’Gormaz Castle seen from the east.’
The castle of Gormaz (Soria province) was built in the 9th century and reinforced in 965 by Caliph Al-Hakam II of Córdoba to defend Moorish territory. Built on a steep narrow ridge, just north of the Duero, it was the most important fortress along this river that formed the boundary between Moslem and Christian lands in the 9th - 11th century. It was conquered and reconquered several times by both sides. In 1087 King Alfonso VI of Castile gave it to El Cid. The fortress, which is one of the biggest in Europe, has the layout of a typical Moorish alcazaba: an extensive walled precinct with a perimeter of 1 km that could house a large garrison. At the eastern extremity of the alcazaba we see the higher buildings of the alcazar: the fortified palace that housed the administrative centre of the castle. Photo Mick Palarczyk.