Peñafiel Castle is situated in the village of the same name in the Valladolid province in Spain.
An older fortress once stood here as it was an important point on the line of defence of the river Duero, for both Christians and Moors, during the 9th and 10th centuries. According to legend, when this fortress was finally conquered by Count Sancho Garcia, he planted his lance at the top of the hill and exclaimed "Ésta será la Peña Fiel de Castilla!" which translates to "This will be Castile's Faithful Rock!", and so it received its present name.
Peñafiel Castle is an impressive sight. It's perched on a cliff that rises sharply to dominate the vast plain of the river Duero. The long crest of the hill on which it is built determined the castle's layout; it has the form of a very narrow walled precinct, almost 600 feet long, with a 90 feet high and massive keep almost in the middle. It's architectural style has been named 'gran buque' meaning 'great ship'.
Peñafiel Castle stands within an outer curtain wall, without towers, that encircles the hillside. On the crest of the hill runs a long inner wall, which is set with many circular towers. A tower stands at each extremity of the wall, one pointed and the other wider, like the bow and stern of a ship, hence the expression 'gran buque'. The walls and towers were built in the 13th and 14th centuries. The 15th century keep is crowned by 8 turrets.
Largely responsible for building the castle we see today was Don Juan Manuel. He was one of the richest lords in Castile and played an very active part in the politics of the kingdom. He was married to the granddaughter of King Ferdinand III. He also occupies an important place in Spanish literature as one of its most important writers from the Middle Ages. He was the prototype of the medieval knight; not only involved in wars but also cultivated.
Peñafiel Castle can only be visited with a guided tour, unfortunately only in Spanish. A museum about the local wines is built inside its southern part.