Consuegra Castle, locally known as Castillo de Consuegra, lies in the village by the same name in the province of Toledo in Spain.
There already was a great castle at this site during Moorish rule, which played an important role in the civil wars between the califates of Toledo and Cordoba. Somewhere between 1085 and 1090 the castle came into the hands of the Christian king Alfonso VI. Whether he gained it as result of a siege or as part of a dowry isn't known. Later on it was taken back by the Moors only to be conquered again by Alfonso VII in 1147.
In 1183 the castle was ceded to the military order of Knights Hospitaller, by King Alfonso VIII. He considered the castle to be of great importance which is why he granted Consuegra Castle the revenue of a tax on the nearby city of Toledo, for ten years, in order to maintain and improve its defenses. The Moorish castle was so much altered by the Hospital Knights that almost nothing is left of its Moorish origin. The Knights made alterations which improved its military, as well as its residential character. This is why the castle has become a peculiar strength, quite different from other castles in the surrounding area. It served as a headquarters for this military order.
The castle consists of three large, irregular shaped enclosures protected by strong walls and several (semi-)circular towers. The inside is a maze of gates, walkways, stairs and rooms. All built to make entry as difficult as possible for any attackers. Some of the towers have names like the Shieldtower and the Belltower. There are several raintanks in the enclosures of which some were used as prisons in the 16th/17th century. There also was a chapel.
The castle fell to ruin in the 18th/19th century. It is now partially restored and can be visited. This is one of the few castles which wasn't freely accessible when I visited Spain; you have to pay a small entrance fee. But the cost is certainly worth it.
This is a great castle. It is situated on a ridge and can be reached over a dead-end road. But there are spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. The image of this castle is well known as it serves as a beautiful background for the white mills which show up in a lot of travel publications.