Dukes of Medinaceli Palace, discover the history and historic centre
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Dukes of Medinaceli Palace


Declared a Site of Cultural Interest - Geldo

The Dukes of Medinaceli Palace dates back to the 15th century when the town was governed by the Valterra family. It’s a very solid-looking building with a square floor plan and made of masonry and ashlar.  The walls reflect the partial structure of a cylindrical tower and a few structures that seem to have been lookout posts to defend the building.

Prior to the Reconquista, Gelda and the other Islamic villages in the rest of the Alto Palancia region were controlled by Çeyt Abuzeyt as the entire population was Morisco. The Geldo palace castle was mentioned by James I in the "Llibro de Repartiment" book as he made the following donation in Catalan: “A García Péreç d’Osa, la torre que s’anomena Selda, que está en el terme de Sogorb, amb deu jovades contigües el mateix; i les cases d’Exem Azemen, amb un estable, a Sogorb, i un hort de tres fanecades, a condició que no venga en vida les susdites possesions. 12 de juliol”. In 1404, it became the property of the Valterra family who had settled in Segorbe.  This was the family of the former Bishop of Segorbe and Albarracín and, later, the Archbishop of Tarragona Mr Íñigo Valterra. Some years later in 1464, the Valterra family sold the town of Geldo to Tomas Sorell and this second family governed the feudal estate until it was sold in 1495 by the Sorell family to the Duke of Segorbe, Mr Enrique de Aragón y Pimentel (the Infante Fortuna). Enrique Folch de Cardona awarded it a town charter in 1611. Segorbe would fall under the control of the House of Medinaceli after the marriage of Mr Juan Francisco de la Cerda y Enríquez de Rivera to Ms Catalina Antonio Folch Cardona y Aragón, the first-born child and heiress to the Houses of Denia-Lerma, Segorbe-Cardona and Comares, following the 1675 ruling by the Court of Valencia. As an example of its social importance, the Bishops of Segorbe would spend the night before taking possession of their diocese in this palace and then enter the city of Segorbe by donkey the next morning. At the end of the 19th century, Bishop Massanet was the last to honour this tradition. This building was later used as a café/casino with a hall for local weddings, a textile factory, a municipal warehouse, an improvised museum as well as the town hall in addition to a home for needy families, a discotheque and the headquarters of various local associations. It’s located in the historic centre of Geldo with the facades overlooking the Plaza del Horno square and the streets crossing it. On the back it borders the irrigation rill. The building seems to have been erected over what was initially a defensive tower with a square layout around which the palace was built with defensive elements in the 15th century. It has a square floor plan and three stories, occupying an area of ​​629.00 m² with a 131.16 m² orchard in the back. The entire foundation is on a slope and the walls have openings for firing guns as well as a circular tower in the back as a lookout post. The ground floor has no windows, the first floor has small windows and the third, which is the main one, is where the noble areas are located.  It features twin Gothic windows and three balconies. The interior is distributed around a central courtyard with two-storey drop arches and an upper gallery of semi-circular arches and coffering. The courtyard capitals features the Dukes’ coat of arms in relief. The entrance to the courtyard is connected to the upper floor by means of a wide rectangular staircase. The twin Gothic windows, the dukes’ coat of arms on the courtyard capitals and polychrome wooden coffered ceilings are all well-conserved.

 


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