The castle-palace of Belalcázar is one of the most representative of the 15th century, when the nobility attempted to demonstrate its social and economic status.
Built entirely of stone blocks, Belalcazar preserves two enclosures: an outer barrier adapted to the irregularities of the land and reinforced with rectangular towers, and the inner rectangular castle-palace with eight towers, one at each corner and another in the center of each side. All eight towers are of average height except for the eastern and principal tower, which rises noticeably above the rest.
In the 15th century, some Renaissance construction was added to improve the accommodations of the palace, which were insufficient in the old principal tower.The castle was built by the magnate Gutierre de Sotomayor, grand master of Alcantara, with the benefices he earned from his various possessions. The castle later passed on to the houses of Benavente and Osuna. In 1811, during the War of Independence, French troops defended the castle against a siege by the duke of Wellington's British troops.The exterior of the fortress is almost entirely intact, but nothing remains of the interior structure.References:
Hluboká Castle (Schloss Frauenberg) is considered one of the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic. In the second half of the 13th century, a Gothic castle was built at the site. During its history, the castle was rebuilt several times. It was first expanded during the Renaissance period, then rebuilt into a Baroque castle at the order of Adam Franz von Schwarzenberg in the beginning of the 18th century. It reached its current appearance during the 19th century, when Johann Adolf II von Schwarzenberg ordered the reconstruction of the castle in the romantic style of England's Windsor Castle.
The Schwarzenbergs lived in Hluboká until the end of 1939, when the last owner (Adolph Schwarzenberg) emigrated overseas to escape from the Nazis. The Schwarzenbergs lost all of their Czech property through a special legislative Act, the Lex Schwarzenberg, in 1947.
The original royal castle of Přemysl Otakar II from the second half of the 13th century was rebuilt at the end of the 16th century by the Lords of Hradec. It received its present appearance under Count Jan Adam of Schwarzenberg. According to the English Windsor example, architects Franz Beer and F. Deworetzky built a Romantic Neo-Gothic chateau, surrounded by a 1.9 square kilometres English park here in the years 1841 to 1871. In 1940, the castle was seized from the last owner, Adolph Schwarzenberg by the Gestapo and confiscated by the government of Czechoslovakia after the end of World War II. The castle is open to public. There is a winter garden and riding-hall where the Southern Bohemian gallery exhibitions have been housed since 1956.