The Royal Palace of Valladolid was the official residence of the Kings of Spain during the period in which the Royal Court had its seat in Valladolid between 1601 and 1606, and a temporary residence of the Spanish Monarchs from Charles I to Isabella II, as well as of Napoleon during the War of the Independence. Currently is the headquarters of the 4th General Sub-inspection of the Army.
Despite the fact that kings were present in Valladolid often, they lacked an official residence until the 17th century. When the Royal Court moved to the city, the palace of Francisco de Cobos fulfilled that function. Francisco de los Cobos was a Secretary of State under Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (King Charles I of Spain). Born in Úbeda, De the Cobos forged a spectacular political career. He married in 1522 with María de Mendoza, daughter of the Counts of Ribadavia, achieving thus the nobility rank that he lacked. De los Cobos built his palace nearby his in-laws (Palace of the Counts of Ribadavia) and next to St. Paul's Church, according to a 1524 project of royal architect Luis de Vega. The building was built around a magnificent, Renaissance-styled courtyard. Charles V later ordered its extension, resulting in a building of complicated compositions like several courtyards, chapel and state rooms.
Since the 19th century the takes in the General Captaincy of the 7th Military Region (currently the 4th General Sub-inspection) of the Army. At the beginning of the 20th century significant renovations are made, to arrive at the present with numerous structural changes to its original design.References:
Het Steen is a medieval fortress in the old city centre of Antwerp. Built after the Viking incursions in the early Middle Ages as the first stone fortress of Antwerp, Het Steen is Antwerp's oldest building and used to be its oldest urban centre.
Previously known as Antwerpen Burcht (fortress), Het Steen gained its current name in around 1520, after significant rebuilding under Charles V. The fortress made it possible to control the access to the Scheldt, the river on whose bank it stands. It was used as a prison between 1303 and 1827. The largest part of the fortress, including dozens of historic houses and the oldest church of the city, was demolished in the 19th century when the quays were straightened to stop the silting up of the Scheldt. The remaining building, heavily changed, contains a shipping museum, with some old canal barges displayed on the quay outside.
In 1890 Het Steen became the museum of archeology and in 1952 an annex was added to house the museum of Antwerp maritime history, which in 2011 moved to the nearby Museum Aan de Stroom. Here you’ll also find a war memorial to the Canadian soldiers in WWII.
There are some beautiful plaques on the back side of the Steen Castle at Antwerp. Canadian visitors will especially want to see the plaques thanking the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry for their part in the liberation of Antwerp, in 1944.
At the entrance to Het Steen is a bas-relief of Semini, above the archway, around 2nd century. Semini is the Scandinavian God of youth and fertility (with symbolic phallus). A historical plaque near Het Steen explains that women of the town appealed to Semini when they desired children; the god was reviled by later religious clergy. Inhabitants of Antwerp previously referred to themselves as 'children of Semini'.
At the entrance bridge to the castle is a statue of a giant and two humans. It depicts the giant Lange Wapper who used to terrorise the inhabitants of the city in medieval times.