Caliphal castle or fortress of Gormaz

The caliphal fortress of Gormaz, province of Soria / ALC.

Road to castle N/A. Gormaz


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The castle of Gormaz is an impressive Caliphal Islamic fortress built in the 9th century and greatly reinforced and enlarged in the time of Al-Haquem II, at the end of the 10th century. It was an outpost in the middle of nowhere to strengthen the Andalusian military presence in this area in order to stop the repopulating advances of the Christian kingdoms. Together with Medinaceli and Atienza, it was an important military enclave in the defence of the Middle Frontier. It was never taken by force. In 1059, it came into the hands of King Ferdinand I, through a series of agreements with the weakened Taifa kings.

Gormaz seems to have played a major role in the life of El Cid. In the spring 1081 Alfonso VI entered the lands of the Islamic Taifa of Toledo to restore his deposed king, the Arab Al-Qadir. El Cid didn't go with him, but stayed in Castile because he was ill. At that time, he heard of a bloody Islamic attack on the Christian population settled on the slopes of Gormaz castle, which  was under Christian rule since 1059. El Cid organised a fierce retaliatory attack on the neighboring lands, in what is now province of Guadalajara, and at that time belonged to the Islamic Taifa of Toledo, which was under the 'protection' of Alfonso VI. According to some historians, this attack without the permission of the king was the cause of his banishment.

Some years later, after suffering his first exile, el Cid gained Alfonso VI's pardon and returned to Castile at the beginning of 1087, after five years in the service of the Muslim kings of the taifa of Zaragoza. As a sign of conciliation, granted him several properties and tenures, which supposedly included Berlanga and Langa de Duero, and also Gormaz, with all their inhabitants and districts.

Gormaz does not play a major role in the Cantar de Mío Cid. After hearing about the outrage suffered by his daughters in the Corpes oak wood, and that they were now resting in San Esteban, El Cid sent a detachment of 200 men commanded by Álfar Fáñez, Pedro Bermúdez and Martín Antolínez, who stayed in Gormaz overnight, in a castle that according to the poem was very strong.

Gormaz Castle is surrounded by walls a kilometre long, reinforced by 28 towers. Its most important parts are the citadel, the keep, said to be of ‘Almanzor’, the water tank (thanks to which the Muslim defenders resisted more than one siege) and its caliphal gate.

Although the views from below are quite impressive depending on the time of day, the views from the top, with the River Douro winding between the fields, are simply magnificent in any season of the year, especially at dusk when the light brings out the shapes and colours in the landscape. The banks of the Douro, with their riverine vegetation of poplar, willow and ash trees, are protected.

Gormaz is one of the hearts of the Way of El Cid: go up to the castle and enter inside its walls. It is well worth it to sit down, admire the view and breathe in History with capital letters. letters.

 Entry free. There is a tarasphalted access road at the end of the village and a small place to leave the cars.

Rev. ALC: 19.05.2023

  • Caliphal castle of Gormaz, province of Soria. ALC
  • View of the islamic castle of Gormaz from Aguilera, province of Soria / ALC.
  • Puerta califal del castillo de Gormaz, Soria / ALC.
  • The caliphal fortress of Gormaz, province of Soria / ALC.
  • The Duero river near Gormaz fortress, province of Soria / ALC.
  • The Moslem Calif-style fortress of Gormaz was built in the X century to defend the lands of the Duero from Christian attacks during the Reconquest. Gormaz, province of Soria / ALC.