It is located at the top of a hill, on the banks of the Duero River, in the southern region of the province of Soria. Built in the 10th century on the ruins of a possible castro, it was part of the system of fortifications that the Muslims carried out in this century with the aim of dominating the border of the Duero. The castle of Gormaz was passed from Arab to Christian hands and vice versa over and over again, so it was gradually restored and extended.
It was rebuilt by General Galib between 956 and 966; from 978 it was Christian until 983 when it passed into the hands of Almanzor, remaining in Muslim hands until its definitive conquest in 1060 by Fernando I de León. Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, el Cid, was Lord of Gormaz and Mayor of the fortress in 1087. The castle of Gormaz, which continued to be used under Christian rule, is the finest example of Soria's military architecture. During the reign of the Catholic Monarchs it lost its military function and became a prison. It was declared a monument in 1931.
The castle of Gormaz, the colossus of Castilla, is the longest in Europe. Its remains stand alone but proudly adapting and extending over the land where it is situated. Built of ashlar and with a walled perimeter of more than one kilometre, it has the characteristics of Umayyad military architecture. Accessing the interior of the enclosure through the caliphal door, walk around its walls discovering the two sectors that make up the castle, the fortress or noble area where the military governor and the notable members of the army resided, and where the Mudejar-style homage tower, rebuilt in the 15th century, is still preserved. It is connected, by a kind of gallery that runs along the wall, with the remains of the Almanzor tower.
In this area you can also see a cistern, of vital importance for the castle especially in times of siege. Some remains of walls next to the Almanzor tower could well be those of a palatial room and the ruins of a large rectangular room speak of a hall of arms. The other area of the castle was destined to house the armies, here you can see a pool, water collection pond and destined for the service of the cavalries, forges and orchards. From this great caliphal castle, according to some, even in its time in style and grandeur to the Cordovan mosque, one can see in all its magnificence the immense plains of the Castilian lands crossed and watered by the Duero River.
The castle of Gormaz, the spearhead of the Islamic kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula, whose walls had twenty-eight towers and its enclosure was capable of housing entire armies, had been under Christian rule since 1060. In the year 1081 the Christian population settled on the slopes of the fortress of Gormaz, suffered a harsh Muslim attack, Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar learned of it, and being in Castilla, organized a very hard attack in retaliation on the neighboring lands that belonged to the Islamic taifa of Toledo. These Islamic lands had agreed to peace and protection with Alfonso VI who, on learning of what had happened, banished El Cid from Castile. In this his first exile the Campeador was at the service of the Muslim kings of the taifa of Zaragoza. Years later, in 1087, the Castilian king forgave him and granted him several lordships, among them that of Gormaz.
The name of Gormaz, according to scholars, comes from Vormatio-Bormatiu, derived from the god Borbo-Bormanus, in Celtic mythology divinity of the sources and springs. The word gush would have the same origin. Near the fortress is the site of Fuentes Grandes, the Gormaz aquifer being the most important in the province.
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In the tower of the western spur you can contemplate three symbolic steles that have their mysticism and legend since it is said that they are placed there to protect the fortress and to drive away the evil spirits of the night.
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Gormaz can be reached on one side from El Burgo de Osma along the SO-160 regional road and on the other from Retortillo de Soria.
From Gormaz, at the end of the village, there is a paved road that leads to the Castle of Gormaz where there is a car park.
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