Mendoza Castle (Castillo de los Mendoza) AKA New Castle of Manzanares el Real

Las Médulas


Location: Madrid

Constructed: 1475


Description of Mendoza Castle

The new castle of Manzanares el Real, also known as Castillo de los Mendoza or, simply, as the castle of Manzanares el Real, is a palace-fortress of late medieval origin that is located in the municipality of Manzanares el Real (Madrid, Spain), at the foot of the Guadarrama mountain range and next to the Manzanares river. Built in the fifteenth century around a Romanesque-Mudejar church, which was integrated into the structure, it was conceived as the palatial residence of the House of Mendoza, one of the most influential lineages of Castile during the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It replaced a previous castle, which was located in a nearby enclave, also owned by the aforementioned family.

The architect Juan Guas (1430-1496) participated in its construction, who used Elizabethan Gothic traces, with Hispano-Muslim influences. It is considered the precedent of the Palace of the Infantado (Guadalajara), a key work of Spanish Renaissance architecture, where the aforementioned author defined the palatial prototype of the reign of the Catholic Monarchs. Thanks to successive restorations, it has an excellent state of preservation and currently houses an Interpretation Center on the Middle Ages, as well as a collection of tapestries, paintings, armors and furniture from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. It was declared a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1931. It is owned by the Duchy of the Infantado, although its administration and use corresponds to the General Directorate of Tourism of the Community of Madrid, which allows its visit and the celebration of public and private events.


History of the Castle of Mendoza

The lands that surround the upper course of the Manzanares River, known as El Real de Manzanares since the time of Alfonso X el Sabio (1221-1284), were the subject of frequent disputes between the various powers that emerged after the Reconquista, due to their agricultural wealth and forestry. The Communities of Villa and Tierra de Segovia and Madrid carried out different litigations throughout the thirteenth century, which were resolved in the fourteenth century by King Juan I of Castile (1358-1390) with the donation of the region to the House of Mendoza , through Pedro González de Mendoza (1340-1385), butler of the monarch.

The eldest son of this, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza (1367-1404), Admiral of Castile, is credited with the construction of a first fortress in the area, of which remains are preserved, which are called the old castle of Manzanares el Real. In the last third of the fifteenth century, the Mendozas decided to replace it with another building, larger and more luxurious, in keeping with the remarkable political and economic influence achieved by the family. The new residence was bult by Diego Hurtado de Mendoza and de la Vega (1417-1479), grandson of the admiral and first duke of the Infantado. Thanks to his testament, it is known that the works were already underway in June 1475.


After his death, the works were paralyzed for a while. His first born son, Íñigo López de Mendoza and de la Vega (1438-1500), probably took them back in 1480 and opted to modify the original project, with the incorporation of a new body on the east side, which significantly increased the stationary space. He also hired the services of Juan Guas (1430-1496), architect of the Catholic Monarchs and author of the Palace of the Infantado (Guadalajara) and the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes (Toledo), to homogenize and embellish the complex . With respect to the old fortress, the House of Mendoza decided to dismantle and abandon it, not only to reuse its factory materials, but also to prevent it from falling into the hands of the enemies of the lineage, given its proximity to the new building.

In the times of Íñigo López de Mendoza and Pimentel (1493-1566), fourth Duke of the Infantado, barely a century after being completed, the castle of Manzanares el Real was practically uninhabited, as the activity of the dukedom centered on the city of Guadalajara. The situation of abandonment worsened with his death, because economic problems arose and lawsuits between the heirs of the House of Mendoza.

The Ducal House itself proceeded to a first restoration in 1914. Its architect was the architect Vicente Lampérez y Romea (1861-1923), who applied the method of anastilosis and historicist criteria in the reconstruction of certain structures, such as the porticoed courtyard, which It was completely ruined. In 1964 a new intervention took place, this time paid for by the administration, which, under the direction of José Manuel González Valcárcel, was aimed at the creation of a Castle Museum.

In the year 1965 Íñigo de Arteaga y Falguera (1905-1997), eighteenth Duke of the Infantado, ceded the use of the castle to the Provincial Council of Madrid, which continued with the consolidation and rehabilitation works. These works made possible the opening to the public visit of the monument, from 1977. In 1982 the building hosted the act of constitution of the Assembly of Parliamentarians of Madrid, which was presented the report writing the Statute of Autonomy Madrid.With the entry into force of the aforementioned statute in 1983, the whole was transferred to the Community of Madrid, after assuming the powers and assets of the Provincial Council. The new museum of Castle Mendoza also received a collection of ten flamenco tapestries of the seventeenth century, which is installed inside the fortress.

The Community of Madrid returned to act on the Mendoza castle in 2005, with the purpose of implanting a new project and of tourist attraction. This plan was completed in the following years with the creation of a garden of Renaissance inspiration, inaugurated in 2013.