Castles in Spain

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The first fortification on the hill was constructed by the Phoenicians. Later the Romans reconstructed the fort but the Vandals destroyed the fort in the 5th century. It was the Moors who rebuilt the castle and used it as a residence. The troops under the Catholic Kings finally conquered it on June 10, , after nine days of combat. This church has three naves with large Tuscan columns. One of the towers of the church shows the effects of bullets that the French forces fired in The bullets destroyed a plaque commemorating the Cadiz Constitution.

The castle was severely damaged during the earthquake of What remains are two towers and a large horseshoe arch in the walls, the only one in the West.

Some of its towers and walls have been reconstructed. This was declared a National Historic Monument in The castle includes a cemetery today that was built in the 19th century. The Moorish Castle was built in the 13th century by the Moors to defend themselves from the Christians.

It has recently been restored. It is on the hill that overlooks the city. This castle is also called the Alcazaba.

15 of the most beautiful castles in Spain

Nearby is the Arch of the Giants, that was built in and leads to the castle. The architect for this arch was Francisco de Azurriola. Between and people worked on the walls and nine years later the walls were finished. The purpose of the walls was to build a fort that would be able to control the lands that were south of the Duero River. The walls are the best preserved walls in Spain. The walls extend for 2. There are 88 semi-circular turrets and 9 gates. There are places where there are steps leading to the top of the walls.

Baiona is a very pretty small tourist town with a population of 11,, in the province of Pontevedra. When Columbus returned from his first voyage to America, he commanded one ship and the other ship, the Pinta, was commanded by Martin Alonso Pinzon.

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The town has a large port and a reproduction of the Pinta. On top of a hill is the imposing Monterreal fortress. It has three kilometers of defensive walls and has the Parador Conde de Gondomar. The walls were constructed between the 11th and the 17th centuries. In the inhabitants of Baiona repelled an attempt to take the town by the privateer Francis Drake.

Five years later Felipe II defeated the pirates that were laying the Galician coast to waste with a fleet of 98 vessels and 17, soldiers. The Monterreal Fort was constructed in by King Alfonso XI, although there is proof that the fort already existed in the 10th century. In the Catholic Kings ordered the population of Baiona to live within the fort, but the people refused to do this. Later the fort became the residence of the different military governors of the fort, including the Count of Gondomar.

The fortress has three towers. The Torre del Reloj is located at the entrance and it had a bell that was rung in case of enemy attack. On the eastern side there is the Torre de la Tenaza, which was used to defend the port. The oldest tower is the Torre del Principe, which was used as a lighthouse for ships. This tower has the coat of arms of the Austrias, Sotomaior, and the city.

This last tower has the name of the prince because it was used to jail the Portugese Alfonso Enriques in The fortress is open to the public every day of the year and is famous for viewing the sunset over the river and the Cies Islands. The location of the town in Jaen is at the entrance to the Guadalquivir Valley, of strategic importance.

During the Middle Ages it was ruled by the Moors and later by the Christians. This is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Europe.

The castle is the second oldest castle in Europe and it was declared a National Monument in The lookout points from the castle are terrific because the castle is built on the highest point of the hill. The castle has an oval shape and has fourteen towers that are of the same height and are square in form.


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There is also a Tower of Homage, built by the Christians in the 14th and 15th centuries and this is much bigger than the other towers and its style is Gothic. There are two doors to the castle. The walls surround the patio of arms, which has a covered reservoir of water. The castle occupies a space of square meters. It is a perfect example of a Moorish fortress from the 10th century and the best conserved Moorish castle in Spain.

In the 11th century, the Caliphate of Cordoba broke up into many Taifa Kingdoms and the castle became the object of contention between the Moors and the Christians, who fought for the entrance to Andalusia. The king gave the castle to the Archbishop of Toledo, Rodrigo Jimenez, to defend the castle with the help of the Order of Santiago.

When the French invaded Spain during the time of Napoleon, the castle was occupied by French troops and suffered some damage and the patio of the castle was used as a cemetery. Recently the castle has been restored by the government. The castle is also called the castle of the seven kings, because seven Christian kings lived in it.

Since this castle was allowed to fly the flag of the European Community, and the only other castle that has this privilege is the Castle of Florence. The Badajoz Alcazaba is a fortress that was constructed by the Moors in the 9th century. There are several gates and defensive towers that have been saved from the past.

There is the Puerta del Capitel and the Tower of Espanterros. Inside the perimeter of the Alcazaba is the reconstructed Palace of the Duques de Feria, which now hold the Provincial Archaeological Museum. This museum has displays of pieces that have been found all over the province and date from the Palaeolithic to the Middle Ages. Caravaca de la Cruz is a beautiful town in the northwest of Murcia, in the mountains, and it has about 25, inhabitants. Towering above the town is the medieval Castle of Santa Cruz, that contains the miraculous True Cross, which is supposed to have a healing power, and in whose honor there is a yearly festival on May 3.

The legend of the Caravaca Cross is one of the most interesting stories. The cross is about a foot long and was used in the past to appear on the chests of ecclesiastical patriarchs. There are two horizontal bars on the cross. In a miracle occurred in the town. He was interviewing one of his Christian prisoners, a priest called Gines Perez Chirinos, who was from Cuenca. The king asked him about his profession and the priest told him that he said Mass.

The king was curious and told him he wanted to see the priest say Mass at the main chamber of the fort, in front of the court. He arranged that the priest have an altar draped with a cloth, bread and wine, and some candles. However the priest said he could not proceed because he did not have a cross. Suddenly though the window of the chamber, two angels appeared with the True Cross, which they placed on the altar.

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The king and his whole court were so amazed by the miracle that they all asked to be baptized. The Caravaca Cross is called a lignum crucis, because it contains a fragment of the True Cross on which Christ was crucified. Saint Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, was supposed to have found the true cross in Jerusalem in the 4th century.

In this cross was owned by the patriarch Robert of Jerusalem. During the 6th Crusade, in when Jerusalem fell back into the hands of the Emperor Frederick II, the relic was in the possession of the bishop in that city. It then disappeared and suddenly appeared in Caravaca two years later.

Today the town of Caravaca is the 3rd largest pilgrimage center in Spain because of the True Cross. When the Spanish landed in the Americas, the Franciscan missionaries brought copies of the Caravaca Cross to all parts of the New World, where it gained fame and devotion. It has become an amulet, to protect the wearer against all evil.

Today it is the custom in Spain and other countries to give a small Caravaca Cross to friends as a symbol of affection, peace and love. There is another legend about Caravaca. In the 15th century, the town passed to the Knights Templar, who built the castle that still stands over the town. At one time the Knights Templar and the people in the town took refuge in the castle when the Moors put it under siege. The water in the castle became unusable and many people fell sick. Some knights crept out of the castle at night to find water, but many of the neighboring wells had been poisoned by the Moors.

The knights only found wine, which they put in wineskins and raced back to the castle on their horses. The Moors spotted them and raced after them, but the knights made it to the castle in time to save themselves. The wine was blessed in the presence of the Caravaca Cross and served to the people who were sick.

10 Most Beautiful Castles in Spain (with Photos & Map) - Touropia

These people recovered immediately, so the wine was mixed with the undrinkable water in the storage tanks. The water became fresh and the Christians were able to resist the enemy. This castle is on the highest point of the bluff and it has thick castle walls that enclose the palace and a large parking lot. The castle was built in the 14th century by the Moors. The Parador is one of the most impressive paradors in Spain, with a very big and beautiful patio with a fountain. Outside the bar is a balcony where one can see the plains below.

Below the balcony is also a swimming pool set amid gardens. The Casares Castle is located at Calle Villa, on the highest part of the town. It has visual sights with Jimena, Castellar and Gibraltar, so it was used for communicating with the towers in Manilva, Estepona, and Ronda in the past. The first documentation found about this castle is that it was an Arab fortress in the 13th century and was important among the fortresses from Gibraltar to Ronda. The fortress has the form of an irregular polygon with several entrances.

The perimeter of the fortress is meters and the surface area is 23, square meters. At the highest part of the fortress, there are remains of the walls. The main gate is called the Arco de la Villa and is situated in a square tower. The other entrance is located in the northern part of the wall and is called the Arco del Arrabal. It was built in the gardens of the Arab fortress. There are four towers in the castle, which are connected with sentry paths. The towers are the Torre del Rio cylindrical in shape and having three floors , the Torre del Homenaje octagonal in shape and of Gothic design, and which had living quarters , the Torre de Los Leones Mudejar , and the Torre de La Vela rebuilt in The building of the castle contains magnificent Roman sarcophagi that date from the 1st and 2nd centuries.

There is also the Mosaic Room, a meeting room which has elaborate Roman mosaics on the walls. There are Arab baths and a Patio Morisco. The Alcazar was where Queen Isabela and King Ferdinand stayed between and while they were finishing the siege of Granada. Columbus would visit the monarchs and try to convince them to fund his expedition to the Indies. After Granada surrendered, the Catholic Kings gave the building to the Courts of the Holy Office, which stayed in the building until the Inquisition was abolished in After that the building was used as a military and civil prison.

In the City of Cordoba took it over and restored the palace. The gardens of the Alcazar are some of the most beautiful gardens in Spain. It has several pools and fountains. The Paseo de los Reyes is a walkway in the garden that has statues of the kings who lived in the Alcazar. The end of the walkway has the statues of the Catholic Kings and Columbus, because it was here that Columbus talked with Queen Isabela several times.

The gardens are watered by flooding, which come from the times of the Moors. There are beautiful shrubs and flowers in the gardens and the gardens are constantly manicured by professional gardeners.

Cullera is a seaside town near Valencia. Cullera Castle is located on Cullera Mountain, which has a height of meters and dominates the city. It was constructed before the 10th century by the Moors, specifically the State of Cordoba during the Caliphate period. It was meant to control the coastline and the estuary of the Jucar River. In the 13th century, King Jaime I ordered a new castle built over the ruins of the Moorish castle.

It was given to the Order of the Knights Hospitallers. During the Spanish War of Independence against the French forces of Napoleon, the castle was hit by artillery. The castle was again used during the Carlist Wars. The castle has five towers and two fortified areas. The castle has been named as a Heritage of Cultural Interest. Beside the castle is the Mirador del Castillo, which has wonderful views of the coastline and the estuary of the Jucar River. The Castle of Sohail is at the mouth of the Fuengirola River and on top of a hill that is 38 meters above sea level.

It commands a very good view of the sea and the surrounding countryside. It is also by the Autovia de la Costa del Sol.


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The early Punic settlers had some sort of construction first, followed by the Romans. The Christians conquered the castle in when they started attacking the Nazari Kingdom of Granada. The Christians started remodeling the fortress as time went on. During the War of Independence, in , the castle was occupied by the French army but was abandoned two years later in the retreat. When the castle lost its military function, it was sold to civilians and started a period of decline. It was only in the when the castle was renovated for cultural use. The interior of the castle was completely renovated in and landscaping was completed in The Festival of Fuengirola is now celebrated at the castle during summer.

The castle is now the symbol of the city. The Alhambra is one of the most enchanting, fascinating and beautiful places to visit. One can go many times and be completely entertained and enthralled each time. One tip to enhance enjoyment is to hire a guide, audio or otherwise, which give excellent additional information. On the way to the Nasrid Palace, one has to pass under the very impressive wine gate, a very large structure with Moorish architecture.

The main gate before used to be the Arms Tower and Gate. It had a portcullis that was controlled from the floor above the gate. This could only be reached from the battlements of the Alcazaba. Entrance to the market was gained by passing through the Tub, a round Christian tower. Access to the Alcazaba was very difficult because one had to go through very narrow passages flanked by the Arms Tower.

In the middle of the fort is the Arms Square, with houses for the soldiers, a bath, and blacksmiths. The Watchtower was built by Muhammad ben Nasr in He was the founder of the Nasrid Dynasty and used this tower as his residence. There is also a Gunpowder Tower that was used for storing gunpowder. There is also a small Sultana's Tower that was used by the wife of the sultan. There is a very large patio before one enters the Mexuar, which was used as the reception salon and for the administration of justice.

Everywhere one can see the elaborate tile work at the bottom of the walls, followed by the elaborate stucco work on the walls and the beehive stucco ceilings. On the walls are ornamental pious prayers in Arabic script. The arches above columns have stalactites. There are windows where one can see the gardens below the palace or one can see the city of Granada. Everywhere there are beautiful vistas.

There is also the Court of the Myrtles with its huge courtyard and pool. The tower of Comares is in the background and reflects in the pool. The Court of the Lions is huge and impressive. The original lion statues will be placed in the nearby Museo de Bellas Artes in the Carlos V Palace to preserve them, because they have suffered erosion through the years, being exposed to the rain in the open patio.

Copies of the lion statues will be put in this court. Another beautiful place are the gardens of the Partal, adjacent to the Torre de las Damas. There is a large reflecting pool adjacent to this structure. This building has beautiful arches over columns and inside, one has beautiful views of the city below. It is interesting to note that in all these gardens adjacent to the palace, there are many beautiful cats that are not scared of the crowds of people.

It is a Renaissance building with a huge round patio in the middle, surrounded by two stories of galleries, ringed with columns. This building was constructed by the King Carlos V and it really was a mistake to construct it on the grounds of the Alhambra. However it is too late and the building is here for keeps. Inside is the Museo de Bellas Artes of the city, but it is closed on Mondays, so if one wants to see it, it is better to go on any day except Monday. The Generalife Gardens are huge and one can enjoy walking through them. At the entrance, there is a large open air patio that is sloping to a stage, where concerts and other public performances are held.

Everywhere in the gardens there are little fountains that splash water. The sound of running water was very soothing to the Moors and they engineered a system to bring large amounts of water from the surrounding mountains to the Alhambra fortress, so that they could withstand sieges and also use the water in the palaces and gardens. The gardens are surrounded by a forest of trees, and one can see the channels where the water runs.

The gardens are very well tended by professional gardeners and one can see them at work while one wanders through the gardens. There are many rose plants and other aromatic plants and shrubs because the Moors liked to have perfumed gardens, which are a delight to the senses. Many of one's senses are engaged in these beautiful gardens, the sense of sight, smell, and hearing.

What is interesting is that the gardens are divided into smaller gardens by huge green hedges, which have cutouts so that one can see adjacent gardens. One needs at least an hour to see all of these gardens in the Generalife. One can spend much more time here taking pictures of everything. One can really appreciate what the Moors built here. The designs are all to human scale and there is pure genius in the designs. The human scale is probably what makes the palaces so beautiful and engaging. One can imagine how life would be if one lived in these palaces. The Alhambra Palace has the Fountain of the Lions, which is now being restored.

There were 12 lions that surrounded the fountain and the water would spew out of the mouths of the stone lions. The lions were removed and are in restoration and are being studied. Copies will be made of the lions and placed around the fountain, while the original lions will be placed in the Alhambra Museum. The scholars studying the stone lions now know that they were sculpted between and during the reign of Muhamad V.

Spain - a land of castles

The king ordered one sculpture built by an artist, and this was probably the biggest lion, because it has the most detailing. The other lions were built by other artists, trying to copy this lion, but all of the lions are different in details from each other. They were all made of marble from Macael. They were restored in the 17th century by Alonso de Mena. It is known that the lions were polychromed before that restoration. The fountain is an ancient symbol that arrived in Granada from pre-Christian civilizations in the East.

The lion spewing water from its mouth is the sun, which gives life to everything. The 12 suns of the fountain are the 12 suns of the zodiac, the 12 months of the year. The Alhambra Museum displays one stone lion from the Fountain of the Lions, and this lion has already been restored. The sides of the lion are asymmetrical, so when one sees it from one side, it looks different when one sees it from the other side. What is interesting is that today many Islamic communities forbid the representation of human and animal figures.

During the Muslim era in Spain, these depictions were not allowed in religious buildings, but they did appear in secular works. Figurative art in Al-Andalus flourished from the Omayyad period and the Caliphate to the Nasrid dynasty, when objects and living beings were commonly represented in private houses and palaces. Although initially decoration tended to show inanimate objects and use symbolic language, Islamic art gradually assimilated the customs and artistic styles of the conquered areas through the filter of its own particular aesthetics.

Animal-shaped fountains are frequently found in Moorish palaces in Spain. This is explained in the Alhambra Museum. This also explains the very large Vase of the Gazelles in the museum, which depicts gazelles. The Alhambra Palace, in the Hall of Kings, also has a ceiling painting of the ten first kings of the Nazari dynasty. It is believed that this was painted at the end of the 14th or beginning of the 15th centuries. The article was written by Juan Ignacio Samperio Itturalde. He said that the Koran does not allow figurative art in the Muslim temples, but it allows it in secular places.

The Hadith is a collection of the views of Mohamed, and he was not in favor of any figurative art. In Arabia one cannot find figurative art, but the further one goes from Arabia in the Muslim world, one finds more figurative art. Iran and Mogul India had plenty of figurative art as their tradition. This also applies to Moorish Spain, during the reign of Al-Andalus. In Moorish Spain there was much figurative art in secular places, although with the passage of centuries and the destruction of buildings, little remains.

Much of this figurative art can be found in the ceramics that they created, and is now found only in museums around Spain. These ceramics show a profusion of animals, such as gazelles, deer, birds, and lions. Apparently many of these were found in Medina Azahara in Cordoba. Guadix is a town in the Province of Granada.

The Alcazaba of Guadix was constructed by the Moors in the 11th century. It is located on the highest point of the hill that dominates the city. The entire fort is built out of rammed earth on a masonry base, giving it the reddish color. The Catholic Kings conquered the fortification in , and after that the fort started its decay. In the 16th century part of the construction was destroyed, but was later restored. There are several square towers. The Homenaje Tower has a square ground plan and it has two parts, with the upper part with smaller dimensions. Both are crowned with rectangular merlons.

In the upper part of the tower there is a sculpture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In it was declared as a National Artistic Monument. On the top there is a lookout point with spectacular views of the city and harbor below. The Cathedral occupies the highest point and was built in the Gothic style in the 14th century, over a mosque. It is dedicated to Santa Maria la Mayor.

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The most magnificent part about this touristy place is its castle fortified tower which overlooks the beach and the crystal blue sea. One can climb up the stairs of this castle and literally travel 50 years back in time. Later back on the ground, tourists can enjoy their time on the beach or indulging in some delicious food for there are a lot of small cafes and eateries surrounding the area.

Overall, if you are looking for a soothing vacation in the company of the sea and a sleepy yet touristy town, then this is the place to be. Explore the most beautiful places to visit in Europe, from Paris to the Venice canals and from the Greek islands to the Swiss alps. Book customized packages by expert agents on TravelTriangle. Inclusive of airport transfers, cab, resort, sightseeing and meals.

Best holiday experience Guaranteed. Book Now. Visit Website. This gorgeous castle is situated in the historic village of Olite and is an absolute treat to the senses. It looks magical at night when it is all lit up and to experience its true aura, we would recommend that you atleast spend one night in the area. Another interesting fact about this lush castle is that it overlooks many vineyards and this enough should be enough motivation for you to stay for the wine here too is pretty good.

Enjoy a meal at the cafes, taste the wine, and live you life to the fullest when you visit Olite. It was also the inspiration behind the Disney films logo and host to many famous royals. This castle has several notable quirks: its courtyard, the Torre Del Christ ; the Cuartos de Granada ; and, to the side of the entrance, a Roman theater that dates back to the 1st century. Castillo de Colomares was built by an expat named Dr. Castillo de Colomares, Finca la Carraca, Ctra. Spend the morning exploring the castle and then enjoy the afternoon at the beach. Pope Benedict XIII lived here until his death in and since then, the castle has been restored several times.

The castle itself is absolutely magical, as are the endless mountains surrounding it. Ponferrada Castle, Av. The castle has passed through many ruling hands over the centuries but when you arrive you will still see the original oval shape of its mortar walls, as well as its 14 towers.