Castilnovo Castle - Atlas Obscura

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Castilnovo Castle

Condado de Castilnovo, Spain

The history of this Moorish castle includes royals, a Mexican-Spanish association, and several attempts at lodging. 


The original construction of Castilnovo is believed to date to between the 8th and 10th centuries, attributed to either Abd-al Rahmán I or Almanzor—rulers during the period of Muslim occupation in Spain. In the 14th century, the castle was given to Catholic King Henry IV of Castile.

It is said that under the ownership of Spanish royalty, it once housed Joanna the Mad during the 16th century, following the death of her husband Philip the Handsome. Other royal occupants included the sons of Francis I of France (although they were held hostage here) and a prince of the German house of Hozenholler, who actually owned the castle until its sale in 1859.

By the late 20th century the castle was under the ownership of José Garate Murillo and operated as the headquarters for the Castilnovo Mexican-Spanish Association, as well as a museum covering the relations between the two countries. To date, a section of the castle’s grounds dedicated to camping carries the name of Hernán Cortés Cuauhtémoc, as this was the name of a summer camp program with Mexican and Spanish children organized by the association in the 1990s.

In the 21st century, the castle itself was adapted as a hotel in 2012 and then again in 2018. By 2020, however, the building was listed in real estate offerings for 15 million Euros, earning it the title as the “most expensive housing in Castile.”

It is not clear if the castle of Castilnovo has found new owners, but whoever they might be, they will have a property with a varied and unique history in their hands.

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