We arrived to tour the Templars Castle (Castillo de los Templarios) early one afternoon last May but discovered that they were going to close soon for siesta-time. So we walked around the castle and I took a lot of photos (see here and here) and then we came back the next day to take the tour and take in the various views of Ponferrada.
Looking east from the walkway above the main entrance to the castle. There are many vineyards in the El Bierzo region surrounding Ponferrada.
Click on any photo to see a larger version of that photo.
View from the southwest corner tower (Torre de Monclin).
Looking east about halfway between the main entrance and the southwest corner. The Avenida del Castillo bridge across the Rio Sil is to the right.
Looking northeast from the eastern wall walkway with the Camino on the right and the Basilica Nuestra Senora de la Encina in the center. This is the color version of the photo I submitted for MM-18 (see here).
Looking down at Cafe de Torreon on the Camino.
View just up the street from the previous photo of old dilapidated buildings on the Camino with more modern buildings in the background.
View of the Plaza Virgen de la Encina from the northeast section of the castle. I got my first glimpse of the castle the day before when I was standing near that line of about a dozen people (see here, photo #8).
Looking west across the Sil to modern Ponferrada. The ancient Roman gold mine Las Medulas is in one of those mountains in the distance. The Romans operated Las Medulas for about 250 years. During that time they employed hydraulic engineering techniques and forced 60,000 local Spaniards to move several thousand tons of earth in order to extract 1650 tons of gold. The result of all this mining is some strange land formations and a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.
The Ponferrada skyline is basically one building. There are hundreds of eight to ten story buildings in the city and several in the 10 to 20 range but only one that is 30 stories high — Torre de la Rosaleda.
Looking southwest from the castle’s western wall at the Avenida del Castillo bridge crossing the Rio Sil.
In my next posting we will look at some of the improvements made to the castle in the last restoration project that began in 1999.