Palace of the Orellana family

The castle, which later became a palace, is the most interesting monument in the town. Always shrouded in enigmas, unsolved mysteries and a complex archaeology given the major renovations, abandonment and plundering it has suffered throughout history.

Of its beginnings we know little, the fact is that from the first known documents of the town the castle is already mentioned, in 1340 it is referred to as “my strong house”. It is not specified if there were remains before, but almost all agree on the existence of a fortress, probably in ruins, before the Altamirano de Trujillo family took possession of the town of Orellana.

Ronda del Palacio
Para visita interior, contacta con el Ayuntamiento

There remains a piece of a wall and two towers: one square and the other round. All agree on the existence of two other dismantled towers, some authors say that they were round and others that one was square and the other round. The fact is that together they formed a castle of small dimensions, almost square in shape. From the small hill it dominates the roads that approach the town and the fords of the Guadiana River.

The remaining old wall canvas is very attractive due to the amount of white quartz stones that fill the wall. We can still see defensive elements, such as the old battlements of the towers or the more modern loopholes, mainly for firearms. The coat of arms of the Lords of Orellana can also be seen in a preferential place. There is a curious inscription on a high place of the main tower, facing the river, which welcomes those who approach the place “Bless Lord / this house that / built in your most holy name / so that those who come / to it / may bless you”.

With the creation of the Lordship of Orellana, the castle became more and more a palace. The successive lords contributed to the improvement of the facilities, with elements that enhanced the image of power of the nobility of the place. Thus, balconies and coats of arms are added, the interior is fitted out for a comfortable stay…

This process culminated at the end of the 16th century, when the church was renovated and the convent and many of the manor houses were built. In the palace-castle, among other actions, some magnificent arcades in the interior and the Plateresque courtyard of which nothing remains.

From this moment on, a decline of the economy and the general policy of the kingdom began, the decadence would be continuous, the lords moved to Madrid or places closer to the Court and the slovenliness began to be the dominant note of the place. Little by little, everything of value disappears, the debts of the owners cause everything to be mis-sold in many cases and abandoned in others. In the castle there was hardly a couple left in charge.

During the civil war it was used as a prison and barracks, and in addition to all the upheaval that this transfer entails, it suffered the impact of a projectile. Although the destruction had already been done in previous centuries, after the war part of the towers were demolished and the stones were used for the construction of a house in the old courtyard of the castle.

Its last owner donated the castle to the City Council of Orellana and since then there has been an incessant work to restore the remains and rehabilitate the space trying to get as close as possible to the original. Many efforts to enhance the value of one of the symbols of Orellana la Vieja. Lately, the final stages of its recovery are being addressed and plans are already underway to bring this magnificent space back to life. The main project will be a large Interpretation Center for the values of the territory.