El Castillo de Montemolín

The Castle of Montemolín, “el castillo” as I’ve called it since I was a kid, is one of more than 300 medieval fortresses embedded in the landscape of Badajoz, the Spanish province where my ancestors hail from. It started as a Muslim fortification in the XII century and it later became a Christian outpost when it was taken over by Spanish knights.

Although some walls were recently restored and bright lights illuminate its perimeter during summer nights, the site is still very much in ruins. A locked door prevents people from entering the complex and causing more damage to the crumbling property, or to themselves — you wouldn’t be the first one to fall off the edge.

Many other medieval castles in Badajoz are in much better shape–some have even been transformed into hotels and restaurants. But I don’t mind the state of disrepair of Montemolín’s castle. It makes it more authentic.

In the recent hot summer days when I made these sketches, the warm colors of its weathered walls blended with the golden hues of the foothill pasture. And its silhouette seemed to become one with the hilltop.

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