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El Castell de Guadalest (or just Guadalest Village) is an inland Valencian village and municipality located in a mountainous area of the comarca of Marina Baixa, in the province of Alicante, Spain. Guadalest has an area of 16 km² and, and according to the 2002 census it had a total population of 189 inhabitants. It’s located about 15 km inland from Altea.
Guadalest is the most visited town in Spain with more than 2 million visitors a year. It was declared a Historic-Artistic monument in 1974. It is extremely picturesque located on a shear sided mountain overlooking and providing magnificent views of the river, the dam which forms a lake, the valley of Guadalest and more craggy mountains. The picturesque Guadalest bell tower perched on a rock pinnacle is now the icon for the province of Alicante and the Costa Blanca.
Guadalest is of Islamic origin and at the time of its construction it was considered a very valuable fortification. It was conquered by Jaime I and given to Vidal de Sarria whose family owned it until 1335, and then later to Prince Pedro of Aragon.
The town has been built in 3 major stages. The entrance to the old fortified town of Guadalest is located through a tunnel part cleft in the rock and part carved through the mountain side that leads to the far side of the mountain and not visible from the main road. Above the tunnel filling the cleft in the rock is a white house. The walled town is built on a high flat plateaux that run along the long narrow mountain side, approximately half way up. The castle (Castle of Saint Joseph) was built before the town runs along the higher ridge. Both the castle and the town were built by the Moors. When the limited space in the fortified town was full, the Moors built additional houses between the mountain base and the modern main road, sometimes referred to as the Moors town. Most of the portion of the town on the other side of the main road is fairly modern being built to support the tourist industry
Both the “Moor portion and the fortified sections of the town” are interesting to view, but the fortified section is the place to head for. Most of the residents have now moved out to nearby towns and have turned there old houses into restaurants, bars, tourist shops, museums and similar ventures to benefit from the tourist boom. Some of the shops have very interesting knickknacks, and craft made items besides the usual tourist goodies. Ideal as a personnel souvenir or as a gift for a relative or friend.
Access to the fortified town and castle is gained through a tunnel named the “Portal de San Jose”, which is a 15 metres long tunnel carved through the mountain side solid rock. This is the only way into the fortified town. The Famous Bell Tower of Guadalest is located on top of a rock pinnacle. On top of another rock pinnacle is a round watch tower, Penon de la Alcala, of which only the lower portion remains. Access to the tower is extremely difficult, making it a good defensive position for the castle.
The man under the tree is sat on top of the rear wall of the fortified town. There are fabulous views looking over the reservoir in the valley below, and the backdrop of hills on the far side of the valley. The rear wall is really a facing of stone over the solid rock face.
The Town Hall was formerly the towns prison and visitors can see one of the dungeons located underneath the Town Hall. Access to the castle ramparts is gained through the Orduna House Museum, the first house in the fortified town of Guadalest. A small fee is payable to view the house and the castle.
The castle was built by the Moors in the 7th century on the highest part of the massive rock outcrop. Because of its location it was virtually impregnable and it’s ruinous state was caused mainly by earthquakes and finished by gunpowder during an attack in 1709.
From the rear of Orduna House Museum runs a set of modern stairs through the shrubbery gardens to the castle on the crest of the ridge.
The views from the top are stunning and coin operated binoculars are available to use. The way out from the castle is vie a route that takes you to the far end of the fortified town near the town hall. The final exit from the grounds controlled by a one way turnstile.
All information on this post is found online.
|Alicante (Spanish: [aliˈkante]) or Alacant (Valencian: [alaˈkant]) is a province of eastern Spain, in the southern part of the Valencian Community. It is bordered by the provinces of Murcia on the southwest, Albacete on the west, Valencia on the north, and the Mediterranean Sea on the east.The province is named after its capital, the city of Alicante.According to the 2009 population data, Alicante ranks as the 4th most populous province in Spain. Cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants in the province are Alicante, Elx/Elche, Torrevieja), Orihuela, Benidorm, Alcoi, Elda and San Vicente del Raspeig.The province has the largest ratio of foreigner population among all Spanish provinces. The total of 446,368 foreigners are registered in the province, which represents 23.6 percent of the total population. Out of 141 municipalities that make up the province, foreign population is above 25% in 54 municipalities, and above 50% in 19 municipalities. The latter include San Fulgencio, Rojales, Benitatxell, Algorfa, Llíber, Teulada, Daya Vieja, San Miguel de Salinas, Calpe, Els Poblets, Alcalalí, Benijófar, L’Alfàs del Pi, Orba , Xàbia, Torrevieja, Murla, Fondó and Benidoleig.From the 50 provinces of Spain, Alicante is the only one with three metropolitan areas: Alicante-Elche, Elda-Petrer and Benidorm, even though only one of them (Alicante-Elche) is ranked within the Spanish top ten metropolitan areas. It has an area of 5.816,5 km², and so it has a population density of 313.8 hab/km².Source: Wikipedia|
|The province is mountainous, especially in the north and west, whereas it is mostly flat to the south.In the Vega Baja del Segura area; the most elevated points in the province are Aitana (1,558 m), Puig Campana (1,410 m), Montcabrer (1,389 m), Carrascar d’Alcoi (1,354 m), Maigmó (1,296 m), Serra de Crevillent (835 m) and El Montgó (753 m). All of these peaks are a part of the Subbaetic Range.The coast extends from the cape, Cap de la Nau, in the north to almost reaching the Mar Menor (Minor Sea) in the south.There are remarkable saline wetlands and marshlands along the coast. All of them are key Ramsar Sites which make the Alicante province of high relevance for both migratory and resident seabirds and waterbirds. Important coastal dunes are present in the Guardamar area which were planted with thousands of pine trees during the 19th century in order to protect the ville from the dunes advancing, which has created an area of remarkable ecologic value.Most of the province belongs to a Semi-arid climate. It roughly goes along the coastal plain from La Vila Joiosa through the southernmost border. Summers are very long, hot to very hot and very dry. Winters are cool to mild. Most of its few rainy days happen during autumn and spring, and its most prominent feature is very scarce precipitation, typically below 300mm per year. The predominant vegetation in this part of the province is Matorral Scrublands including thyme, esparto, juniper and the like.Proper Mediterranean climate is present in the northeastern areas around Cap de la Nau, mostly to its North but also to its South, in diminishing grades until disappearing slightly north of Benidorm. The north slopes of the mountains in the Marina Alta have a remarkably wetter microclimate, which allows to accumulate an average of up to 900mm rainfall per year. The vegetation of this part is an enriched version of the Matorral shrubland and also Mediterranean pine woods.The Alicante Province also has a mostly dry Mediterranean to Continental Mediterranean climate. These are the innermost part of the province and some closer to the sea but at a higher elevation. Here winters are cool to cold and a few days of snow are not unusual. Summers are mild to hot and rains at about 500 mm average and slightly more evenly distributed through the year. The innermost part of this domain is more quite dry while the mountainous part reach slightly higher precipitation figures which allow Kermes Oak woods to thrive.
Due to the dry rain regime there are no major rivers, but mostly ramblas (dry rivers which fill in with water when torrential rains occur).The only remarkable streams are the Vinalopó, Serpis, and, especially, the river Segura. Other minor seasonal creeks (some completely dried out in summer) are Girona, Algar, Amadòrio and Ebo.
The main industries in Alicante Province are intensive agriculture and vineyards. Fishing is important all along the coast. Industry has been historically important in the textile sector. Footwear still remains as the flagship industrial sector of the province, the same is the toys industry. A sector which has gained preeminence during the last 20 years is marble quarrying and processing, it happens mostly in the Novelda and Pinós area. Still, what the province is known for is its massive tourism sector. The Costa Blanca generally mild and sunny weather attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists from other European countries such as the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Norway or France and also from other parts in Spain like Madrid. Thousands of families from other places own a second home in the Alicante Province which they use for their vacation time.
The Iberians were the oldest documented people living in what today is the Alicante Province. Later and along the coast, the seafaring Phoenicians and Greeks settled stable trading colonies and interacted with the Iberians. After a brief Carthaginian period, the Romans took over. Romanization in this part of Iberia was intense. After a brief period of Visigothic ruling, the area was taken by Islamic armies and became a part of Al Andalus. From the 13th century, kings like Ferdinand III of Castile, James I of Aragon, Alfonso X of Castile, James II of Aragon reconquered the cities that Moors occupied. What today is the Alicante Province was initially split between the Crown of Castile and the Crown of Aragon by means of the Treaty of Almizra, however later on the whole territory became under the control of the Kingdom of Valencia, which was a component Kingdom of the Crown of Aragon.
Below is a list of the municipalities in the province of Alicante. We will try and make a blog post of each one of them as time goes by.
Adsubia, Agost, Agres, Aigües, Albatera, Alcalalí, Alcocer de Planes, Alcoleja, Alcoy/Alcoi, Alfafara, L’Alfàs del Pi, Algorfa, Algueña, Alicante, Almoradí, Almudaina, L’Alqueria d’Asnar, Altea, Aspe, Balones, Banyeres de Mariola, Benasau, Beneixama, Benejúzar, Benferri, Beniarbeig, Beniardà, Beniarrés, Benidoleig, Benidorm, Benifallim, Benifato, Benigembla, Benijófar, Benilloba, Benillup, Benimantell, Benimarfull, Benimassot, Benimeli, Benissa, Benitachell/El Poble Nou de Benitatxell, Biar, Bigastro, Bolulla, Busot, Callosa de Segura, Callosa d’En Sarrià, Calpe, El Campello, Campo de Mirra/El Camp de Mirra, Cañada, Castalla, Castell de Castells, El Castell de Guadalest, Catral, Cocentaina, Confrides, Cox, Crevillent, Daya Nueva, Daya Vieja, Dénia, Dolores, Elche/Elx, Elda, Fageca, Famorca, Finestrat, Formentera del Segura, Gaianes, Gata de Gorgos, Gorga, Granja de Rocamora, Guardamar del Segura, Hondón de los Frailes/El Fondó dels Frares, Hondón de las Nieves/El Fondó de les Neus, Ibi, Jacarilla, Xaló, Xàbia, Jijona/Xixona, Llíber, Millena, Monforte del Cid, Monòver, Los Montesinos, Murla, Muro de Alcoy/Muro d’Alcoi, Mutxamel, Novelda, La Nucia, Ondara, Onil, Orba, Orihuela, Lorcha/L’Orxa, Orxeta, Parcent, Pedreguer, Pego, Penàguila, Petrer, Pilar de la Horadada, Pinoso/El Pinós, Planes, Els Poblets, Polop, Quatretondeta, Rafal, El Ràfol d’Almúnia, Redován, Relleu, Rojales, La Romana, Sagra, Salinas, San Fulgencio, San Isidro, San Miguel de Salinas, San Vicente del Raspeig/Sant Vicent del Raspeig, Sanet y Negrals/Sanet i els Negrals, Sant Joan d’Alacant, Santa Pola, Sax, Sella, Senija,