There was a Celtiberian castro near the hill of 1,200 meters of altitude in which the Romans towards the 153 a.de C. install a camp that happened to be the city of Occilis, benefited by the exploitation of the great salinas near. It was located at a junction of the causeways that connected the cities of Toledo and Burgo de Osma with Zaragoza.
In the tenth century it was fortified by Salim ibn Waramai, by order of the caliph Abderramán III, giving it the name of Medina Al – Salim, “City of Salim” or “of the sky”; Making it the capital of the so-called Middle Brand, the border area with Christians north of the Central System. The current urban configuration, with narrow streets, comes from that period. It was years later the base for Almanzor, that from there it realized its devastating aceifas against the Christian kingdoms. It has been written that he was buried there, in some place still unknown, together with his treasure, in August of the year 1002. When the Caliphate of Cordoba was broken down, the lineage of the Banu Salim was established there. This lineage will strengthen the area through watchtowers, making it the only stronghold of the area in Muslim hands. In that period passed the Cid Campeador there, celebrating a unique combat with a Muslim knight, whom he killed. The accuracy of data on Medinaceli in Cantar de Mio Cid leads one to think that the author was originally from the area.
In the year 1104 the Castilian troops commanded by Alvar Fañez finally manage to conquer it, it is lost and reconquered definitively by the king Alfonso I of Aragon, consorte of the queen Urraca of Castile. In 1127, the year after his wife died, Alfonso celebrates the peace of Tamara with his stepson King Alfonso VII of Castile, returning him Medinaceli. This one gave a fuero to its new border place with Aragon, in order to repopulate it with people loyal to him.
By its border position it remained in the hands of the Crown until 1371, when King Henry II created the county of Medinaceli as a reward for one of the French knights who helped him reach the throne: Bernardo de Bearne, bastard son of the Count of Foix. He later married Isabel de la Cerda, great-granddaughter of the infant of Castile Fernando de la Cerda. This last name will be adopted by the counts of Medinaceli instead of the French surname, custom denominated “enhancement of kinship” (to choose the most illustrious surname).
In 1479 the Catholic Monarchs transformed the county into a duchy, a long period in which medieval and Moorish Christian buildings were demolished, replacing Renaissance and baroque buildings over two centuries of economic development. Numerous families hidalgas dependents of the dukes settled down in Medinaceli, constructing houses to which they contribute their coats of arms. During the War of Independence The Empecinado resisted in this place.
Its splendor and mixture of cultures was praised by the Generation of the 98. Gerardo Diego affirmed of her that it was “inviolable to mesnadas and the open angels”. And fascinated by the Cid was on two occasions the writer Ezra Pound who has dedicated a monument.
It was declared of Cultural Interest in the category of Historical Set in 1963. It has been incorporated into the XXI century with its Medinaceli DE ARTE center.