Ponferrada Castle

Ponferrada Castle


Location: Leon

Info: Carrasco 4

Tel. 987 42 42 36



Description of Ponferrada Castle

The castle of Ponferrada, is located in the Spanish city of Ponferrada, in the region of El Bierzo, province of León, autonomous community of Castilla y León. It stands on a hill at the confluence of the Boeza and Sil rivers.


History of Ponferrada Castle

The Templar Castle is located in what was probably a Celtic castro (castle), in a position similar to that of others in El Bierzo. Later it is believed that it was a Roman and Visigothic site. In 1178 Fernando II of Leon allowed the knights Templars in the present Ponferrada. In 1180 the king issued a charter for the repopulation of the town that had emerged a century earlier, documenting the first fortification 1187. In 1196, before the attack of Alfonso VIII of Castile and due to the secret support that this kingdom receives from the Knights Templars, Alfonso IX de León removed Ponferrada from the Templars. After several disputes, in 1211 Alfonso IX, made peace with the Order and donated the town of Ponferrada in exchange for giving up some castles elsewhere. During the reign of Ferdinand IV there was a trial in France against the Templars, which caused the dissolution of the Order. To avoid the subsequent confiscation of Ponferrada, the Castilian maester of the Temple, Rodrigo Yánez, handed over the villa to the Infante Don Felipe, brother of the king.

In 1340, Alfonso XI donated Ponferrada to Pedro Fernández de Castro, his major butler, who probably began the construction of the so-called old castle of Ponferrada. Ponferrada and its castle continued in the power of the Galician branch of the Castro until 1374. From that year it remained in the power of various and successive members of the royal family. In 1440, Ponferrada passed to Pedro Álvarez Osorio, first Count of Lemos, who had been claiming it for a long time. It was this important Galician character of the fifteenth century who made the great works that make up the current Ponferrada fortress, which includes: a castle, the so-called Old Castle, a walled enclosure with its barriers and a Renaissance palace.

After various disputes and lawsuits between the heirs of Pedro Álvarez Osorio, Juana Osorio - the daughter of his second marriage to María de Bazán - and Rodrigo Enríquez Osorio, second count of Lemos - his bastard grandson -, the Catholic Monarchs awarded Ponferrada to Juana Osorio. Rodrigo Osorio did not comply with the resolution and after closing the fortress he seized it in 1485, thus initiating a rebellion against the kings. The Crown reacted by forming an important army made up of 600 lances and from five to six thousand foot soldiers- under the direction of the Admiral of Castile laid a harsh siege with artillery to the walls of Ponferrada Castle. It was taken in the summer of 1486. ​

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the castle was ruled by a corregidor in the name of the Crown.

From 1850 a period of strong decline began for the castle: the City Council sold its walls for stone. Its stones were used to build a public square and a market attached to the walls, leased the interior as a pasture area, and even allows it to be leveled for locate a soccer field. Finally, in 1924, it was granted the rank of a National Monument, which slowed the deterioration.