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The Castle of Villena

Posted by Luci Ackers on 3 March 2017
Related property: Javea
The Castle of Villena

Also known as Atalaya Castle, this fortress is located in the centre of Villena, a city in Alicante in the south east of Spain. It's roughly an hour and a half drive from Jávea.

A little bit of history

The Castle of Villena was originally a Moorish construction that was built in the 12th century as a means of defence against Christian raids. In its lifetime the castle has managed to withstand a number of sieges and rebel attacks, eventually captured by James I of Aragon in the 13th century. It passed hands a number of times and by the 16th century the fortress was used as a refuge during the Revolt of the Brotherhoods. It was after an attack by the French Marshal Suchet in the early 19th century that the castle was finally abandoned and fell into disrepair.

Brief description

The current building was restored in the 1950s and is now in good condition, making a wonderful place to explore.

Despite not being moated, this is a sturdy, military building with two protective walls. The outer wall is reinforced with twelve towers while the taller inner wall contains the keep. The keep, which is taller still than the inner wall, rising to about 25 metres, maintains the traditional star-shaped ribbed vault of the Almohad era, making it practically unique among Hispanic military architecture. The three tiers give the fortress a really interesting concentric appearance; it was declared a Historical-Artistic monument in 1931.

The Castle of Villena is part of the Route of the Castles of Vinalopó which is a cultural route that connects a series of many of the castles located in the province of Alicante. There are nine in total and the route begins at Villena and finishes at the castle of Petrel. It is 75 kilometres in total.

What is there to see and do?

The Castle Villena sits at the top of a gentle slope, and it's well worth the climb for the views out over the town from the top. You can access the inner bailey, the keep and the wall walk. There is also the opportunity to join a guided tour.

How to visit

An entrance ticket is just €3 and this includes a guided tour as well. You can learn a little more about the history and see the inside of various rooms.

Tickets can be purchased from the Villena Tourist office (open Monday – Friday 9am – 2pm; Saturdays & Sundays 11am – 2pm), located near the museum in Plaza Santiago.

Or they can be purchased from the Villena Visitor Reception (open Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 2pm and 4pm – 6pm), located closer to the castle on Calle Pedrera.

Coming from Jávea you would take the AP-7 south along the coast, heading inland towards Elda. The E-903 should take you in to Villena and the castle is on the Calle Mirador.

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Luci Ackers

Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.

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