Torija Castle lies in a village of the same name in the province of Guadalajara in Spain. It can easily be seen from the N-II highway from Madrid to Barcelona.
The name Torija comes from the Latin word 'turricula'; meaning small tower. From Roman times on there was a fortification at this site to guard the road that, for centuries, has been the fundamental communication route between Aragon and Castile. Legend has it that, after the Reconquest of the area in 1085 by King Alfonso VI, this fortification was granted to the Knights Templar who strengthened it and founded a convent in it.
In the 13th century however, Castilian King Alfonso XI gave the castle to a knight; Don Alfonso Fernandez Coronel. In the 14th century there was a civil war between King Pedro I the Cruel and the pretender Enrique de Trastamara which was won by the latter. King Enrique gave the castle as a reward to a member of the already powerful Mendoza family who had supported him. During the reign of King Juan I the castle was returned to the Coronel family for a short time because already in the 15th century the castle was donated to the De Guzmán family. In 1445 Castle Torija was seized by the revolting cousins of Castilian King Juan II. When it was subsequentially attacked it was defended by the captain of their army; Juan de Puelles, servant of the king of Navarre. After a couple of sieges in the following years, the Navarrese surrendered honorably, in 1452. The castle again became property of the Mendoza family.
Even in 1810 during the War of Independence against the French, the castle suffered a lot of damage when it was dynamited by a Castilian guerilla to avoid it being used by the enemy. This left the castle ruined and it became a quarry for the locals. Until the 1960's when it was restored.
The castle has a peculiar groundplan with a large keep only connected to the rest of the castle through a little staircase. The keep nowadays houses a museum about the Alcarria region.
It's a pity that when I visited Torija, the siesta had just begun so the castle was closed. As I didn't have time to wait for it to reopen after the siesta had ended, I didn't see the museum or the castle's interior. But it has a very nice exterior I must say.