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New Castle of Manzanares el Real

A fairy-tale castle

The Manzanares el Real castle conjures up childhood tales of enchanted princesses. It’s the best-preserved castle in the Region of Madrid, and the transformation of its rooms into a museum allows visitors to take an interesting tour of the medieval and Renaissance world. Manzanares el Real is also blessed with beautiful surroundings of forests, the Santillana reservoir and a “magical” mountain: La Pedriza. As part of the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park, it’s one of the region’s natural treasures. Here the Manzanares flows freely, bathing the area in its crystal-clear waters before reaching the capital.

The New Castle of Manzanares el Real, also known as Castle of los Mendoza, is a palace-fortress erected in the 15th century in the town of Manzanares el Real (Community of Madrid, Spain), next to the reservoir of Santillana at the foot of Sierra de Guadarrama. Its construction began in 1475 on a Romanesque-Mudéjar hermitage and today is one of the best preserved castles of the Community of Madrid. It was raised on the river Manzanares, as a residential palace of the House of Mendoza, in the vicinity of an ancient fortress, abandoned once built the new building. The castle now houses a museum of the Spanish castles and hosts a collection of tapestries. It was declared a Monumento Histórico-Artístico in 1931. Is owned by the Duchy of the Infantado, but its management and use correspond to the Community of Madrid.

The land bordering the upper reaches of the River Manzanares, rich in pastures and forests were the subject of frequent disputes between different powers that emerged after the Reconquista. The Communities of Villa y Tierra de Segovia and Madrid staged several disputes over the 13th century, which were resolved in the 14th century by the King John I of Castile with the donation of the comarca to his steward, Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza. The eldest son of this, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, Admiral of Castile, is credited with building the first fortress, now known as the Old Castle of Manzanares el Real, although it is likely that this building had an earlier origin . In the last third of the 15th century, the House of Mendoza decided to build a new castle-palace, larger and more luxurious, according to the remarkable economic and political influence achieved by this family. Work began in 1475. Were promoted by Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, 1st Duke of the Infantado, he could not see them completed. It was his eldest son, Íñigo López de Mendoza, who finished under the direction of the architect Juan Guas, author ofPalace of the Infantado, of Guadalajara. The role of palatial residence which was designed only lasted a century. With the death in 1566 by Íñigo López de Mendoza y Pimentel, 4th Duke of the Infantado, the castle ceased to be inhabited, as economic problems and disputes arose between the heirs of the House of Mendoza. The castle was one of the locations used in the movie El Cid (1961). In 1982, the castle housed the act of constitution of the Parliamentary Assembly of Madrid, which took place the presentation editor of the Statute of Autonomy.

The castle, quadrangular, is constructed entirely of granite stone. It has four circular towers. In its vertices are decorated with balls of Isabelline Gothic style. Highlights the main tower of hexagonal form. The building is topped by a terrace with machicolation and turrets. It consists of a rectangular courtyard with porticos and two galleries on octagonal columns. The Gothic gallery on the first floor is considered the most beautiful of Spanish military architecture. On the southern chemin de ronde the gallery is flaming trace on parapets decorated using diamond. The whole castle is surrounded by a barbican, which loopholes are carved in low relief the cross of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, the title he enjoyed Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza. Other defensive elements of the building are its pockets. The castle is arranged on six floors, plus a basement: ground floor, mezzanine first, main floor, mezzanine second, upper gallery and gallery of covers. The entrance door is framed in two buckets, presents an arch.

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