Alicante castle

Alicante boasts many treasures. And among its most prominent is indisputably the Castle of Santa Bárbara, which stands on Mount Benacantil overlooking the city. Hewn from millenary stone, this fortress has witnessed centuries of history in this ancient city – and even played a leading role in several chapters.
Officially declared a Historical-Artistic Monument and Asset of Cultural Interest in 1961, Santa Bárbara Castle is one of the most well-known landmarks in Alicante, and the most visited. Perched 166 metres above the city, it affords some of the greatest views of Alicante, its bay and the vast Mediterranean stretched out at its feet. But it’s the castle’s history that will captivate you most: a lot can happen in 1,200 years…
Santa Bárbara castle is shrouded in legends and stories. Some are fantastical, while others – such as when French troops blew up the mine – go to prove that truth can indeed be stranger than fiction. And you can hear a lot of these stories if, like us, you take the theatrical tour of the castle. Guided by Sara and various other characters, you will be transported back in time for an hour, back through centuries of splendour, wars, battles, love affairs and exiles…

Our adventure begins next to the car park, in the largest of the six cisterns that once supplied the castle – and up to 14,000 soldiers, at one point – with water. This construction dates back to the 16th century and, with its very high ceilings, has been hewn out of the rock in such a way as to provide a form of natural air conditioning, keeping the cistern at a pleasant and consistent temperature. Here we learn curious facts such as how limestone was rubbed on the walls to keep them waterproof and how carp were released into the water to keep it clean.
Historical fact meets popular legend in the story of Nicolás Peris, the one-time governor of Santa Bárbara who battled so staunchly to prevent the fortress from falling into the hands of Jaime II in 1256 that he died with the keys in his hand, clutching them so tightly that the only way to prise them free was to cut off his hand. To this day, it is said that on some nights the governor’s wails can still be heard, as he laments the loss of his beloved castle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *