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Monday, February 2, 2015

Templar Castle in Ponferrada, Spain

Spain has no shortage of castles. In fact, there are about 2500 castles in Spain. Many of them are in various states of decay because there are so many, that the Spanish government does not have the resources to restore them. 

One such castle that has been preserved is the Templar Castle, or Castillo de los Templars, in the medieval city of Ponferrada, in Castile-Leon, Spain. 

Templar Castle is massive, covering over 170 acres (16,000 square meters). 

It was originally built as a hill fort, but later became a Roman citadel. 

In 1178, King Ferdinand II of León donated the city to the Templars to protect the pilgrims on their journey along the Camino de Santiago as they made their way to Santiago de Compostela. They reinforced the structure and made it inhabitable as a refuge. 

The property was then confiscated after the Templar order was disbanded in 1311. Queen Isabella I of Castille and King Ferdinand II of Aragon reclaimed the property for the Spanish throne. 

To access the entrance, you must cross a moat and a drawbridge. 

There is much to explore in the museum... 

And on the grounds...

I think it would be a fabulous locale for a game of Hide and Seek

The views are impressive. 

You can imagine people watching for invaders coming over the hills. 

A model shows how it might have looked. 

But you can imagine soldiers hiding out...

just waiting to blast invaders back over those same hills...

Templar Castle, or Castillo de los Templars, beckons the adventurous spirit in all who visit. If those stones could speak, what a story they would tell. 

Have you explored any castles? Which ones should travelers add to their must-see list?


  1. I didn't know there were so many castles! This one is beautiful though! So much history!

  2. Such beautiful pics and a beautiful city! i just live my travel desires vicariously through you!

  3. Oh wow what a fantasy that would be for me to visit there. I adore the history and the castles. It's on my wishlist for sure. What great pics!

  4. Spain has so much to see and do, Carolann. It should be on your travel list, for sure.

  5. Spain would be a great destination for any traveler. I hope you get to see it in person someday.

  6. And the thing is, Rebecca, they just pop up. There are ones in the expected places, but then there are smaller ones in cities that grew around them. Fascinating!

  7. Thanks, Mandee. Someday, you may see it firsthand. I hope you do. :-)

  8. Not long ago I was musing about things to so in Spain and I thought "I should visit all the castles in Spain." I think 2500 may be a few too many...

    The castle in Olite is really beautiful and well taken care of. Navarra is thick with castles! Have you visited any?
    Unfortunately, I have seen some of those decaying castles, it's a really sad sight. Some are privately owned as well, and aren't by any means taken care of, which is hugely disappointing.

  9. The northwest is rarely on anyone's itinerary...perhaps Spain's best kept secret. You will have a wonderful experience. Galicia, Asturias and the Basque country are well worth the visit.

  10. Hi Ashley. We have not been to Navarra yet. I will add it to our must see list...maybe for this summer. We have explored Bilbao, Cangas de Onis, Oviedo, Gijon and most of Galicia, but there's still so much of the northern coast to see. Thanks for the heads up about Olite.

  11. I love castles and that's so cool that you have to go over a drawbridge and moat to get there. I'd love to visit that place!

  12. It was a lot of fun, Yvonne. It was like being a kid in a giant playhouse.

  13. I was in Ponferrada about a year ago and loved the Castillo de los Templarios!! It just seemed so very stereotypically castle-y what with all the battlements and turrets and vast patios. I loved crawling around the walls and exploring all of the ivy-covered passageways. Did you get to try any of Ponferrada’s great free tapa action? (Although they call them “pinchos” there for some reason haha)