Real Fuerte de la Concepción
Royal Fortress of the Conception
This fortress is north of Fuentes de Oñoro and east of Almeida. It is a classic, four-sided, Vauban pattern fortress. It has had an interesting history.
Construction was started in 1663 by the Spanish as part of their bid to conquer Portugal. A year later it was partially destroyed.
In the decades after the recognition by Spain of Portuguese independence in 1668, the border area was increasingly refortifed and Fort Conception was rebuilt from 1736 to 1758. Just 4 years later, in 1762, war erupted between Britain and Spain. While Spain invaded Portugal during this war, Fort Conception saw no action.
During the first French invasion in 1808, the Portuguese abandoned it and it was occupied by the French. Later that year the French removed the guns and destroyed the northern bastions to render it useless.
The British re-occupied it after the Convention of Sintra and it was strengthened in time for Massena's invasion. Mines were embedded in parts of it so it could easilly be destroyed again.
On July 21st 1810, in response to the French advance, the British blew up the fortress (although not all the mines detonated) and abandoned it.
The French occupied it and did some repairs, including adding four baking ovens. It was used as a headquarters by Massena during the siege of Almeida.
The fortress was never fully repaired but some restoration has been carried out and the ruins now house a hotel and very nice restaurant.
The main entrance from the causeway over the main ditch.
The entrance causeway across the main ditch.
The central part of the fortress.
The doors now give access to the hotel rooms.
Views of the Fortress showing the destruction.
The San José redoubt, built to cover adjacent high ground and sometimes used as stables.
The restaurant in one of the casemates.