Castillo Ortega-Douglas – Aguascalientes, Mexico - Atlas Obscura

Castillo Ortega-Douglas

In Mexico, an abandoned Scottish-looking castle stands as a tribute to love. 


When John Douglas migrated from Scotland to Mexico in the mid 19th century, little did he know that his name and origin would eventually inspire the building of a Taj Mahal-esque love tribute in the form of a castle.

With investments in a flour factory and the city’s tram system, Douglas became a mogul in the city of Aguascalientes, amassing a fortune that would eventually reach Edmundo Ortega Douglas, his grandson. When Ortega became engaged to Carmen Llaguno Cansino in 1923, he drew inspiration from his ancestor and decided to channel his devotion to her in the form of a Scottish castle that would be their newlywed home.

Federico E. Mariscal was the architect of this palatial abode, while future Hidrocálido architecture prodigy Refugio Reyes (best-known for the Templo de San Antonio) acted as foreman of the construction. While smaller than most of its European brethren, this castle spared no expense, as it included a moat, drawbridge, stained glass windows, and even a small loch of its own populated by swans.

Following its completion, the castle was the main residence of the Ortega Llaguno family until the deaths of Carmen in 1967 and Edmundo in 1969. Following nearly three decades of neglect, the Douglas descendants leased it as a restaurant-bar in 1997. The endeavor was short-lived, however, and after a second period of abandonment, the castle was sold in 2015. Construction workers and scaffolding have appeared around the building in stops and starts since, although as of October 2019, plans for its future have not yet been revealed. 

Know Before You Go

The castle is not currently open to the public, but part of it can be seen over the wall that surrounds the property, as well as through the gates.

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