Saturday, 15 October 2016

A little touch of Bavaria in the Basque Country

On the way to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, something on the side of the road caught our attention. Something was definitely sticking out from the forest. Over the treetops. Something that could have been a castle. It looked amazing and got us intrigued. We knew we were going to stop there on the way back.

We found it quite easily, though there were no signs, no directions given. It was strange. Such an amazing building. Definitely looking historic. And no signs? No name? Nothing?

We could get to the entrance door, but not inside. There was just a small sign saying that it's a private property. We were kind of disappointed. We had a walk around the castle, took a gazillion of pictures and drove back to our campsite.

When we already got back home from our #Eurotrip2016, I just couldn't stop thinking about this castle. It looked like somebody was taking care of it, renovating it, yet the building wasn't used for anything. No one was living there, it wasn't a hotel or a restaurant. It was deserted. Just standing there, in the beautiful surroundings. And it seemed strange. We may like it or hate it, but usually historic buildings in good shape are either turned into a museum, a hotel, a restaurant or something else. And this one - nothing.

That's why it got me search for further information. And no guide book gave any. Uncle google (with his maps, yet again) usually come in handy in such cases, though.

The castle is named Castillo de Butrón. It is one of the most interesting and original castles in Spain. Unlike majority of Spanish castles, its history is in no way related to the Reconquista i.e. the medieval battles between Christians and Muslims. It is also not as functional as castles in Castille. Architecturally, it's much closer related to the Bavarian fairy tale castles. Also, as I've already mentioned, it's a private property.

Located in Gatica, in the Basque province of Vizcaya, Castillo de Butrón was originally built as a defensive tower. During 300 years since its erection in 14th century, it was used to defend the Butrón family's properties during the fights of Basque nobelty. Since 16th century the tower was becoming more and more devastated.

What we can see today was actually built in 19th century. The modernisation of the castle at the end of the 19th century made it more similar to the Bavarian castles. That was when cylindric towers and tiny bastilles were added to the tower. Its today's role is purely decorative, not residential or defensive.

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