Moraira is a stunningly beautiful town in Alicante, perfect for family tourism, beaches, water activities and awe-inspiring heritage sites. One of them is Moraira Castle, located a stone’s throw from the town centre and overlooking the beach of l’Ampolla. What do you know about it? Do you know anything about its history, its mysteries, its splendour?
History of Moraira Castle
There’s a castle in Moraira you’ll fall in love with. According to written records, this fortress was finally completed in the 18th century, but it’s history as a defensive fortification dates back even further. It was mainly used to protect the town from attacks by pirates and corsairs, the Berbers and the British in particular.
What remains today is a replica, as the original building was completely destroyed by the British in 1801. It was blown up by one of their bombs.
And yet it was a heavily defended enclave, with four bronze cannons. They weren’t enough however to stop or fend off this devastating attack.
The Hermitage of the Virgen de los Desamparados was built between 1875 and 1878 the, which the castle’s ashlars were partially used for. The restoration carried out in the 1980s turned what were once ruins into this tourist town’s main landmark.
Now, overlooking the Ampolla beach, it’s extremely popular and is the place to go to take photographs of Moraira. One of the most interesting things about it is the royal coat of arms of the Bourbons on the entrance door dated 1742.
The castle’s architecture and characteristics
The castle has helped Moraira come on leaps and bounds. It seems to have been designed by Juan B. Antonelli. Its main architectural feature is the ox-hoof floorplan. The entrance door faces north, while the semi-circular façade faces south.
It has three naves inside. The largest is the central one, which is about 200 m², whereas the side ones are smaller. Originally, they were only covered by the vaults and had little natural light coming in from the three windows on the façade. The aim was to make the site an almost impregnable defensive fortification. Stunning. Robust. Powerful.
The cistern is somewhat out of the way. It was used to provide the villagers with water. It probably had a drawbridge so a moat could be crossed on a gate-bridge.
Its ten-metre-high masonry walls have seven embrasures. These were used to defend the castle using cannon fire if the situation called for it.
Legends and mysteries surrounding the Castle
This castle in Moraira is no ordinary castle, the kind that used to stand alone in the Spanish Mediterranean. In reality, it was a coastal battery used for defensive purposes. It was part of an entire surveillance network spread throughout the Kingdom of Valencia.
Among the mysteries surrounding the site are its date of construction and its subsequent destruction by the British. Little is known about these two things, which has led to speculation and assumptions.
What’s more, there’s a legend that Moraira was named after a Moorish princess: Ira, la Mora. Little is known about her stay in the castle, although the town’s architecture harks back to its Moorish past. So much so that many people living there still have names that come from Arabic. What’s more, the agricultural irrigation system is based on the principles used by this community. In any case, King James I kicked them out in the 13th century AD.
Visiting Moraira Castle
There are two different, but equally intriguing ways to visit. The first of those we’ve mentioned throughout the article. Head to the Ampolla beach and, after taking a few snaps from below, head up to this fortification. You’re in for an unforgettable experience!
However, if you fancy treating yourself, El Castillo Moraira is waiting for you at Calle Aitana number 14. If you want a good feed and pay homage to this symbolic building, the El Castillo Moraira restaurant will conquer you.
Paella, Andalusian gazpacho, Iberian ham, fried fish, prawns with garlic, squid and octopus are just some of its delicacies. There’s also an exceptional selection of local rice dishes, meat and fish on the menu. Enjoy a gastronomic experience that will be forever engraved in your own personal history!
When are you coming to visit Moraira Castle?
So, after reading all that, one thing is certain: Moraira Castle is a must-visit. Just find a date that suits and book your holiday accommodation with Solhabitat. You’re in for an unforgettable holiday!