New Castle of the Mendoza family

  • Suitable for children
  • Historical heritage

The fortress-palace of the County of the Real de Manzanares

A place of power, luxury and intrigue. The defence and control bastion of our region, and one of the most watched film sets in the world of cinema.

Diego Hurtado de Mendoza y Figueroa, First Duke of the Infantado, ordered the construction of the New Castle of the Mendoza family on a hill overlooking the Guadarrama Mountain Range. Construction works started in 1475, although the Great Cardinal and Íñigo López de Mendoza, Second Duke of the Infantado, were the ones who completed the building.

Much has happened to this fortress, like the works of the architect Juan Guas to transform it into a palatial residence, its use as a film set or the approval of the Statute of Autonomy of the Community of Madrid in 1983.

These were times of great splendour for the Mendoza family who enjoyed the trust of the Reyes Católicos; that is why this castle was raised, with no doubt, as a sign of their power.

Dramatised visit

Explore the history of this castle through time with a theatrical performance.

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Dramatised visit

Family workshops

Two workshops for the whole family to enjoy the architecture and the environment.

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Family workshops

One of the best kept fortresses in Spain

In a privileged environment between the Santillana Reservoir and La Pedriza

The New Castle of the Mendoza family was raised on a hill overlooking the mountains. The Real de Manzanares, land incorporated into the crown by King Alfonso X in 1268, was used for centuries by kings and nobles to pay back favours. The de la Cerda family or Doña Leonor de Guzmán (mistress to Alfonso XI) were some of its lords until 1380, when it was given in property to Pedro González de Mendoza as payment for saving the life of King Juan I of Castilla in the battle of Aljubarrota (Portugal). Since then, the lineage of the Mendoza family would be linked to these lands in the Guadarrama Mountain Range.

Constituted as the County of El Real de Manzanares in the person of Don Íñigo López de Mendoza, First Marquis of Santillana, the old castle houses the drafting of his famous serranillas. It was his son, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza y Figueroa, First Duke of the Infantado, who ordered the construction of the new fortress in 1475, and after him his son continued with the work on the castle until it was abandoned around 1530, when the family court moved to Guadalajara. This beautiful castle only had a few years of life.

Those were times of great splendour for the family, since Don Diego and his brother, Pedro González de Mendoza, the Great Cardinal, enjoyed the trust of the Reyes Católicos. This castle was raised, without a doubt, as a sign of their power.

After the death of the First Duke in 1479, his son decided to expand the building and to transform the castle project into a palatial residence, with the help of the architect Juan Guas. Thus, the former parish of Santa María de la Nava was incorporated as a private chapel and the large windows of Gothic arches, the beautiful gallery in the South façade, the aesthetics of the towers with balls and the combinations of colours of the stone were elements that conveyed the power of the Mendoza lineage, whose coat of arms stands out on it walls.

Castillo Nuevo de los Mendoza - acordeón 1

Square in plan, the castle is crowned with three circular crenellated towers and an octagonal keep, all decorated with the traditional Isabelline balls. This castle never had a moat, but it has a wall or barbican with shooting chambers with cross-shaped arrow slits in the shape of the Cross of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a title held by the Great Cardinal Mendoza. In the interior of the castle, we also find a mixture of the medieval and Renaissance styles. In the inner ward, two overlapping galleries in the Isabelline Gothic style distribute the rooms and chambers where the court life took place. On the southern rampart walk, the flamboyant-style beautiful gallery built by Juan Guas is considered to be one of the most beautiful in our national geography.

The expansion of the eastern section, the only one not restored, because it had remained unfinished, is the one that contains the old church of Santa María de la Nava, and it was designed as a large Keep tower with two floors of halls and topped up by an artillery platform. It was never finished.

Among the numerous pieces of art housed in the castle, the collection of 17th century Flemish tapestries belonging to the series of the Life of Julius Caesar and the Life of Man stands out, some of which were made following the cartoons from Rubens’s Workshop.

Castillo Nuevo de los Mendoza - acordeón 2

After centuries of neglect, the buildings have undergone two major restorations: the first one in 1914, carried out by Vicente Lampérez on behalf of the Duke of the Infantado, and the second one in 1964, by the architect Manuel González Valcárcel funded by the Provincial Council of Madrid.

Currently, this castle is still owned by the Dukes of the Infantado, although the Community of Madrid manages its use.

The New Castle is the cradle of the Community of Madrid’s Autonomy, as it hosted in its halls the act of constitution of the Assembly of Parliamentarians of Madrid and it was the place where the Statute of Autonomy was approved in 1983.

Castillo Nuevo de los Mendoza - acordeón 3

In pictures

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