Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992)

This film by John Glen competed with Ridley Scott’s version of the ‘discovery’ of America for Spanish government funds and audiences to take advantage of the 500th anniversary; (the concept of ‘discovery’ of course did not include those who were already living there).

Glen filmed in Sigüenza at the Parador hotel, a historical monument which began its life as an Arab castle built upon a Roman one in the year 1123. The original castle was built in the fifth century and strengthened by the Moors in 712. In 1123 it was retaken by Fernando I and El Cid and became a Bishop’s Palace. 

In the late 1800s it fell into disuse and after a restoration which began in 1964 it opened as a four star hotel a dozen years later.

Glen used the Parador to portray the Spanish royal court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel at Malaga, recently conquered from the Moors.

Columbus is seen arriving in Malaga, represented by the castle’s façade.

In the castle courtyard Glen filmed scenes with Marlon Brando, who played Torquemada, where the battlements are clearly visible.