Serafin Villarán, the Man Who Built His Own Castle

Located in Cebolleros, a small community in the province of Burgos, northern Spain, Castillo de las Cuevas, or Castle of Caves, is the result of one man’s ambition and determination. Serafin Villarán dreamed of having his very own castle, and he single-handedly turn his dream into a reality.

Born in 1935, in the town of Burgos, Serafin was a simple man, working as a welder in a local factory. He didn’t have much experience in construction, until that day in 1977 when he got the idea to build himself a fairy-tale castle. He was 42 years old, yet he decided to follow his dream of create a castle-shaped home for him and his family. He bought a piece of land, and without any real architectural knowledge began working on his masterpiece. He mainly used rounded stones which he collected from the nearby rivers Nela and Trueba, and fixed them together with concrete to give his Castillo de las Cuevas an authentic look. Construction began without a preconceived plan, and according to his family he relied only on his imagination and books on Spanish castles as inspiration.

The Castle of Caves is five storeys high and features several circular towers with battlements. Unfortunately, after more than 20 years of hard work on his dear project, Serafin Villarán died in 1998, without seeing it finished. On the outside, the castle appeared complete, but there was still work to be done on the interior. But his daughter Yolanda, and son Luis Serafin, knew how much this project meant to their father so they carried on his legacy. Every year, they invest about €2,000 in continuing work on the castle, instead of using the money for their family vacation. And although they welcome tourists who want to explore this modern medieval wonder, they say they have no plans of turning it into a business.




Sources: Outsider Environments, La Cronica, Zaleza