History and Legends: the Castle of La Riba de Santiuste

If you are fond of paranormal phenomena, I’m sure you know the Spanish TV show “Cuarto Milenio” presented by journalist Iker Jiménez. The program (https://www.cuatro.com/cuarto-milenio/) explores a wide range of topics, such as conspiracy, ufology, parapsychology, archaeology and history. A few years ago, they visited the castle of La Riba de Santiuste, one of the 28 municipalities (kind of borough) of Sigüenza, but before I tell you why, let me give you a bit of information about it.

The castle of La Riba, is believed to be firstly built in the 9th century, during the Andalusian era, with the purpose of defending the area from the Castilian onslaught. However, there are almost no remains of that period apart from its foundations. The Riba de Santiuste fortress is typically medieval, although its shape is determined by the hill on which it is located, from where a very important part of the Salado river valley can be controlled. There is no need of moat nor barbican, thanks to the steep slopes.

Along the history, it has undergone through several restorations and interventions, including the expansion and reconstruction carried out at the end of the 12th century by the bishops of Sigüenza. Back in 1451 it was one again occupied, this time by Navarrese troops.

Few after, the bishop of Sigüenza, Fernando de Luján, planned its successful reconquest, returning the ownership of the castle to the Seguntine clergy, which continued up until the suppression of the dominions granted to the Church, back in the 19th century. The fortress was destroyed during the Spanish War of Independence and years later, the Civil War.

At some point which is still uncertain, the Spanish government became the owner of the castle and sold it in an auction in the 70’s. It was bought by a private individual and several restoration works were carried out. It is said that it was used by New Acropolis, an entity supposedly linked to esoteric studies, but also a sect.

Going back to the beginning of the post, let me tell you the reason why Iker Jiménez and his team came over: Manuela, a hypothetical spectre of the “white lady” who supposedly continues to roam the fortress. There are different versions of who she could be. The first and best known is that she was a young Arab, daughter of one of the first lords of the fortress, who ended up in love with a Christian. Since her family had already arranged a marriage of convenience for her, her father took this fact as an infidelity and took revenge. Ever since then, the girl’s soul would continue to roam the place and her screams can be heard at night…

Even though it is totally closed today and cannot be visited, I still remember that we used to go there when I was a child back in the 90’s. We would ride our bikes, climb up the hill, and enter the castle just for fun. No signs of Manuela I have to say, but to be honest, none of us had ever heard of her. In fact, when we asked, no-one in the village had heard such stories before they were seen on TV.

Looking for some additional information while writing this post, I came across a website which I found really interesting, not only because of the enormous amount of pictures and information provided, but also because it has a whole section devoted to legends, myths and even personal experiences that are definitely worth reading. Check on https://www.castillodelariba.com/ and let me know what you think.

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