Home to more than 2,500 castles, Spain tells the story of each epoch and culture, from Phoenicians to Visigoths or Moors, that built powerful hilltop forts to protect the lands, some of them – awe-inspiring or oppressive, others – extravagant and palatial. Each beautiful castle in Spain can be tied to a major event in the country’s history. Crossing the peninsula we stop in the areas of Cádiz, Segovia and Galicia.
The Arab Castle: Olvera, Cádiz
From the southern Andalucia, we stop for now in the province of Cádiz, in Olvera. The castle was constructed here at the end of the 12th century, as part of the defensive system of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. The castle stands on a strategic rock, giving the ability to communicate with other nearby castles through signals, including reflecting light with mirrors. Its structure was created deliberately to disadvantage enemy to the maximum. The Christians reinforced it and reformed after its conquest. The climb is steep but it is worth it for its spectacular views.
The Gothic-Mudejar Castle: Coca, Segovia
Near Segovia, the historic city northwest of Madrid, stands the town of Coca. Its castle, built in the 15th century by order of the Fonseca family, stands as a jewel of Spanish Gothic-Mudejar art. It does not sit on a hill but on some escarpments of the land. The exterior image of the castle is of extreme beauty. Unlike the Christian castles, with smooth walls, regular and monochromatic ashlars, with an exclusively defensive value, here we can admire the triumph of fantasy, imagination and dreams. Its originality is such that it is considered the most beautiful example of Castilian military Mudejar.
The Rebuilt Acropolis: Monterrei, Galicia
Rebuilt, during the 12th century, upon the remains of a fort, the Monterrei fortress-palace in Ourense, north of Spain, is considered by many authors as the largest Galician acropolis, being mainly a strategic enclave for the defense of the border with nearby Portugal. The oldest preserved elements correspond to the years of the reign of Alfonso IX, most of them corresponding to the time of the first Count of Monterrey, Sancho Sánchez de Ulloa.. It stands on the Camino de Santiago route and includes the Pilgrims’ Hospital, the Palace of the Counts and the church of Santa María de Gracia.