On the right – the castle-remake of the Seigneur Plage, and a little to the left and above – the ancient Iberian settlement of Turo-Rodo
In the deep gorge of Darial,
Where the Terek rummages in the darkness,
The old tower stood
Blackening on a black rock
M.Yu. Lermontov. Tamara
Castles and fortresses. We got acquainted with the maritime museum of the Spanish town on the Costa Bravo Lloret de Mar, but the interesting places of this town are by no means limited to this museum. Most of those who come here, as it seems to them, its main attraction, the castle on the rock, they see right from the embankment and go to it in the hope of inspecting it. Moreover, it looks very colorful: jagged towers on a steep cliff, everything is just like in a movie. And what is their disappointment when, having reached the entrance, they find themselves in front of the entrance to a residential building owned by a private person.
Lloret de Mar beach
It’s a shame, but nothing can be done!
This is a typical and, by the way, very beautiful castle, which is visible from any point of the main city beach, but this is a remake. On a cliff, at the very end of the beach of San Caleto, it was ordered to be built by Narcis Plaza, a wealthy industrialist from Girona back in 1935. However, a civil war broke out here, and construction lasted for years. Nevertheless, when the war ended, the castle was completed. And although it is closed to the public, it has become a real tourist symbol of Lloret de Mar, known throughout the world for postcards and photographs taken by tens of thousands of tourists who come here to relax.
And at the end of the beach – this is the “castle”
Top view of the castle. It is clearly small, but it looks very cozy.
It should be noted that around the castle and further there is a walking path along the sea. The views from it are simply magnificent, and, having passed all of it, you can alternately visit all the beaches of Lloret, one more delightful than the other, but since we are interested in two things – castles and ancient settlements, we will not go along it, and not reaching the “castle” of Narsis Plaza , turn left and go straight and then right. Higher and higher, and we end up right above his “ancient castle”, where there is a very interesting place – an archaeological park, the ancient Iberian settlement of Turo Rhodo, and from below, from the beach, you can also see it, but its buildings merge so well with rock, what to consider, that this is something interesting (if you do not use the map, of course!) from below is completely impossible.
View of Turo-Rodo down
And this is how it was in ancient times
Remains of the grain storage pit
And so they used this pit …
But if you went up there (better in the morning, then it is not so hot, but not earlier than 10.00), then you can visit the site of a fortified settlement of the ancient Iberians. They were obviously very poor people, but smart. They built themselves a dwelling in a completely inaccessible place. The remains of the walls have been preserved here, and on the basis of the foundations, one of the dwellings was reconstructed along with all its utensils and household tools. You can enter a dwelling, walk there, well, and imagine how people lived here and how much progress gave us. So the slogan “back to earth” sounds great, of course, but before advocating for it, I would advise its supporters to live at least a little here in such an Iberian house, vilify water from the source below, go for brushwood for the hearth, and also on a home-made boat to swim for fish. But, of course, the view of Lloret de Mar is very beautiful from here, I admit it.
The excavation area is not impressive, of course
One house renovated
Inside view: oil amphora and loom
By our standards, a real bum
The roof was reed
By the way, this is the most accessible of the Iberian settlements of Lloret. There are two more, but they are located on the outskirts and it is best to visit them with a rented car. The settlement of Montbarbat is the largest – an area of 5700 sq. m. It is surrounded by walls and defensive towers.
Puich de Castellet lies two kilometers from the city at an altitude of 197.42 meters above the sea. This settlement was also fortified and excavations are carried out there in the same way, the exhibits of which are collected in the city archaeological museum. Which, however, cannot boast of the wealth of its collections, so you can safely exclude it from the visiting program (this, believe my word – a waste of money and time!) However, the presence of three such settlements at once is not very far from each other tells us about the fact that in ancient times this area was densely populated, and the inhabitants of these places were engaged in fishing, and viticulture, and gardening, as well as grazing cattle and engaged in grain farming. But, it should be emphasized that all these excavation sites, as they say, “for an amateur” there are many pits that do not say anything to a non-specialist of stones, although there are walking paths with railings for tourists.
Now, standing on the embankment, you can turn your face to the right (before that we looked to the left), and then over the stone cape, overgrown with pine forest, you can see something like a tower and a flag fluttering above it
It is very pleasant to go there. The places are beautiful. It smells of pine needles and the sea, and on the way you can sit here in this cozy bar overlooking the sea …
But this is already more interesting, because there really is a real castle and not just any, but built in the XI century! And this is where we are going now.
The main tower of the castle
It is named after St. Ioanna – Sant Joan (San Juan), and it is located on a cliff that separates the central beach of Lloret and the beach of Fenals. It is interesting that almost exactly the same construction of a castle with a central round tower stands here on the coast in the neighboring town of Blanes, five kilometers to the south. That is, from these two fortified points, a significant length of the horizon line was observed and all the places on the coast that were most convenient for landing were monitored. Well, and from them, of course, it was easy to send a signal to the Palafolls castle (there was already material about it on VO: “Castle of San Juan and Palafalls” (June 2, 2016), so that in case of an attack, help would come from there.
Remains of his fortress walls
Getting there is easy. Behind the city hall, you need to climb the cape, where the Lloretites erected a monument to the fisherwoman – such a massive lady, bronze which they obviously did not regret, improperly cut, but tightly sewn, and clearly not Gutierrez, and then walk along the sea, climbing the stone paths higher and higher and higher through the pine forest. The castle, also known as a museum, is open from 10:00 am except Monday, and you shouldn’t come too early. The excavation site around its tower is fenced off with an impressive metal fence to prevent different types from climbing into its restored tower.
Reconstruction of the castle
This is what the ruins of the tower looked like when the restoration began.
This very tower is the most interesting thing. It is known about this building that the chapel located in this fortification was consecrated back in 1079, and if so, then this is the oldest medieval building in Lloret, not counting the Chapel of De Los Alegries, consecrated in the same year. In 1208, the castle came under the authority of the local bishop, and it is known that the inhabitants of the fishing village located below hid here from pirates more than once.
View of the stairs in the tower from below
Top view of the stairs. Imagine that you are climbing it, hiding behind a shield and holding a sword …
On the tower flies Sanera – the flag of Catalonia. I had to wait a long time for the wind to dissolve it so beautifully, but what a picture came out!
According to legend, these four stripes are associated with the name of Wilfred I the Hairy (840-897). According to legend, he fought alongside one of the kings of the Frankish state and was badly wounded. The king himself came to him and asked the count what he wanted as a reward for his bravery. To this, Wilfred replied that the best reward for him would be the coat of arms that the king would give him. Then the monarch dipped four fingers into the knight’s blood and traced four stripes across the shield, which have since become the coat of arms of the Barcelona dynasty. However, historians have found that the first reliable mentions of this coat of arms relate only to the reign of the Count of Barcelona Ramon Berenguer IV (mid-12th century), and it was used as the country’s coat of arms only under King Alfonso II of Aragon (late 12th century).
The Genoese tried to take the castle, in 1427 it suffered from an earthquake, and at the beginning of the 19th century, English warships fired on the castle tower and severely destroyed it. But in 1949, the remains of the tower were recognized as the cultural heritage of Spain and its restoration began. Today she looks like new, and, in fact, she is. There is nothing particularly interesting inside, except for a couple of shields with coats of arms and stands telling about the history of the castle with the reconstruction of its appearance. But on the other hand, there is a staircase leading to the very top of this tower and you can climb there along it. And there a fresh wind awaits you, waving the flag of Catalonia (well, what other flag could there be?) On the flagpole and beautiful views of neighboring Blanes and exactly the same tower there and the city of Llolet de Mar, which from here will be visible as on the palm.
We go back past such pitchforks. I liked Villa Aurora very much. I love these futuristic buildings
And many of them are for sale …
That seems to be nothing special, but interesting. It is interesting to imagine how the soldiers of the castle garrison kept watch on this tower day and night, how at the first appearance of the enemy smoke signals were given from here, how containers full of crossbow arrows were fed into the hatch in the center of the floor on a cable. Climbing up the stairs, even with a railing, is quite difficult – you feel dizzy, and going down is even more difficult. And what if there were no railings at all? And so, I had to. But only one warrior, standing at the top, could protect the tower from many enemies, as soon as he pushed harder than the one who was the very first. However, the photograph clearly shows the height from which he would have to fall down onto the stone floor.
There are also such abandoned houses, right in the center
And there are brand new ones nearby: well, like castles!
In Blanes, the fortification walls are better preserved, but in Lloret, the tower has been restored. Visiting both there and there, you can get a visual idea of how the castles of the coastal defense on the Spanish Costa Brava, built in the Middle Ages, looked like.