problems and disputes arose between the heirs of the House of Mendoza.
The castle now houses a museum of Spanish castles and hosts a collection of tapestries. It was declared a Monumento Histórico-Artístico in 1931. It is owned by the Duchy of the Infantado, but its management is the responsibility of the Community of Madrid.
The castle, quadrangular, is constructed entirely of granite stone. It has four circular towers. Its vertices are decorated with balls in the Isabelline Gothic style. The main hexagonal tower is one of the highlights.
The building is topped by a terrace with machicolation and turrets. It includes a rectangular courtyard with porticos and two galleries supported by octagonal columns. The Gothic gallery on the first floor is considered the most beautiful in Spanish military architecture. On the southern chemin de ronde the gallery is flaming trace on parapets decorated with diamond shapes.
The whole castle is surrounded by a barbican, which includes loopholes and, carved in low relief, the cross of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a title held by Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza. Other defensive elements of the building includes its pockets.
The castle has six floors, plus a basement: ground floor, mezzanine first, main floor, mezzanine second, upper gallery and gallery of covers. The main gate is flanked by two towers with an arch between them.References:
Easter Aquhorthies stone circle, located near Inverurie, is one of the best-preserved examples of a recumbent stone circle, and one of the few that still have their full complement of stones. It consists of a ring of nine stones, eight of which are grey granite and one red jasper. Two more grey granite stones flank a recumbent of red granite flecked with crystals and lines of quartz. The circle is particularly notable for its builders' use of polychromy in the stones, with the reddish ones situated on the SSW side and the grey ones opposite.
The placename Aquhorthies derives from a Scottish Gaelic word meaning 'field of prayer', and may indicate a 'long continuity of sanctity' between the Stone or Bronze Age circle builders and their much later Gaelic successors millennia later. The circle's surroundings were landscaped in the late 19th century, and it sits within a small fenced and walled enclosure. A stone dyke, known as a roundel, was built around the circle some time between 1847 and 1866–7.