Archive for April 5th, 2018

When thinking about the Iberian Peninsula beaches, tapas and flamenco immediately come to mind however barely anyone associates Spain with castles, palaces and fortresses, although there are over 6000 of them spread across the country. Most people know the famous Alhambra fortress but there are so many more ancient castles that tell stories, give a historical overview and offer entertainment for everyone.

Whether it is a medieval castle that was built during the times of Christian Reconquest designed to give refuge to the town’s people, a Renaissance or Baroque construction or a fortified tower by the sea preventing attacks of pirates or the Berbers. It all can be found in Spain. To give you an overview, the following paragraphs will include some of the most important castles.

Fortress of Toledo

The construction of this Renaissance castle dates back to Roman times when Alfonso VI was ruler of the kingdom. With the Emperor Carlos V the building was reconstructed again, this time, by the architect Alonso de Covarrubias. The facades are Renaissance, with towers and crenellated defense, built according to Alonso de Covarrubias and later Juan de Herrera. After the last reconstruction, it has been housing offices of the Army as well as the Army Museum.


Toledo, the city of three cultures

Castle of Loarre

An important medieval castle is the Castle of Loarre, located in Huesca, in the north-east of the Peninsula.  Built on the order of Sancho Ramírez I of Aragon upon the remains of a Roman building, this castle served as a royal palace until the 12th century, when it was converted into the convent of the Order of St. Augustine.


built in the 11th century, this is one of the oldest castles in Spain

Fortress of Segovia

Located at the confluence of two rivers, the castle was built on a rock, which indicates its original military use. It served as a residence for Alfonso VIII.
In the 13th century the building acquired a Gothic aspect with the intervention of the architects Juan II and Enrique IV. The last architectural phase was in the year 1587, by the hand of architect Francisco de Mora, possibly in collaboration with Juan de Herrera, who designed the Main Court and the School of Honor. The building has numerous secret passages that go down to the river and communicate with some places in town.


the Alcázar of Segovia was used as setting for several tv series and movies

Royal Palace of La Almudaina

La Almudaina was the seat of the independent kingdom of Mallorca during the reigns of Jaime II, Sancho I and Jaime III. The gothic castle is the result of the modification of the Muslim fortress in 1281. Inside the building, there are various tapestries and furniture of different historical monuments. As for now, it is used by the King of Spain as a residence for official ceremonies during the summer.


Furthermore, watchtowers can be found all along the coast of Spain. The tower in A Coruña helped defending the land from English pirates while the castle of Santa Barbara in Alicante repelled French, English and Arab enemies.
The Torre del Oro in Sevilla is probably the most famous tower in Spain. Formerly covered with golden tiles and located on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, it was built in 1220 and forms part of the wall of the city.


the Torre del Oro on the left, above the Hercules tower of A Coruña and in the right corner the castle and tower of Santa Barbara in Alicante

Castle of San Fernando

Located on the Costa Brava, close to Girona, Catalonia, this castle is considered the largest bastion fortress in Europe. It was built with the intention to reinforce the frontier to protect Spanish territory from foreign troops. One of the castle’s highlights is its courtyard, with a total area of 12,000 squaremetres. The inner enclosure is formed by five bastions of different sizes and it includes a stable with space for 450 horses.


the crown shapped complex is the biggest fortress of the 18th century in Europe

Castle of Ponferrada

What makes this medieval fortress in Castilla y Leon in the north of Spain so special are the tunnels that let the castle of Ponferrada communicate with the castles of Cornatel, the monastery of Carracedo and the castle of Monforte de Lemos. These are the places where the Templars that lived in Ponferrade fled when they were defeated.


If these breath-taking pictures have caught your attention don’t miss our next post with more picturesque places to discover in Spain!


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