Route of the castles in Catalonia
In Catalonia there are about six hundred castles and fortresses scattered throughout the territory. Surely, many of you must have one close to home or you will have visited more than one in different occasions.
These castles, located in different parts of the Catalan geography and apparently differ, were built in the same era, a time highlight for these buildings. But, you have ever wondered why the existence of these buildings, what were, exactly, their functions? The word castle, which derives from the Latin castrum, gives us an idea of the purpose that met the castles. But everyone wanted to be a "military camp"?
The route of this month aims to give you know the inner workings of some of the most important castles in our land and extending through the four provinces - Girona, Barcelona, ??Lleida and Tarragona - and find, well, a response to all the issues raised . This route, not bottom-up move and can be attained in its entirety or visit each individual spaces.
Ready for a trip to medieval Catalonia? Us enter, then, in the castles that await us in Catalonia.
A little history
The territory of Catalonia was formerly played at different times and occupied several villages, which have left their mark on history.
Du during the medieval period, specifically, between the years 716 and 726 Catalonia was occupied by the Muslims, who were advancing its conquest, uphill to get to France where they were defeated by French troops had to retreat to the Pyrenees.
Charlemagne, the French king, in return, the Hispanic established between the Pyrenees and the Ebro in order to conquer the territory they had occupied Muslims. Charlemagne Troops were recovering part of the territory designated the Hispanic. But it just got to the slope of Llobregat, thus creating what is known today as the Catalunya Vella (Old).
The Catalan territory was expanded later with the achievements of Ramon Berenguer IV, the territories of which were called Catalunya Nova (New).
To protect the territory they were creating, built in hot spots and high castles that allow monitoring and alerting of possible attacks or conquests. These buildings drew a border between Catalonia and Muslims.
For this reason, the castles with defense and surveillance purposes are located mainly in southern Catalonia.
Peralada Castle as its name suggests, is located in the homonymous municipality ( Peralada , Alt Empordà).
This is a castle that stands out for its elegance, since it was the home and center of the county of Peralada . Usually, castles, for his majesty, allowed to show the people the power possessed by the earls.
Initially, it was built in 1285, in the village center, but with the war against France was destroyed and built outside the walls. The counts, building remodeling, Carmelite friars offered the parts of the land that they might build a monastery. For this reason, today the castle is located in the museum of the friars.
It is not possible to visit all areas of the castle. But part of it is located Peralada Casino and in the gardens of the castle is held annually, the renowned International Music Festival Peralada. Two more reasons to visit some corners give this building.
The largest monument in Catalunya, Sant Ferran Castle
Located in the same area, the Alt Empordà, find the castle of Sant Ferran. This castle located in Figueres is considered one of the largest fortresses in Europe and declared the largest monument dimensions of Catalonia. It occupies 32 acres and is located on top of a mountain at the end of the rise of the castle of Figueres .
This was built as a trigger of the Treaty of the Pyrenees, which was a variation of French and Catalan border. The changes involved the treaty were to the north of Catalonia was left without any fortified defensive system, making it impossible for land protection. As the above solution is built fortress.
Since then, the Castle of Sant Ferran has been an important area that has experienced different and varied events. Stress, as a curiosity, the artist Salvador Dalí did there stay as a recruit in 1925.
This castle / fortress is open to the public since 1997. Also available is the guide service.
The Castle Park Montesquieu
Introducing us to the path Catalunya Vella and the Castle of Cardona is advisable to make a stop at the Castillo de Montesquieu. It is located in the homonymous municipality, ( Montesquieu ) in Osona, left the river Ter.
The first news of the same date the 1285 and it seems that this castle was a small guard or watchman, a tower built in an elevated location that fulfills the functions of monitoring, where the lords lived when they came to visit Besora to control and make a look at their land.
The interesting thing about this building, in addition to the construction, the environment, the beat, where it is located. The castle is surrounded by an expanse of 546 acres that make up the natural space Montesquieu Castle Park, owned by the Barcelona Provincial Council.
The castle can be visited and offers guided tours.
On the first floor of the building is preserved, currently, the main floor of the castle and on the top floor there are various multipurpose rooms and attics. Are masoveria In the resource center, library, laboratories and offices of the park.
The Chimes of Midnight in Cardona
In the region of Bages, specifically in the town of Cardona , we find the most important medieval fortress of Catalonia. We are talking about the Castle of Cardona. This castle is located on top of a mountain which is controlled and observed Cardener Valley. This was essential to the defense of the exploitation of the salt.
From the eleventh century to the fifteenth century and the castle enjoyed a great activity in their rooms as lords resided there Cardona, one of the most important Catalan lineages.
The rest oldest preserved castle is the tower that was the tower Minyona master of the fortress. And it also has a popular legend. It is said that it was locked, Adelaide, the daughter of a viscount of Cardona and that supposedly would have married a Muslim governor converting to their culture.
But Cardona Castle hides other jewelry as, for example, the church of Sant Vicenç which is considered one of the most important monuments of Romanesque Catalan. In this space there were some scenes of the film director Orson Welles' Chimes at Midnight ". This movie was a revolution in the municipality of Cardona . During recording many citizens had to make extras in the filming and took establishments working a frantic pace.
In this castle now houses a state inn.
Montsonís Castle, the headquarters of the Catalan cultural castles
Another castle Catalonia identifying Montsonís Castle (La Noguera). During the Middle Ages the Count of Urgell, in order to protect the land they had conquered from the Muslims, built on top of the town of Montsonís this castle. The location of this castle marked, along with others, the border between the Catalunya Catalunya Vella i Nova.
Also its location allowed many pilgrims who performed the road to Santiago, solicitasen accommodation in this fortress.
It is believed that the castle was initially formed only by a circular tower which was surrounded by a murall to be stretched by a top that covers the entire village. And it was not until the late sixteenth century that this was remodeled and expanded.
This castle is still, to this day, inhabited. However, part of the castle is open to visitors. The castle also homes the Cultural Foundation of the castles of Catalonia.
Getting into the Catalunya nova and following the path toward the South of Catalonia we find Escornalbou Castle. This castle occupies part of the term of Riudecanyes in Baix Camp, from where you can enjoy a fantastic view of the Tarragona region.
The name comes from the Latin "Cornu bovis" meaning ox horn.
Legend has it that Mr. Siurana, the day of St. Michael the year 1162, he headed Escornalbou conquérir order to strength. Finally, the confrontation between Muslims and Christians ended with the victory of the latter since it is said that the archangel San Miguel battled with them with his flaming sword. For this reason the castle has this topónomio.
The place where this battle took place is still known today as the "coll of battle" (Neck of the battle)
As regards the spaces include construction these are the Romanesque church, the remains of the chapter house and the cloister.
Finally, we conclude the route started in the North of Catalonia with a visit to Castle Miravet. This is located in the Ebro in the homonymous municipality ( Miravet ), specifically stands on a hilltop sore Ebro River, at an altitude of 100 meters.
This castle deserves special mention and is advisable to visit as it is considered one of the best architectural buildings templera around Europe. And in his time was the most important fortress templera Crown of Aragon.
This was built by Muslims in order to protect the territory of Al-Andalus Charlemagne campaigns. Pes to this, the year 1153 was conquered by Ramon Berenguer IV, who gave it in the same instant, the order of the temple.
On its structure, this is divided into two different rooms: the jussà or walled enclosure and sovereign. And include places like the Treasure Tower, Tower of Blood, the courtyard or the Roman Temple, among others.
Synopsis Orson Welles film
For the curious film explain that Orson Welles 'Chimes at Midnight', 1965, is the story of Lord Bolingbroke, known as Henry IV, who managed to be king of England thanks to the Earl of Northumberland. This causes the country to be divided into two as a result of the rumors regarding their participació in the death of Richard II.
In relation to these facts, the castle of Cardona was chosen as the setting for some scenes of the film by the medieval essence conserbaba.
It was expected that realizase two separate shootings per finally made a taxation only on the inside of the church of San Miguel, the columns of which led to an argument between the illuminator of the film and the same Orson Welles.
The creation of a people
With the birth of Catalonia in 1000, began to provide the territory with different infrastructures and poblacionws who provided character and identity to the region. During these years, that emmarcan in medieval times were built monasteries, walled cities, and even castles.