Cuéllar Castle, Castile and Leon, Spain

Cuéllar Castle or The Castle of the Dukes of Alburquerque is the most emblematic monument in the town of Cuéllar, located in the province of Segovia, autonomous community of Castile and León, in Spain. It was declared Bien de Interés Cultural (Property of Cultural Interest) on 3 June 1931.

It is conserved in good conditions and it has been built by different architectural styles from 13th century to 18th century, but mainly in Gothic and Renaissance styles. It is a military building that from 16th century was extended and transformed, turning it into a sumptuous palace property of the Duke of Alburquerque. On its different building stages, masters as Juan Guas, Hanequin of Brussels and her son Hanequin de Cuéllar, Juan and Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón, as well as Juan Gil de Hontañón “el mozo” or Juan de Álava among others, worked on it. Among its historical owners, stands out Álvaro de Luna and Beltrán de la Cueva, as well as the successive Dukes of Alburquerque. Distinguished guests on it were some Castilian monarchs, as Juan Iand his wife the Queen Leonor de Aragón y de Sicilia, that died on it, or María de Molina, that took refuge on this castle when her Kingdom was rejecting her. Also stands out figures as the painterFrancisco Javier Parcerisa, or the writer José de Espronceda, the generals Joseph Léopold Sigisbert Hugo and Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, who set his garrison barracks in this castle during the Spanish War of Independence. The Dukes of Alburquerque lived in this castle for centuries until they moved to Madrid to be close to the court. Thereafter their use of the castle was as leisure and holidays palace, abandoning the building slowly. At the late 19th century the castle was almost completely abandoned, and was victim of robberies. In 1938 was a political prison was settled within the castle, and after was established also a sanatorium for prisoners affected by tuberculosis. It was used as prison till 1966. In 1972, the Department of Fine Arts carried out an intensive restoration, and made it the home of a Vocational Education school, which continues to this day.

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