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Historians outraged after a 9th-century Spanish castle gets the world’s worst restoration

Ian Harvey


Nowadays it seems people want everything to be brand new. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it looks expensive and new. This idea even goes for ancient buildings and castles. Who would ever think to remodel an ancient castle with new architecture?

Well, someone in Spain did just that. A 9th-century Spanish castle was recently remodeled and has been dubbed as the world’s worst restoration project by the locals who have to look at the eyesore daily. They have described the restoration as a wreck.

Not only are the locals angry, but historians in the area are furious after seeing the results. Before the restoration, Castillo de Matrera in Cadiz, Spain was listed as a building and an official site of cultural interest. It brought many tourists to the area to view what was left. The plan to restore it had actually been talked about in length after a part of the castle had collapsed. However, the bosses who were in charge of the restoration project decided to go with a local building firm instead of building specialists who work on ancient buildings such as this.


Sadly, the finished product looked like a completely new building and nothing at all like the original whatsoever. The original castle is a sandy brown color, slowly crumbling due to age. But what’s most noticeable is that the builders decided to fill in the holes and square it off with smooth, gray concrete. No wonder the locals are angry – it looks like someone lazily patched up the old building quickly, without even thinking of matching the original color with the new materials.

The furious locals said that the castle looks terrible and the whole project was a disaster. One of the locals even bluntly said that the builders had screwed up. Perhaps they did screw up, but couldn’t turn back to fix the problems they made.

Castle_of_Matrera_after_reconstruction Source
Castle of Matrera after reconstruction Source

The castle was originally built on a hill about 523 meters above the sea in the Villamartin town known as Andalusian. The castle has had several owners throughout history and is currently in the hands of a private owner. When the largest part of the castle collapsed in 2013, the owner knew that if it weren’t restored it would eventually fall into complete ruin.

Apparently, the Villamartin council had been repeatedly warned by the Andalusian government of the possible collapse of the rest of the structure, but nothing was done about it. Because of that, three floors, the vaults of the tower, and part of the walls were lost.

Although the castle was only partially standing, it still attracted thousands of tourists and visitors every year as part of the historic walks. It is also a popularly photographed local site. Considering how many people visited the area, many had high hopes that the new restoration project would restore the castle to how it was before it collapsed. Unfortunately, they were to be greatly disappointed.

Castillo de Matrera.Source

One of the visitors at the castle said that the restoration was quite unfortunate. While that puts it politely, others do not keep their opinions quiet, obviously loudly voicing their thoughts on the matter. Another local bluntly stated that the builders had forgotten to put a TV satellite dish on top along with a Coca-Cola sign, obviously commenting about how modern the castle now looks. He added that the final version is an insult to the whole town and all the people who live there.

Source:Pedro Sanchez
Source:Pedro Sanchez

There have been hundreds of comments about the final product on social networks in Spain. Even the people who work at the heritage areas are unimpressed. One of these, Hispana Nostra, obviously preferred the older version and said that the restoration was a complete disaster.

Apparently, the architect who worked on the project is shooting back comments to his critics. He said that they were trying to make the newest additions look just like the original. The question then has to be “Why then use gray concrete?”.


Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News