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Old July 19th, 2013, 12:49 PM   #81
pichuneke
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It seems a Palace from XIXth century, it's not a genuine castle. Anyway it's a pity.
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Old July 20th, 2013, 02:10 AM   #82
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Beautiful pics. I love this thread.
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Old August 4th, 2013, 07:47 PM   #83
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What a great castle! I did not know about their existence. Thank you! =)
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Old January 6th, 2014, 04:50 PM   #84
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I'm going to take advantage of this thread to show and explain a bit of the diversity of castle architecture in Spain (I've been digging into the matter lately and got quite impressed, so want to share the experience) with some examples. The aim is to point out patterns, typologies, etc.



Beginning with the castle of Burgalimar in the town of Baños de la Encina (Andalusia). This is one of the castles built by the caliphate of Cordova in order to host troops heading north to raid the christian kingdoms (hundreds of kilometers away). So it didn't really have a defensive purpose originally. None of those castles have survived in such a good shape as this one.



This is:

a) a militar fortress, no noble residence place, no ornamental stuff: just functional design. Walls, towers, battlements, arrowslits and that's it.


http://andujar.safa.edu/index.php?op...ales&Itemid=68

b) a typically hispano-muslim fortress: built in a mix of stone and mud; originally there was no keep, no main tower, just walls with flanking towers that define an internal space where whatever structures were raised. The current keep (the tower where the flags stands and the only part of the castle built in stone), is a later addition, but it's too small to screw anything.

image hosted on flickr

http://www.reharq.com/2013/10/atarde...urgalinar.html

c) a really old castle, built in the 10th century, when fortresses built in something other than wood were rare in Europe.


http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Eur...hoto759604.htm

[IMG]http://oi40.************/mw8c20.jpg[/IMG]
http://www.esacademic.com/dic.nsf/eswiki/235886


From panoramio by Aguxaen
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/6815884


http://www.iberrutas.com/blog/bailen/


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi...l_Castillo.jpg
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Old January 6th, 2014, 06:29 PM   #85
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Spain have to value more his castles and give much more international renown as France did with his own castles but not in a chauvinism way as the French do.
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Old January 6th, 2014, 11:16 PM   #86
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Next type: artistic castle-palaces built during the late middle ages in the christian kingdoms. A random example of that is the castle of Guadamur, near Toledo. This castle was built in the 15th c. by a noble house to whom this county was given for their support to the king in a civil war. It has undergone recent renovation, as it did during the 19th c.





Burgalimar was defensive, muslim, old and royal (caliphal). Guadamur is the opposite to all of that. First, because it isn't as old, obviously.



http://www.traveltourismblog.com/spain.php

Secondly, this is not a royal military castle but some kind of fortified noble house. Spain never fully had a feudal system as the rest of Western Europe (or at least only did in some regions), so the common idea of most castles being just great fortified manor houses doesn't apply to most of the country. However, during the late middle ages many noble families were given a lot of land by kings as a reward for their support in civil wars. They built residences (castles) in those lands, so during the 14th and 15th centuries a lot of castle-palace hybrids like this one were built in the country (specially in Castile).


http://castillosdelolvido.es/archivos/9882

Third, as just implied, the defensive purposes of these late castles are secondary. Unlike functional fortresses, these buildings have more decorative stuff, more windows, etc. The wards for soldiers become palatial courtyards.


From Panoramio by Cogolludo


From Panoramio by Cogolludo



Fourth, unlike the previous castle (moorish), this one does have a big keep and it's built in stone: it resembles castles in other European countries. In fact, this particular one is supposed to have a strong Italian influence, although the design of the keep rather follows French models that became part of the local tradition some centuries before.


http://suite101.net/article/del-cast...or-mora-a26953

By the way, moats in Spain are usually dry, as in this case.


https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/phot...7gTwPZkyXDaoEA


Inside pictures here:
http://www.abc.es/fotos-toledo/20131...338712640.html
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Old January 6th, 2014, 11:32 PM   #87
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Castle of Villena (Alicante)
image hosted on flickr

Castille de Villena por Thøger, en Flickr
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Old January 7th, 2014, 12:51 PM   #88
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Another usual kind of castles in Spain are fortified palaces, the so-called alcázares (from arab al-qasr, castle, a name that could be also applied to regular fortresses but that nowadays is rather employed to name these fortified palaces for royalty). This was a concept that originated in the muslim part of Iberia, but the Christians assimilated the idea as they moved south so that most of alcázares nowadays (in Segovia, Seville, Toledo, Cordoba) are christian-built royal palaces.

One of the original muslim alcázares is the "Qasr al-Surur" (palace of joy), better known as the Aljafería (from the name of the king that ordered its construction, Jafar), in Saragossa. It was built during the 11th century outside the walls of the city. It was the royal palace for one of the "petty kingdoms" that emerged in Spain after the dissolution of the caliphate of Cordova, the so-called taifas kingdoms.



[IMG]http://oi44.************/o8t4wo.jpg[/IMG]
From Bing Maps

The model for this castle were the Ummayad fortresses in the Middle East (such as this one): a rectangle divided in several rectangles, one of which was the palace itself. This is the original plan:


http://otraarquitecturaesposible.blo...muslim_09.html

The palace would later be modified several times by christians, so nowadays we have such a complicated thing that it's not worth commenting everything (this is supposed to be about castles, not palaces). Just notice that, despite originally every side was fortified and had round towers, today just one side does.


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ca...Aljafer%C3%ADa

The big tower at one side, looking like some kind of keep, is prior to the rest: dates back to the 9th c (emiral period of unified Al-Andalus).


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ca...Aljafer%C3%ADa

The muslim palace inside was organized around a courtyard...



... from where the throne room was accesible.


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ca...Aljafer%C3%ADa

As well as the oratory:

image hosted on flickr

From Flickr by zaragoza.es
http://www.flickr.com/photos/zaragoz...n/photostream/

Something curious: this building was designed by a so-called slav architect, meaning that he was, or had been, a slave whose origins were in Central Europe (not necesarily an ethnic slav). It was something usual in Al-Andalus that a good share of the people in the court, doing important tasks there, were slav slaves (who could in the end become free, if they embraced islam). So, despite being an exotic oriental palace, this building might have been designed by a German or a Polish guy.

In later centuries christian kings would make their contribution to the complex. One of the most significant was made during the 15th c (by the Catholic Monarchs), who built another palace on top of the muslim one. They used mudéjar style for it (a mix of christian-European and islamic artistic traditions).



http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi..._Techumbre.JPG

For different reasons, during the 16th c. the palace was turned into a fortified citadel, that explains the shape of the moat among other things.

These gothic revival towers were added at the back corners during the 19th c.


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi..._Techumbre.JPG
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Old January 7th, 2014, 01:31 PM   #89
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This simple, robust, elegant stone tower with a curtain wall is the ancestral home of one of the most significant noble houses in Spanish history: the Mendoza family. It's located in the Basque Country (Álava) and was built in the 13th century.




http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TorreMendoza.JPG

This family had other castles and palaces further south which weren't by any means as sober as this one... Take the castle in Manzanares el Real as an example.

The point for bringing this tower is to show that in Northern Spain (I mean really Northern, beyond the Cantabrian mountains, or in what is usually called "Green Spain") castles are rather fortified towers and houses than proper castles. There are two reasons for that: first, these regions were far from conflict areas; second, no important lordship developed here (although many of them, like the Mendozas, originated here) to build a significant castle. That's because landholdings in these regions were small, as this is a mountainous area. In other places that would have given rise to some process of internal conflict between small lordships leading to land concentration (which did take place also here to a certain extent), but here families had a lot of opportunities to get rich moving south to the muslim-occupied or the just conquered lands. That's to say they didn't need to accumulate lands in their original region in order to get more power, which was one of the reasons why feudalism developed elsewhere, because they could do so further south by taking muslim lands and properties. Mendoza family is a very nice example of a Northern family, with a modest ancestral home, that became rich and important moving south.


http://www.lospueblosmasbonitosdeesp...rre-de-mendoza
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Old January 8th, 2014, 11:10 AM   #90
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Castle of Granadilla: this was the castle of a fief's main town, located at the north of Cáceres province (Extremadura, central-western Spain). It was built in the 15th c. by the house of Alba (the most important noble family in the country) that had just got this dominion.




http://curiososincompletos.wordpress...012/05/20/859/

As you can see in this aerial picture, the village preserves its walls and the castle intersects them as if the whole town was the castle and this tower was its keep. You can also see most of the town is in ruins (according to the official register, none lives there now) and you can also see the cause: the water of the reservoir, created in the 1950s, that flooded the fields on which the peasants depended.


http://www.nosoloviajeros.com/la-ciu...dilla-caceres/


http://nacional630.blogspot.com.es/2...ranadilla.html

This one is also supposed to have italian influence. It's in any case a late castle, with all those corbelled machicolations, balls decorating the top of the battlements and an aesthetic purpose in general.


http://avesdelnorte.blogspot.com.es/...ierras-de.html


http://galeon.com/castcaceres/granadilla.htm
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Old January 8th, 2014, 02:30 PM   #91
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Strictly military castles aren't usually in such a good shape as the more residential ones. That's because they're usually older in the first place (the hardest days of the reconquista took place during the early and high middle ages, because of what I'll explain in a moment), but also because they were bigger and didn't have a private owner looking after them.

One of the greatest castles of this type is Calatrava la Nueva, built by the warrior-monks of the order of Calatrava in the lands of La Mancha in the 13th c after the battle that marked the beginning of the end of Al-Andalus: the battle of Navas de Tolosa in 1212, in which a joint army of all the christian Iberian kingdoms defeated the Almohad caliphate that had reunified muslim Spain (it had actually been incorporated to a bigger Maghreb empire centered in Marrakech). Up to that moment, since the reconquista began in the 8th-9th centuries, christians had conquered about half of the Iberian peninsula, but during a few decades following this battle they would conquer almost all of the other half: everything except the (small and mountainous) kingdom of Granada.




http://ubedasemerturismo.blogspot.co...calatrava.html

They built this castle to control the passes through the Sierra Morena mountains that connect the Castilian plateau with the plains of the Guadalquivir valley in Andalusia (the core of Al-Andalus). So this fortress was the base to invade what had always been the center of muslim Spain (where the several capital cities of Al-Andalus had been located: Cordoba and Seville, notably).


http://lugaresconhistoria.com/2013/0...a-ciudad-real/

If you compare this castle to some of the others I've posted before, you'll see several differences: 1) the other castles are on plains or on top of low hills, this one is on top of a mountain (or almost); 2) most of the other castles have a regular plan, this one obviously doesn't as it has to fit with the hill (but they might have done it on purpose, as walls in zigzag provide better shoot angles),3) this one isn't particularly beautiful, but that's also because, as I said at the beginning of the post, it has deteriorated more. So this is not a fortified residence but something expressly made for war.

Btw, you can see it has a big bailey (that explanade enclosed by walls).

[IMG]http://oi43.************/o0z57s.jpg[/IMG]
http://dinastias.forogratis.es/vota-...-t3037-12.html

[IMG]http://oi44.************/530g9t.jpg[/IMG]

This happens to be a castle-monastery as, as I just said, these warriors were also monks, like templars. So inside the fortress there's a nice cistercian church:


http://www.flickr.com/photos/eskaram...n/photostream/


http://www.flickr.com/photos/eskaram...n/photostream/

View from the top, it can give an idea of the importance of emplacement for these castles. The presence of fields at the mountains feet isn't casual, this castle also served as a defense for the rich lands that had been given to the order of Calatrava, so today this region is just known as the Campo de (field of) Calatrava, but the castle needed supplies in any case.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/eskaram...n/photostream/
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Old January 8th, 2014, 09:55 PM   #92
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Next comes a unique case in the country: a lord's castle (and a great one) belonging to the church, and more specifically to the bishops of the town of Sigüenza in which the castle is located. That's related to the fact that the army that conquered this town to the muslims in the 12th c. was led by its own bishop (and I mean he had already been named bishop before the town was conquered, that was an usual practice back then).





The first bishop rebuilt the former muslim castle and turned it into his residence. The result was this imposing building, kind of a fortified palace that would be expanded in the following centuries. It suffered moderate damage during modern wars such as the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, so it had to be partially restored in the 1970s. Now it serves as a hotel (it's a parador, a state-owned chain of luxury hotels, usually using historical buildings).


http://www.ganasdeviajar.com/2011/06...-siguenza-2-3/[/IMG]

The castle is massive, huge and monochrome: tall walls, few windows, the towers barely stand out and all of them have the same size. The absence of a dominant tower (a keep) is probably related to the fact that a former muslim castles provided the structure (I said in another post that moorish castles didn't originally have keeps, just walls and flanking towers, like Roman forts).


http://www.tuestancia.com/hotel/defa...2774&prov=JBO#

Most of the inner ward (patio de armas) dates back to the last renovation. I can't tell you about the authenticity of the style.


http://www.ganasdeviajar.com/2011/06...enza-castillo/

Here you can see the cathedral too, a cistercian one.

image hosted on flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/castill...ar/3131615057/


http://www.turismosiguenza.es


From Panoramio by SerViajero
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/71528184


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi...enza_Nieve.jpg
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Old January 8th, 2014, 10:41 PM   #93
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Nolke, your posts have splendid pictures, well-written explanations and are very informative. Thank you very much for the efforts to present us the Spanish castles in such detail and please keep on with the great work!
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Old January 9th, 2014, 10:04 AM   #94
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thank you for following and for the kind comment I'm really really enjoying making these post.



Going on... The castle of mur (Catalan Pyrenees) isn't big nor impressive, but it's highly interesting for several reasons. First, because it's a really old christian castle (not something found very often): it was built in the 10th-11th c.




http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi...ell_de_Mur.jpg

Second, because it's the best remnant of a certain typology: the so-called romanesque castles erected in order to protect the Western border of the Catalan counties.

As it's missing the battlements, this one doesn't even look like a castle at times.


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi..._de_Mur_12.JPG

Something interesting about this type is that these were at a time feudal castles (Catalonia, unlike most of the rest of Spain, did have a manorial system and this castle was the seat of a manor, there's a village close by, where there's a nice monastery and stuff) with a strong defensive purpose. That's unusual in Spain since military castles belonged to kings or military orders, notably during the early and high middle ages, while noble residential castles were built during the late middle ages when castles had already a secondary defensive purpose as the world had become more peaceful. That means that, functionally, Catalonian castles fit better the classic model of the Western European castle as a noble stronghold (Castilian ones usually do not, even if they might seem to have a closer morphology).


http://www.romanicocatalan.com/02a-L...Murcastell.htm

The interior, missing the wood boards that made up the upper floors (you can see the holes for beams on the walls).


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi..._de_Mur_14.JPG
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Old January 9th, 2014, 02:32 PM   #95
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So let's take a look at one of those great late Castilian castles built mainly as noble residences. Coca castle is one of the most iconic in Spain, built in the 15th century.





http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi..._ILUMINADO.jpg




Let's settle this once and for all: why are so many palatial castles for nobles built in Castile since the 14th c?

Originally, most of the land in Castile depended directly from the king (realengos) but, as I've commented before, since the 14th c. kings began giving nobles lands as a reward for their loyalty in a time in which the competition for the throne increased significantly (several civil wars). That's to say, there's some kind of increasing feudalisation in Castile from that moment on, although it's important to notice two things about that: first, these lordships didn't mean that lords owned the land, so their vassals weren't economically dependant of them, lords just had the right to collect taxes and to make justice in their lands; second, the king never was completely dependent on noblemen to rule. So actually this is far from Western European manor/feudalism, all that happened was that some jurisdictions were given to noblemen, where they built castles that symbolized their power but usually those castles weren't even their main residences (which could rather be urban palaces, Spain was a very urbanized country for the European standards of the time).

And why did this conflict for the crown and consequently this sort of land concentration happen? That's less clear. The fact that the reconquista, which had united the christians against a common enemy and which had provided a lot of profits from new lands, promotion opportunities for warriors, plundering and extorsion, was almost over by then may have something to do in the Castilian case, but the late middle ages were hard times for all of Europe anyway.

So that's enough for the context, I won't insist on that anymore.



Now, back to the castle: the lands of Coca were given by the king to the Mendoza family (remember them?), but they exchanged this lordship for another one with the bishop of Ávila, who would become Archbishop of Seville one year later, a member of the Fonseca family. That's important to know because this archbishop is supposed to have brought a Moorish builder from Ávila (Ali Caro), and Moorish masons from Seville to build this castle (Moorish people living in christian kingdoms, called mudéjares by then, were specialized in masonry as their work was particularly appreciated, that's why mudejar architecture is so important in Spain). So this happens to be a castle with a Moorish look, it's a so-called mudéjar castle, but that influence is limited to materials and decorations: structurally, this a classic European castle (with a keep, a moat, a double perimeter of walls), influenced again by Italian models (including Renaissance stuff).


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ca...Castle_of_Coca

In any case you can see again how this is rather a palace than a defensive castle. Just like in Guadamur, the inner ward becomes an arcade courtyard. Sadly, in this case, the magnificent elements that made up the central patio (Renaissance style) were sold in the 19th c. What we've got now is just a dull reconstruction (invented). You can also see the artistic design of the moat, etc.


http://www.panoramio.com/photo/40043451


[/IMG]
http://www.descubrecoca.com/2009/06/...o-de-coca.html

As you may have already noticed, the most striking thing, which is related to the mudejarism of the castle, is that it was built with bricks (that's rare in Western Europe).


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ca...Castle_of_Coca


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ca...Castle_of_Coca

It was one of the first castle in Europe to feature an adaptation to artillery. You see those square shaped holes in the corner bastion? Those are holes for fire weapons, just like arrowslits but broader.


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ca...Castle_of_Coca

To be continued...
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Old January 9th, 2014, 05:24 PM   #96
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Second part of Coca castle: more on mudéjar decoration


From Panoramio by Roberto Tomel
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/46384913


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi...e_Coca_163.jpg


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi...lo_de_Coca.jpg


http://pacoymatematicas.blogspot.com...o-de-coca.html

Btw, didn't tell you in the previous post that the castle used to stand at the corner of the town walls (which aren't there anymore, you can see a rest of them looking like a random wall across the moat close to the drawbridge).


http://www.viajology.com/2012/12/cas...illa-leon-cyl/
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Old January 9th, 2014, 07:18 PM   #97
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Beautiful informative presentation Nolke
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Old January 9th, 2014, 07:35 PM   #98
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good work , indeed !!!
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Old January 9th, 2014, 09:15 PM   #99
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I would like to ask why are the moats of the Spanish castles (as rare as they are) always empty? I know that in many areas water is not plentiful but still, I filling up the moats would cause water shrotages.
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Old January 9th, 2014, 09:52 PM   #100
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as far as I know, the reason is that they were built to be dry (usually, dry moats could be filled with traps, spikes and all that kind of stuff, so they're not less efficient). But anyway, the moats like those you can see in the castles of this page (like the one in Coca) were inspired by European models and only appear in those castle-palaces of the 15th c. or in later forts. "Traditional" Spanish moats were more rudimentary and not that usual, since if you want to build something with a real defensive purpose, in Spain there's always a hill (tactical castles on plains, "mottes", existed but were of minor importance).

Thank you very much, Vitoria Man and 009!

Last edited by Nolke; January 9th, 2014 at 10:39 PM.
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