The castle of Saint Barbara stands on top of Monte Benacantil with a gorgeous scenic view of the Spanish landscape of Alicante.
Standing 166m high, it is definitely the most prominent landmark in this city and possibly one of the biggest fortresses built during the Middle Ages in Spain. Built by the Muslims in the eighth century, it was re-conquered by King Alfonso X de Castilla in the 12th century, on Saint Barbara’s day.
La Cara del Moro Mountain
From the Beach of el Postiguet, if you look towards the Castillo de Santa Barbara, you may notice that the mountain upon which the castle stands has the shape of the profile of a human face. This is known as “La Cara del Moro” and appears in many postcards and even in Alicante´s coat of arms.
How to Get to the Castle of Santa Barbara
While walking up to Santa Barbara Castle, first you will encounter the neighborhood of la Santa Cruz. Its bright white houses along the narrow streets are full of flowers, contrasting with the blue sky and it is a real pleasure to contemplate. Then you will arrive at park Ereta. If you are already tired, you can sit and grab a bite to eat at a nice panoramic restaurant with an excellent view of the old town. It is even easier to take the elevator at Postiguet Beach and reach all the way up to the Castle.
Things You Should See Inside the Castle
The Castle of Santa Barbara has many interesting things to see, like the palace, cannons and war artifacts, a moat, a lookout tower and the dark dungeons below. La Sala Noble, the chambers of Philip II, el Baluarte de la Reina and the Baluarte de los Ingleses are very interesting places to visit.
A famous fresh water fountain is La Font del Gat, where for nearly two hundred years people have been taking its water to drink at home. A popular Catalan folk song mentions this place in its lyrics. (Walking down from the “Cat Fountain”, a soldier and a girl come back from a tryst.) This song describes the popularity of the gardens of Montjuic as a place for couples to spend some private time together.
The Castle has had some military presence in the last couple of centuries, with a Guard Wing and the garrison courtyard. For a while the castle was used as a prison, but then was abandoned for a long time, until 1963 when it was again opened to the general public.
Live Concerts in the Castle
In the garrison courtyard, on certain summer evenings, people can attend live concerts and performances for free. Don’t miss the opportunity of experiencing and listening to music in a medieval castle under the moonlight, on a warm evening!
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