Zafra Castle lies in the northeastern corner of the province of Guadalajara in Spain. It is situated in the Caldereros mountain range and the nearest, little, village is Campillo de Dueñas which is still some 5 kilometers away.
The site of Zafra Castle seems to have been used throughout history as excavations have uncovered remains from the Bronze and Iron age, the Celtiberians, Romans and the Visigoths. The first Zafra Castle at this site however was built by the Moors. The entire region including this Moorish castle was conquered around 1129 by the Christian kingdoms of the north of Spain.
The castle we see today was constructed around the beginning of the 13th century. From then on it stayed to be an important, strategic stronghold for controlling the Senorio of Molina in the following centuries.
In 1222 Zafra Castle was besieged by an army of the Castilian King Fernando III, because its Lord, Gonzalo Perez de Lara, had collaborated in attempts to raise a rebellion against the King of Castile. The castle however couldn't be taken by force but it surrendered when a treaty was signed which disinherited Gonzalo's male descendants and forced his daughter to marry King Fernando III's brother.
During the civil wars in the 15th century the castle was also sieged several times. And even in the 16th century Zafra Castle was considered to be one of the strongest in the entire region. It was said to be able to lodge more than 500 men inside its walls. Nowadays this seems improbable but there may exist unknown rooms inside the rocks. From then on its importance diminished and its now privately owned. Its present owner restored the castle.
Zafra Castle is build on a large, eroded flagstone rock formation that runs from East to West surrounded by steep slopes leading to prairies inhabited by flocks of sheep.
The castle's entrance probably was at the tower at the western end of the rock formation and a keep at the eastern end. There are some vestiges of buildings at the foot of the western end of the rock formation. There you can also find a staircase cut out of the rock and leading into a dark tunnel. When we visited we didn't have a flashlight so we didn't enter it. The castle itself is also closed for visitors but can be viewed from the outside freely.
Getting to the castle is something else. There are only dirt roads leading to the castle and those are in bad condition. So, especially during wet weather, a 4-wheel drive vehicle is advised. Visiting the castle on foot from the nearest village will take a whole day.