La Calahorra Castle

La Calahorra Castle-Palace is one of the most important Works of the firs Spanish Renaissance. La Calahorra Castle was constructed on the remains of a preceding fortification of the Medieval period dating from the beginning of the 16th century, probably between 1509 and 1512, and two arhitects mainly participated in the construction, the Castilian Lorenzo Vazquez and the Italian Michelle Carlone.

La Calahorra Castle is a singular building not only for its aspect and location, which make La Calahorra Castle the most characteristic element in the landscape of El Marquesado, but also for the originality of La Calahorra Castle's conception and execution. Two different constructive and stylistic trends coincide in La Calahorra Castle, the Castilian defensive architecture and the purest Renaissance. The result at La Calahorra Castle is a fortress on the outside aspect and an exquisite and intimate palace on the inside, constructed using basically the stoen (limestone and for the balustrade and higher colonnade of the yaard, marble of Carrara) besides the brick and the mortar for some floorings and wallings up and the wood spledidly carved for the covering of the noblest living rooms.

The central yard of La Calahorra Castle organizes the design of the inner space. This yard is what we can consider the Renaissance work of the construction of La Calahorra Castle. Surrounded by a double gallery with arches that support the coat of arms of Los Mendoza and Los Foseca in La Calahorra Castle. The palace living rooms are designed round it, accessing to the room of arms and the body of arms in the lower part of La Calahorra Castle. Throgh a monumental marble stairs you get the high floor of La Calahorra Castle, to the Oratory, whose door is located in the Fine Arts Museum of Seville, the rooms of Arms and Justice and the private lodgings are located, all of them with yard and in its constructive elements (columns and arches, main fronts, windows, etc) where the Renaissance decorative program spreads, that is attributed to Michelle Calrone and that a series of vegetable elements and allegoric figures covering fiezes, lintels, pollars and pilasters, capitals and rose windows, and etc, are the protagonists in La Calahorra Castle.

The caracass that protects and hides this interior in La Calahorra Castle is a fortification in the Catilian style and with impregnable aspect. A huge box is added to the central chequered body that overtangs to the South side of La Calahorra Castle and that lodges the inner stairs, and in the corners cylindrical towers crowned by cupolas. One single entrace in La Calahorra Castle, some small embrasures and a few windows are the only gaps that break the ssolidity of La Calahorra Castle. Rofrigo de Mendoza y Maria de Fonseca lived just eight years in La Calahorra Castle, which passed to the hands of the Marquises daughters. The War of the Moorishes (1568-71) which was especially violent in El Marquesado of El Cenete, brought back the leadership of La Calahorra Castle, where the old Christians of the area look refuge and almost at the end of the war the Marquis of Mondejar and the Marquis of Javara withdrawed to barracks under the orders of Mr. Juan of Austria. Afterards La Calahorra Castle was practically abandoned for centuries. At the beginning of the 20th century, almost sold and moved stone by stone to the USA, it was purchased by the Duke of El Infantado and the Marquis of Santillana.


Belmonte Castle

Belmonte Castle is built on the site of a previous building built in 1324. The existing building of the Belmonte Castlewas erected by Juan Pacheco, Marquis de Villena, between 1456 and 1470. Belmonte Castle is in the Gothic-Mudejar-plateresque and Gothic-Arabic styles and has two enclosures.

The exterior of the Belmonte Castle is pentagon shaped, and joined to walls that go down towards the town; on the side with the exterior door, Belmonte Castle has a Gothic porch and lateral balustrade, and more or less at the opposite extreme of the enclosure there is another door, or false door, also with a balustrade, that links the Belmonte Castle to the town.

The interior enclosure of the Belmonte Castle is the real castle, made of three rectangular bodies attached at the corners, leaving a triangular interior space, with two buildings and the keep; each side of the Belmonte Castle is reinforced with a circular tower, six in total.

The inside of the Belmonte Castle's enclosure, like the outside, retains in the rooms, galleries, chapel, arches etc.... original work and 19th century neo-gothic renovations.

Some traces remain of the drawbridge and the moat of the Belmonte Castle that must have been there.

Belmonte Castle also retains an impressive defensive enclosure made up of the castle and walls and gates.


Manzanares el Real Castle

Manzanares el Real Castle, combining the solidarity of a large fortress of the low Middle Ages and the elegance of a Renaissance residence, is a proud symbol of one of the most powerful families in Castilla during the XIV and XV centuries, the Mendozas. The Palace Castle Manzanares el Real, which the Duques del Infantado had built during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs, is located near Madrid and set in the breathtaking rocky landscape between La Pedriza and Santillana reservoir. Carefully reconstructed, Manzanares el Real Castle offers examples of late Gothic and Mudejar architecture, Moorish and Renaissance details, as well as furniture, tapestries, armour and objects from different historical periods.

Manzanares el Real Castle lies 50 kilometers from Madrid on the southern slope of the Guadarrama mountain range, between Santillana reservoir and the crags of La Pedriza. The Manzanares el Real Castle is an impressive example of xv century Castilian military architecture, and one of the last of its kind in Spain. In fact, after initially being user as a fortress, the Manzanares el Real Castle became a residential Palace of one of the noblest families in Castilla since the Middle Ages: the Mendozas. However, Manzanares el Real Castle is also closely tied in with Madrid's recent history, because the process leading to the autonomy of Comunidad de Madrid (1981) was started there, as was the project for the Statute of Autonomy, which would be approved in Congress and the Senate in I 983.

The Mendoza family, whose lineage goes back to the XI century and who were linked to the Spanish monarchy, received titles of nobility and considerable inheritances for their services to the Crown. The connection between the Mendoza's and the territory of Real de Manzanares dates from the XIV century when Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza (1340-1385), faithful servant of Enrique II of Trastamara, was granted extensive estates in the Somosierra mountain range from Buitrago to Colmenar.

His son, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza (1365-1404), who was "Almirante Mayor" of Castilla under the reign of King Enrique II, received the Real de Manzanares estate from Juan II in recognition of the services of his father Don Pedro. He ordered a castle to be built on his new estate, close to the present-day site, and its ruins are still visible today. However, the old castle near the river became too small and uncomfortable for the Mendozas, who continued to prosper in the service of the monarchy, they had to start thinking about building a new fortress.

Don Diego was succeeded by his son, Inigo Lopez de Mendoza (1398-1458), a brave soldier and an educated man who served Juan II, who received the title of first Conde de Manzanares and first Marques de Santillana after participating in the battle of Olmedo. The latter title would pass on to posterity, more as a result of his lyrical poetic works than his military deeds or political ambassadorships.

The Mendoza family reached the height of their power and influence during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs. The first-born of the Marques de Santillana, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, a man greatly trusted by the Monarchs, was given the title of Duque del Infantado together with new possessions and privileges. His brother; Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza (1428-1494), became a close adviser to Fernando and Isabel and a great Cardinal of Spain.

The whole building of the Manzanares el Real Castle is surrounded by a permiter barbican, with a single entrance via a beautiful west-facing door, flanked by two strong turrets and defended by stone deer. In the Manzanares el Real Castle all the walls of the barbican contain loopholes in the shape of the Jerusalem Cross in homage to the first duke's brother, Cardenal Mendoza, who was given the title of Cardinal of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem Basilica by the Catholic Monarchs in 1480. The south facade of the Manzanares el Real Castle boasts a portico, the outer face of which is made up of low arches with a flamboyant Gothic style pillar between each one. It contrasts sharply with the solid walls of the Manzanares el Real Castle, and shows how lnigo Lopez changed the look of his residence with the help of the skilled architect Juan Guas. The latter also designed the magnificent portico, galleries around the central courtyard, with late Gothic and Mudejar influences particularly on the ceilings and the corridors of the Manzanares el Real Castle, containing the coat of arms of the Mendozas, Lunas and Enriquezs.

The Manzanares el Real Castle's stately appearance, contrasting with the harmonious blend of Moorish and Renaissance details and the elegance of the mock Arabic cornice on which the battlements are supported, is only interrupted on the south-facing facade by the splendid portico of the Manzanares el Real Castle.
The Mendozas used this Palace-Manzanares el Real Castle as a stately home for less than a century. In 1565 when the 4th Duque del Infantado died, feuds between the inheritors resulted in its disuse and a slow process of deterioration until the architect, Vicente Lamperez Romera, took responsibility for the first restoration works in 1914. Declared a Historical Art Monument in 1931, the Duque del Infantado, lnigo Arteaga y Folquera, ceded the Manzanares el Real Castle to Madrid County Council in 1965. At present, the Manzanares el Real Castle is run by "Direccion General de Turismo de la Consejeria de Economia y Empleo de la Comunidad de Madrid".
When the Regional Council took charge of the Manzanares el Real Castle, it was in a regrettable state of ruin and abandonment. In 1974 an ambitious three-year restoration of the Manzanares el Real Castle plan was started in line with the project by be architect, D. Manuel Gonzalea. The plan aimed to give the Manzanares el Real Castle back its former splendor, and respect the previous distribution and decoration of the period. Its objective was for the Manzanares el Real Castle to once again be a living building, in a state to be visited by the public and also used for various activities. Several Old pieces of furniture adorn the Manzanares el Real Castle's rooms, together with others which were actually made inside them. Rugs, armour, tapestries, paintings and other objects of various origins were placed in the Manzanares el Real Castle for decorative purposes. A collection of XVII century Baroque tapestries from the Brussels workshops is of particular interest in the Manzanares el Real Castle. Seven of them mark periods in the life of Julius Caesar, two show the series 'The Life of Man" and the tenth portrays a biblical theme. At present Manzanares el Real Castle is the venue for many different activities throughout the year: public functions, conferences and seminars, exhibitions, concerts and promotional events, in order to maintain the Manzanares el Real Castle as a living building by serving the community, making the effort put into its restoration, preservation and daily maintenance worthwhile socially. Every year thousands of Madrid's citizens and travelers from other destinations flock to this beautiful monument of Manzanares el Real Castle, so closely linked to both the history of Spain and Madrid.


Coca Castle

The castle of Coca was built in the late fifteenth century by Don Alonso de Fonseca, one of the most magnificent and luxury-loving magnates of Castile. The castle of Coca lies in the province of Segovia but is close to the border of Valladolid. Cuellar, Arevalo, Olmedo, and Coca formed a square of great strategic importance.

The castle of Coca is built in a sandy, wooded land, poor in stone but rich in mudejar masons, it was naturally built of brick, as were the castles of Arevalo and Medina del Campo, and a multitude of churches in the area. But despite the brick construction of the castle of Coca, it is not Islamic in plan or disposition. In this respect the castle of Coca is completely Christian. The outer enclosure of the castle of Coca, with polygonal towers at the corners and semicircular ones on the walls, emerges from a huge moat with views of the artillery defenses. Behind it rise the extremely strong walls of the main part of the castle of Coca, which repeat the polygonal and round towers of the outer enclosure. These polygonal forms are especially suited to brick construction of the castle of Coca.

The castle of Coca was built around 1600, primarily as a residence. The castle of Coca looks a bit too ornate to be taken seriously as a military castle, but the castle of Coca features extensive crenellations and some very interesting cross-and-orb holes, ostensibly for shooting. The construction of the castle of Coca is entirely of brick, in alternating tan and white layers. The castle of Coca is surrounded by a moat about 40 feet deep, and consists of three concentric walls around a central tower. Coca castle is currently used as a school, but is almost entirely accessible to visitors. The castle of Coca lies about an hour north of Segovia, and is near Mota castle, which is similar in age, size, and style. Of the two, Coca is perhaps slightly more interesting, but both are worthy of a visit if you're in Segovia and/or driving north toward Leon.


Sintra Castle

Castelo dos Mouros (English: Castle of the Moors) is a castle located in the town of Sintra, Portugal. The Sintra Castle is located on a high hill overlooking the town, being one of its most important tourist attractions. Sintra Castle is part of the Cultural Landscape of Sintra, recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

As implied by its name, the Sintra Castle is of Moorish origin, but the current building is the result of a romantic renovation carried out in the 19th century. The views from the Sintra Castle walls and towers are breathtaking. The town of Sintra with its royal palace, as well as the Pena National Palace, are all visible from the Sintra Castle - Castle of the Moors.

Originally, the Sintra Castle was built by the Moors, possibly between the 9th and 10th centuries. Arab chronicles depict the Sintra region as being very rich in cultivated fields. The Sintra Castle was one of the most important in the surroundings.

In 1109, the Sintra Castle became subject to an attack by crusading Norwegians, lead by King Sigurd I, on their way to the Holy Land. Every man at the Sintra Castle were said to have been killed as they had refused to become christened.
In 1147, after the conquest of Lisbon by King Afonso Henriques, the Moorish garrison of the Sintra Castle surrendered to the Christians without resistance. Afonso Henriques promoted the development of the region by granting a foral (letter of feudal rights) to the inhabitants of Sintra and the Sintra Castle in 1154. During the reign of King Sancho I the Sintra Castle was repaired, as well as the romanesque Church of Saint Peter, (Igreja de São Pedro) inside the Sintra Castle walls.

The decline of the Sintra Castle began in the 15th century, when most of the population settled downhill, in today's old quarter of Sintra. In the 16th century, the Sintra Castle lost all military relevance and was abandoned by its last inhabitants, the Sintra Jews.

In 1830, after a long period of ruin, King Ferdinand II started a profound renovation of the Sintra Castle in the romantic spirit of the time, which saw in the Middle Ages a source of inspiration. The walls and towers of the Sintra Castle were rebuilt, while the Church of Saint Peter was intentionally left in ruins. The Sintra Castle, blended with the vegetation and topography of the hill, gained a fairy-tale, romantic atmosphere.

The Sintra Castle - Castle of the Moors has two walled segments with a total perimeter of 450 metres. The walls of the Sintra Castle at the north segment took advantage of the natural slope of the hill to prevent enemies from approaching the Sintra Castle. Although much restored, the towers of the Sintra Castle seem to be in their original locations. The wall segment of the Sintra Castle with the entrance of the castle has the best preserved walls, in which the medieval building technique can be fully appreciated.

Also near the entrance of the Sintra Castle is located the Romanesque Church of Saint Peter, which dates from the 12th-13th centuries. The small church in the Sintra Castle has no roof, but the apse with its barrel vault is still preserved. In the Sintra Castle, the capitals of the main portal and chapel of the apse are decorated with Romanesque vegetable motifs. The area around the church of the Sintra Castle was excavated and revealed the existence of a medieval cemetery with many tombs.


Óbidos Castle

Óbidos is a town of around 3,100 inhabitants and the seat of the municipality (concelho) of the same name, located in the subregion Oeste and district of Leiria, in Portugal. The municipality has an area of 142.17 km² and a population of 10,875 inhabitants (2001). It is bounded in the northeast and east by Caldas da Rainha, in the south by Bombarral, in the southeast by Lourinhã, in the west by Peniche and in the northwest by the Atlantic Ocean.

The town of Óbidos is located on a hill and is still encircled by a fortified wall. The well-preserved mediaeval look of its streets, squares, walls and its massive castle have turned the picturesque village into a preferred tourist attraction in Portugal. If visiting, it is compulsory to try the local cherry liquor known as ginjinha.

The name "Óbidos" probably derives from the Latin term oppidum, meaning "citadel", or "fortified city". Roman occupation of the area has been recently confirmed by archaeological excavations, which revealed the existence of a Roman city very close to the hill where the village is located. This Roman settlement is most certainly the mysterious Eburobrittium, cited by Pliny the Elder as situated between Collipo (near present-day Leiria) and Olisipo (Lisbon). Until now the surveys have revealed the rests of the forum, baths and other buildings.

After the fall of Roman domination, the region must have come under the influence of the Visigoths, although material evidence is lacking. The Roman town of Eburobrittium was probably abandoned in the 5th century for the more secure hill where Óbidos is located. Sometime after 713 the Moors established a fortification on top of the hill. A Christian community of Mozarabs lived in the Moncharro neighbourhood.

The area was taken from the Moors by the first King of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, in 1148. Tradition states that one knight, Gonçalo Mendes da Maia, was responsible for the successful storming of the Moorish castle. The retaking of Óbidos meant the end of the Reconquista of the Estremadura region, after the conquests of Santarém, Lisbon and Torres Vedras. The village received its first foral (charter) in 1195, under the reign of Sancho I.

In 1210, King Afonso II donated the village to his wife, Queen Urraca. Since then Óbidos has often belonged to the Queens of Portugal, giving rise to its informal title as Vila das Rainhas (Queens' village). Several Queens enriched the village with donations from the Middle Ages until the 16th century.

The castle of Óbidos and the walls of the village were remodelled under King Dinis I.It is made out of local limestone and marble. The village was also enlarged around this time, with settlements created outside the walls. The massive keep of the castle is attributed to a building campaign sponsored by Fernando I (late 14th century).

The Santa Maria Church of Óbidos was the setting for the wedding of King Afonso V with his cousin, Princess Isabel, on August 15, 1441, when they were both still children of 9 and 10.

The town has a magnificent castle, now hosting a pousada. The municipality is also home to the well known and prestigious Praia D'el Rey golf complex, one of the top golf resorts in Europe.


Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle is a medieval castle in Warwick, the county town of Warwickshire, England. Warwick Castle sits on a cliff overlooking a bend in the River Avon. Warwick Castle was built by William the Conqueror in 1068 within or adjacent to Anglo-Saxon burh of Warwick. Warwick Castle was used as a fortification until the early 17th century, when Sir Fulke Greville converted Warwick Castle to a country house. Warwick Castle was owned by the Greville family, who became earls of Warwick in 1759, until 1978.

From 1088, Warwick Castle traditionally belonged to the Earl of Warwick, and it served as a symbol of his power. Warwick Castle was taken in 1153 by Henry of Anjou, later Henry II. Warwick Castle has been used to hold prisoners, including some from the Battle of Poitiers in the 14th century. Under the ownership of Richard Neville – also known as "Warwick the Kingmaker" – Warwick Castle was used in the 15th century to imprison the English king, Edward IV.

Since the construction of Warwick Castle in the 11th century, Warwick Castle has undergone structural changes with additions of towers and redesigned residential buildings. Originally a wooden motte-and-bailey, it was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century. During the Hundred Years War, the facade of the Warwick Castle opposite the town was refortified, resulting in one of the most recognisable examples of 14th century military architecture.

In the 17th century the grounds of the Warwick Castle were turned into a garden. The Warwick Castle's defences were enhanced in the 1640s to prepare Warwick Castle for action in the English Civil War. Robert Greville, 2nd Baron Brooke, was a Parliamentarian, and Royalist forces laid siege to the castle. Warwick Castle withstood the siege and was later used to hold prisoners taken by the Parliamentarians. The Tussauds Group purchased Warwick Castle in 1978 and opened as a tourist attraction. It is protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monumentand a Grade I listed building.


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