La Mota Castle
La Mota Castle, locally known as Castillo de La Mota, lies in the town of Medina del Campo, in the province of Valladolid in Spain.
When the first castle at this site was built is unknown. There may already have been a fortification here in Roman times because it is situated on an important Roman road. That is why the town itself was also fortified and walled.
La Mota Castle is based on foundations dating from the 12th century which are probably Moorish. Building works took place throughout the 13th and 14th century.
The castle we see today was built in 1440 on the order of Juan II King of Castile, by the Fonseca family on the remains of the earlier Muslim fortification. It was designed by Alonso Niño and Fernando Carreño. The mighty, 40 meters high keep is of their design. Later on in the 15th century Isabel, one of the Catholic Monarchs, ordered the building of the outer walls which were constructed by two Arab artists, Abdallá and Alí de Lerma.
During the 16th century the castle was used as a State prison and so several important medieval figures were incarcerated here. Amongst them the Duke of Calabria, Hernando Pizarro (the brother of Francisco Pizarro, conqueror of the Inca Empire), the son of King Fadrique of Naples and the famous Cesare Borgia. He was incarcerated here after he had tried to escape from Chinchilla Castle but managed to escape from La Mota Castle in October 1506 with the help of the Count of Benavente.
In the 17th century the castle was already in a ruinous condition and consolidation works were carried out. But after its abandonment it again fell to ruin. At the beginning of the 20th century it was a complete ruin; dismantled, empty interiors and crumbling walls. Under General Franco the castle was restored and used as an education institute for the Female Section of the Falange.
At present the castle is used for cultural activities. Regrettably it was not allowed to enter the interior of this great castle when I visited.