Guadalerzas Castle, locally known as Castillo de (Las) Guadalerzas, lies on a hill in a rural valley, north west of the town of Urda, in the province of Toledo in Spain.
The first fortification in this valley was built during Arab rule. It controlled a pass through the mountains leading south to Córdoba. In the 12th century the area was conquered by Alfonso VI of León and Castile and the Muslim castle fell into Christian hands. The area then became governed by the Order of Calatrava. As the old Muslim castle was deemed too weak, a new castle was built on a hill more to the east; Guadalerzas Castle. When the new castle was completed in 1178, the old Arab fortification was abandoned. Due to its location close to the frontier, Guadalerzas Castle was used as a hospital by 3 orders; the Calatrava, the Templars and the Knights Hospitaller.
In 1195, after the Battle of Alarcos, the Moors regained control over the area and Guadalerzas Castle. In 1212, following the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, the castle definitely returned into Christian hands. Even though the frontier had moved south it was still used as a hospital. In later centuries it gradually lost its military importance.
Guadalerzas Castle was sold to Cardinal Juan Martínez Silíceo in 1572 by Philip II of Spain. The Cardinal converted it into a college for girls of noble descent.
After the ecclesiastical confiscations of Mendizábal in the 1830's the castle was sold to a private individual who turned it into a residence and a labor house. Later that century it was abandoned.
At present Guadalerzas Castle is private property. Its interior is closed off, which is too bad. It takes a good 20-minute walk over private land from the nearest road and the surrounding countryside is idyllic. A beautiful castle.