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I Wonder Why...?

I will be writing about aspects of Spanish history and their traditions. I am a very curious person and have always needed to know "why" they do it, and "how" it came about. So over the years while living in Spain I have made a conscious effort to discover "el porque de las cosas" and I will be sharing them with you. I hope you find it as fascinating as I do.

The longest Muslim castle in Europe - at risk of abandonment
Friday, July 29, 2022 @ 1:04 AM


Throughout history, the Iberian Peninsula has been home to many peoples and civilizations, such as the Roman, Visigothic or Phoenician, among others. Many of them have left a very important historical and cultural legacy, however, the Muslim one is, without a doubt, the one that has had the most influence at all levels: cultural, historical, gastronomic, etc.

An example of this is the numerous buildings and fortresses that run through the peninsula, such as the Alcazaba de Almería, Castillo de Vélez-Málaga, and of course, the Alhambra.  Many of them are in a good state of conservation, however, over the years and lack of care, others are at risk of abandonment. This is the case of the Caliphate castle of Gormaz, in Soria, which happens to be the longest in Europe.

This fortress stands imposingly on a hill from which it dominates the Duero valley. Made almost entirely of carved ashlars, it has two differentiated areas separated by a moat, today covered: the fortress and the walled enclosure.



In the fortress, the 10th-century Almanzor tower, the weapons room and the Torre del Homenaje stand out, with caliphal rigging and reused caliphal embedded beams, which act as the entrance door to the fortress, with a total of seven towers. The walled enclosure consists of about 1,200 meters in perimeter, 446 meters long and 60 meters wide, thus being the largest construction in all of Europe from the 9th and 10th centuries.

This impressive castle was built during the Caliphate of Córdoba in the 9th century and later enlarged to adapt to the orography. It had its heyday during the time of Gálib and Almanzor, and suffered numerous sieges due to its strategic and military location, although it also served the Cordovan caliphate to dominate the entire Duero valley. It conserves an impressive caliphal double door with a typical horseshoe arch, located to the south and, although it is not the only entrance, it must have been the most common.


The Gormaz fortress is in a poor state of conservation, which has made it enter the Red List of Heritage for its "uneven state of conservation". This inequality is mainly due to its enormous dimensions and is also the result of the different unequal interventions carried out. 

The best way to go to this castle is by private vehicle. From Soria, the distance to the fortress is approximately 66 kilometres, with a journey time of about 55 minutes along the SO-100 road.

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