You may have read my previous posts on the Coca and Penafiel castles.  In these blogs I provided a detailed description of these mayor sites I visited. However, in my one day trip, driving a total of 492 Km (300 M), along a loop I made north of Madrid during the longest day of the year (June 21). I visited a number of additional medieval castles. This blog provides a brief synopsis of these towns and pictures of such lovely sites.

Following in part “La Ruta del Cid”, along the high plains north of Madrid there are a number of small sleepy towns, each featuring interesting medieval sites, historical paths traveled by brave men in their quest, in route to the Holy land. These are the additional towns I visited in order or appearance. You may have taken note of the “one day” remark. This is indeed true, I was amazed of the distance traveled, not to mentioned the number of castles visited, but you may remember my motto “rapid can be memorable”. When you love medieval times, have read ahead and virtually traveled these, visiting these sites in Google Earth, this is indeed possible. Bottom line, if you know what you are looking for, proper planing and careful execution will take you there!

The first stop north of Madrid (142Km) was Coca, site feature in a previous post. Leaving Coca on a very bright sunny day, with my car windows down, I can still feel the sense of freedom, enjoying the quite and small roads. Admiring the golden fields of what appeared wheat, contrasting with the green short conifers, adorned by one deep blue sky in the background. Not a cloud in sight. Oh, the memories of small Spanish towns. After traveling north another 20 Km is the town of Iscar.

Iscar landscape

Iscar landscape

Iscar Castle sits atop of a elevated hill, overlooking the village by the same name.  A nice and small castle ruin. Built in a pentagonal plan in the 15th century by Don Pedro Zuñiga de Avellaneda.  The main structure is protected on one side by three well built towers, very close in proximity to one another. These towers protect the once standing wood draw bridge and stone steps to access the tower.

As I have read with other castles in this area, the current structure is built where a Moorish castle once stood. An Arab chronicle of the year 939 mentions this older Moorish structure during a raid into Christian territory. At one point, later in the 11th century this castle was owned by a noble man, which was a lieutenant for “El Cid”. Thus my reference to “La Ruta del Cid” as a central theme in this blog.

Iscar Castle

Iscar Castle main tower and defending towers

As I left Iscar in route to Cuellar, I stopped at Cogeses de Iscar. I found a sign along the road indicating the “Ruta del Cid”, so I followed this small road, that lead me to Cogeses. In this town I found this old church, from the distance I could see its tall bell tower. A couple of features that caused me to pause and admire this old and beautiful structure were, the stone cross in the court yard, the old wooden door and its stone arches, both well weathered by time and the tower attached to the bell tower. I did not take the time to enter this building, but it appear as you will note in the picture the adjacent tower to be an access staircase into the perhaps different level inside the main tower. I can also picture the “Holy warriors”, the crusaders, heading to the Holy land, going along this route and pause to say a prayer by the cross carved in stone.

Cogeses de Iscar old church

Cogeses de Iscar old church

A more detail view of the features that caught my attention are presented in the following picture, the stone carved cross and main wooden door and arches.

Iscar medieval church and cross

Iscar medieval church and cross

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