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Manzanares Castle: Half Fortress, Half Dream Palace
En Español >

If we were to check any Medieval Castles listing in Spain, Manzanares el Real castle is one of the most historically valued ones. In fact it is the best conserved in the Madrid Region and it has become a real emblem for the Region and a proof that Madrid Region is much more than the city of Madrid.

The castle was built over an ancient Romanic-Mudejar one at the end of the 15th century. For building it some Old Castle pieces were used. The History of this old castle, parent of the current one, tells us that in 1383 King Juan I donated to Pedro González de Mendoza the lands that were the domain of El Real de Manzanares. Historical sources account that precisely his son Diego Hurtado de Mendoza ordered to build the Old Castle. Since then and until 1470 this would be the Mendoza’s residence. Nowadays the only remains existing are the ruins of its structure.
The currently conserved as Castillo de los Mendoza in Manzanares dates from the 15th century. The first to dream with it was Íñigo López de Mendoza, first Santillana Marquis, but its real building promoter was his son Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, first Infantado Duke. He built the main building and the four towers and finally his son Íñigo López de Mendoza finalized the fortress works.

On its first era, the Castillo de Manzanares was designed as a military precinct but it soon became the Mendoza household private residence. Its privileged location between the Santillana Dam and the rocky peaks of La Pedriza makes it a place with incalculable value.

The building, half castle and half palace, dates from the late Gothic age and differs from the other castles precisely in what was just said, as it has not been used as a military fortress regardless of its first idea, has a general aspect of fortress but with artistic frills in each one of its corners. Regarding to the characteristics of the building, it has a four-angled plant and has a central patio with arcades and two galleries over columns with eight sides, with towers in the angles, three cylindrical cubes and a squared big tower, known as Torre del Homenaje or Homage Tower.

From the original castle currently the outer part and some of the structural inner elements still remain. The rest was rebuilt but the Comunidad de Madrid (Madrid Region Government) in the 1970s. This is the reason why the inside of the castle counts with modern equipment as it two salons are used for diverse cultural uses. There are very few original objects from the Mendoza family as with their fall the castle history ended as a residence, and being abandoned, the fortress was deteriorated.

Together with its spectacular beauty and its meaning as National Historical Monument, the Manzanares el Real Castle will be remembered as the place where the Autonomy Statute of the Comunidad de Madrid was signed.
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