The castle of Montealegre, built in the 12th century, was mentioned for the first time in 1173, when Rodrígo Gutiérrez was appointed lord of Montealegre; together with the castles of Ampudia, Belmonte, Torremormojón, Medina de Rioseco, Mucientes and Trigueros, it formed the defence line of the southern border of the Kingdom of León. The castle was revamped in 1297 by Alfonso Tello Pérez de Meneses, appointed lord of Montealegre by King Alfonso VIII.
In the 13th century, the domain was transferred to the Order of Saint James, which granted a charter to the village in 1219. Further owners of Montealegre were the Albuquerque (14th century), who defended the castle against King of Castile Peter the Cruel in 1354, and the Manuel (15th-17th centuries). The Manuel family maintained in the town one of the most significant Jewish communities in the province. In 1626, Montealegre became a Marquisate, granted by King Philip IV to Martín de Rojas y Guzmán.
The present castle, with its austere and strong appearance, has a slightly trapezial groundplan, with four strong towers at its corners. Three of them are rectangular and the fourth is pentagonal and served as the keep. In the middle of its curtain walls it is fitted with slender circular towers. The height of its walls range from 18 to 24 meters with a thickness of 4 meters. With its functional and horizontal impression it represents an adoption of a Mediterranean-Arab castle, a style known in Europe from the 13th century.References:
Bamberg is located in Upper Franconia on the river Regnitz close to its confluence with the river Main. Its historic city center is a listed UNESCO world heritage site.
Bamberg is a good example of a central European town with a basically early medieval plan and many surviving ecclesiastical and secular buildings of the medieval period. When Henry II, Duke of Bavaria, became King of Germany in 1007 he made Bamberg the seat of a bishopric, intended to become a 'second Rome'. Of particular interest is the way in which the present town illustrates the link between agriculture (market gardens and vineyards) and the urban distribution centre.
From the 10th century onwards, Bamberg became an important link with the Slav peoples, especially those of Poland and Pomerania. During its period of greatest prosperity, from the 12th century onwards, the architecture of this town strongly influenced northern Germany and Hungary. In the late 18th century Bamberg was the centre of the Enlightenment in southern Germany, with eminent philosophers and writers such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and E.T.A. Hoffmann living there.
Bamberg extends over seven hills, each crowned by a beautiful church. This has led to Bamberg being called the 'Franconian Rome'.