My study abroad program took us on a trip to a wine cellar and the Castle of Xàtiva. This excursion has made me appreciate the rich history of Valencia and its surrounding communities.
History of Xàtiva
The small city of Xàtiva experienced its peak of cultural splendor under Moorish rule, which was then followed by the Christian reconquest. During this time, Xàtiva was the second biggest city in the Kingdom of Valencia. Lastly, it served as an Austrian stronghold in the War of the Spanish Succession.
Today, Xàtiva is home to great buildings such as the collegiate basilica of Santa María, the churches of Sant Pere and Sant Francesc, and the Castle of Xàtiva.
Castell de Xàtiva
The Castle of Xàtiva sits proudly atop of the sierra del Castell hill in the city. This historic monument has been the spectator of pivotal events in Spain.
While it has Iberian and Romanian roots, which are evident on the Castell Menor, its expansion under the Moorish rule is apparent. In fact, most of the castle walls and towers seen today are of Islamic origin.
The Castle of Xàtiva is divided into two sections: the Castell Major and Castell Menor (shown in the picture). The Castell Major is the most extensive and best-preserved part of the castle. It served as the main defensive stronghold during Christian conquest lead by Jaume I. Whereas, the Castell Menor is the oldest part of castle. It witnessed Hannibal’s campaign against Rome.
I hope you enjoyed this quick read!
Tran Zen Belila Torres
** While I am not an expert in Valencian history, most of the information here was from the tour guide provided by my study abroad program. **