Gérgal Castle was built somewhere during the Late Middle Ages during Muslim rule. By 1492 it had fallen into the hands of the Catholic Monarchs; Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. They donated the castle to Alonso de Cárdenas, Grand Master of the Order of Santiago, for outstanding services during the Granada War.
During the 16th century it played an important defensive role against the inland raids of Barbary pirates, who were supported by the remaining Moorish population. In 1568 the Moors rebelled and the Christians in Gérgal were massacred and the Moors held the castle. They were driven out some time later and the castle was destroyed by Christian forces to avoid a repeated use by the Moors. Between 1571 and 1620 all the Moors were expelled from the Iberian mainland. This left the area around Gérgal Castle depopulated and open to banditry.
During the first half of the 17th century Gérgal Castle was rebuilt on the site of the old Muslim fortification to restore order and favor repopulation in the area. In the middle of the 18th century it belonged to Isabel Pacheco Portocarrero, Countesss of Puebla del Maestre and Marchioness of Torre de las Sirgadas. She used it for storing storing grains.
The castle we see today dates back to the rebuilding in the 17th century. Its core is a square crenellated tower with lower round towers at its corners. At its north western facade and attached to one of the corner towers is a semicircular bastion. It is build up out of horizontally laid slabs of slate. The castle is now also equipped with a crenellated outer wall, but this was built by the present owner.References:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.