The origins of Ponferrada Castle they date from an ancient pre-Roman fort, probably Celtic. Over the years, on those initial constructions, they went making numerous modifications and extensions to it, being able to contemplate, today, one of the best fortifications that are preserved in Spain, being declared a National Historic-Artistic Monument in 1924.

Its privileged location, on a high promontory at the confluence of the Boceza and Sil rivers, gives it a strategic position for the defense of Ponferrada as well as its region and lands in Galicia.

It should be noted that the city of Ponferrada (Pons Ferrata) takes its name from the iron-reinforced bridge, which Bishop Osmundo ordered to be built in the XNUMXth century, to facilitate the passage of the Sil river for pilgrims heading to Santiago de Compostela, through the pilgrims’ route of the French Way.

One of the most interesting and passionate reasons for this Ponferrada Castle is that in 1178 it was entrusted to the Order of the Temple (Templars) who made the necessary reforms to make it a real fortress, while they were “owners” of it. 


One of the main missions entrusted to the Templars was the protection of the pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, as well as serving the Kings who had offered them such an assignment.

The Temple Order continued in Ponferrada for around 150 years, until Pope Clement V, induced by the French King Philip IV of France, ordered the dissolution of the Order in the year 1312 and confiscation of all his property and possessions in the countries in which the Order was installed.


The religious and military Order of the Temple, also called “Poor Companions of Christ of the Temple of King Solomon”, was founded in France in 1119 until its dissolution in 1312. It numbered about 20000 men, of which 10 % were Knights, its founder being Huho de Panys. It was born with the main mission of protecting the pilgrims who from Europe were heading to Jerusalem, in the Holy Land.

They had as a distinctive a white cloak with the Red Kick Cross and its motto: nonnobis, Domine, non nobis. Sed Nomini Tuo Da Gloriam (“Not to us, Lord, not to us. But to Your name be the glory given”)

As a curiosity, during the time the Templars stayed in Ponferrada, apparently, the image of a Virgin known since then as Virgen de la Encina was discovered inside an oak tree, who today is the patron saint of the city. and from the Bierzo region and which is exposed in the Basilica of Nuestra Señora de la Encina, very close to the Castle.


In the year 1340 is when the construction of the Old Castle began, inside the walled area, promoted by Don Pedro Fernández De Castro, Lord of Ponferrada, in thethat are, as main elements 4 towers, which were built throughout the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries (From the Old Homage, Duque de Arjona or Old Cube, New Homenage or New Cube and Catholic Kings)

In the XNUMXth century, new and very important fortification works were carried out, promoted by Don Pedro Alvarez Osorio, first Count of Lemos, among which are: The current five Towers, built on the perimeter of the wall, are: Moclin, Caracoles , Malpica, Cabrera and Malvecino, Construction of the New Palace, Main Entrance, Tower of the Homage of the Old Castle and the rounds of the Wall, the Mine and the Cueva de la Mora.



We highlight of these elements, the entrance to the Castle, formed by two splendid towers in which, in the Tower of the Snails, we can read the inscription in Latin: Nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem frustrates vigilat qui custodit eam“(” If the Lord does not protect the city, the one who guards it watches in vain “)


The Ponferrada Castle remained more or less habitable until the mid-XNUMXth century, when its period of decline. After some important restoration works, since 1997, it was reopened to the public in 2010.

The interior of the New Palace of the Ponferrada Castle, serves as an Exhibition Hall with a wide exhibition of codices, manuscripts of religious themes. In the newly built Sala Rica, you can see the permanent exhibition “Templum Libri ”, inaugurated in 2010, among which we find the“ Book of Kells ”(XNUMXth century), a collection of“ Blessed ”, with about twenty volumes and the“ Book of Hours ”, by Visconti (XNUMXth century) .

In other dependencies of the Palace, currently, there is an important Templar Library and Center for Historical Studies.

In your Camino de Santiago from León, passing through the city of Ponferrada, you cannot stop visit this magnificent Templar Castle, as well as the beautiful city of Ponferrada, capital of El Bierzo; and its rich gastronomy.

If you do not have enough days to go through Ponferrada, we recommend a shorter but very popular Way, which would be Camino de Santiago organized from Sarria.