The castle is located on a hill named Pui Pinos. You can get there climbing up a steep road around the hill and going through a robust entrance arch which is placed perpendicularly to the wall following the outline of the Islamic fortifications.
This castle-convent dates from the Romanesque period, undergoing a number of enlargements and modifications in subsequent years. The most ancient remains date from the 12th and 13th centuries. The Romanesque chapel, the Protogothic cloister and the tower of homage are some of the most outstanding monuments dating back to that period. The chapel has one of the few Romanesque facades existing in El Bajo Aragon.
Don Juan de Lanuza's sepulchre contitutes one of the most interesting commemorative stones from the Aragonese Renaissance. In the cloister, attached to the southern wall of the chapel, you can see two pointed archs. The Tower of Homage is located west of the chapel, and it offers both in the ground and noble floor (the floor above) a number of Gothic paintings which date from the first half of the 14th Century. The paintings are devoted to civil issues such as the heroic deeds of Jaime I the Conqueror. Some of these paintings were pulled out and today they are kept in the city hall.
The cloister also offers some painting remains although they are kept in worse conditions. In this case the paintings deal about funeral rites. In the 18th century there was an important reform out of which the Commanders' Palace was built (placed in the south).
The Calatravos Castle is located on the top of the Pui-Pinos Hill. A steep road leads you to the great entrance arch and the main facade of the castle, which is the result of the reform carried out in the Baroque. It is precisely this part of the castle that in 1968 was fitted out into a run-state hotel. Recent research on the castle holds that this primitive castle was one of the first constructions in the peninsula to adopt, at the beginning of the 13th century, a design known as Felipe Augusto which is characterised by a geometric floor flanked by two towers.
Next to the chapel you can find Juan de Lanunza's sepulchre, viceroy of Aragon and High Commander of Alcañiz. This work was done by the sculptor Damián Forment in 1537 and it is the most important work from the Renaissance in Alcañiz. The sepulchre is made of white alabaster. Successive destructions during the 19th century and the early 20th century left the work in bad conditions. In general the iconography turns around issues of salvation and the triumph over death. Two figures were identified as Wisdom and Strenght and they are now kept in the council.
The second main building from the medieval period is the cloister. It is attached to the southern wall of the chapel and it was built during the same period. Later, at the end of the 13th and in the early 14th century, it was restored in a protogothic style. It has two pointed arches and its second facade with outstanding decorative mouldings connects the cloister with the inside yard. In the eastern side you can see the remains of the sepulchre of Commander García Lopez.
Finally, within the medieval section, you can see the Tower of Homage dating from the 14th century except the last floor which was restored years later. This tower is linked to the name of Juan Fernández de Heredia according to the symbolism of the coat of arms. This work belongs completely to the Gothic. It was built west to the chapel high above the atrium. On the atrium, three new floors and two porticos were built. One portico covers the atrium's entrance and the other covers the first floor (the noble floor), which is believed to be the Commander's palace. In the southern side of this floor there is a magnific large window decorated with intertwined arches. The second floor is believed to be the bedroom. As for the third floor, research on the marks left by the stonemason suggest that it was built in the 14th century, although it was restored later on. In the 16th century, in times of D. Juan de Lanuza, it underwent an important restructuring.
The Castle of Alcañiz owns one of the most interesting murals in Aragon. Its peculiarity lies in the fact that most of its paintings are devoted to civil issue, which is not the usual in Gothic murals in Spain. These paintings date from the first half of the 14th century and they constitute a regional interpretation of the Franco-Gothic or Lineal Gothic style. Following a topographical criterion we can talk on the one hand about the paintings found in the noble floor of the Tower of Homage, which are about the war deeds of King Jaime I. On the other hand, the paintings found in the atrium or ground floor of the tower are all about religious issues and in the cloister you can see the outstanding painting of the ArchAngel Miguel.
During the 18th century, the infante Don Felipe initiated a profound reform in the south wing of the medieval castle out of which the great palace of the Commanders was created. Today this is the run-state hotel.This building has a Renaissance facade flanked by two towers divided into three floors, the first one made of ashlar and the others made of brick. In the noble floor there are some balconies and in the last floor you can find a typical Aragonese gallery built upon successive round arches crowned by eaves.
After being in ruins for a period, the Castle was declared National Monument in 1925 and in the 50s it was partially restored. During the following decade there was a profound reform to create the state-run hotel.