Calatrava la Nueva

Calatrava la Nueva



Location: Aldea de Rey, Ciudad Real province

Constructed: 1217

Tel. 926 69 31 19

Open: Tue- Sun


Description of Calatrava la Nueva

The Sacred Castle-Convent of Calatrava la Nueva is located on the Alacranejo hill, within the municipality of Aldea del Rey, in the province of Ciudad Real (Spain) in front of the Castillo de Salvatierra.


History of Calatrava la Nueva

In what is now the parking lot (end of the access road), remains of the Bronze Age and a Visigoth village have been found. The fortress is located on the summit of a cone-shaped hill at an altitude of 936 m, with dense native vegetation on its slopes and at its base surrounded by large pebbles or terraces that make access difficult. The existing cobblestone road was made for the visit of Philip II to the fort in 1560 and takes us to the base of the castle. Its situation controls one of the natural steps towards Sierra Morena. The initial year of construction of Calatrava la Nueva is not known exactly, although there are references to its use by Nuño de Lara in 1187 as the old Castillo de Dueñas.


In 1191 Rodrigo Gutiérrez Girón and his second wife, Jimena, donated large sums to the Order of Calatrava half of the income and inheritance they had in this old Castle of Dueñas, leaving half of the income expressly in favor of the children of the first marriage of the donor. Three years later, they sold their rights to Calatrava la Nueva for the sum of 1000 maravedis.

In 1201, Alfonso VIII confirmed to the calatravos the full ownership of Calatrava la Nueva. In 1211 the Muslims recovered the nearby Castle of Salvatierra, which would not return to Christian rule until 1226; This reinforced the strategic importance of the hill where the castle of Dueñas was located.

The present fortress is of great dimensions (46,000 square meters), and was built by the calatravian knights in the years 1213 to 1217, after the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, using as labor of the prisoners taken in this battle. Once erected, it became the headquarters of the Order of Calatrava, and one of the most important fortresses of Castile. Its history runs parallel to that of the Order itself.

It was built to replace the city of Calatrava la Vieja, located further north, on the left bank of the Guadiana River, where the military order had been founded in the middle of the century.

Calatrava la Nueva survived until the nineteenth century, when it was abandoned after the religious confiscations undertaken by Minister Mendizábal to clean up the state accounts in 1835.