Villena - castillo de la Atalaya
Castillo de la Atalaya
Although there are a number of important historic buildings in the old center of Villena, the biggest attraction of the city is the castle of Atalaya, which means "watchtower". The castle was built by Arabs on Mount San Cristobal, a spur of the Sierra de la Villa. Thanks to the archaeological excavations of José Maria Soler in the seventies of the last century, we know that the origin of the castle of Atalaya dates from the end of the twelfth century. Together with the castles of Petrer, Sax, Castalla and Biar, it is a reminder of the fighting that took place in this region.
The strategic location was perfect for keeping an eye on and defending the surrounding areas. In 1240 the castle was besieged three times before it could be taken. This shows that the castle was very sturdy and robust. The castle was fitted with a double wall in the 15th century. The outside was reinforced with twelve towers. On the inside is the quadrangular main tower, 4 storeys high. The best thing about the tower are the vaults of the first two floors. What is particularly striking is the graffiti on the walls of various rooms made by prisoners of war. They are usually drawings of palaces, crosses and various other buildings.
Marshal Suchet had the castle blown up during the war of independence against the French. From then on the castle was left to its fate. Vagrants and dogs found a home here. For the houses that were built under the castle in the nineteenth century, the stones of the castle were reused. Due to its great historical value and uniqueness, the castle was declared a "Historical Artistic Monument" in 1931. Restoration work and archaeological excavations began in 1958. The valuable pieces are on display today in the Municipal Archaeological Museum. They started with the reconstruction of the beautiful main tower. The walls around the square were also restored in the 1960s. The gates were restored in 1971. Today, the castle of Atalaya is part of life in Villena. Since 1961, the feasts of Moros y Cristianos are announced from the castle with fireworks. The area was further restored in 1990. Today, the castle of Atalaya is a tourist attraction that is visible from far beyond the city.
kind of trip :
* castle
entrance fee
* normal price : 3 euro
* reduced price : 1,50 euro (groups, students, 65+, ...)
opening hours :
guided tours at set times :
* Tuesday to Saturday : 11 am - 12 pm - 1 pm - 4 pm - 5 pm
* Sunday and public Holidays : 11 am - 12 pm - 1 pm
* closed on Monday except when this is a public Holiday
address :
* castle : Calle Mirador, 03400 Villena
  GPS : 38.631459,-0.860881
* entry tickets : Calle General Prim 2, 03400 Villena
  GPS : 38.632772,-0.859704
distance :
* Torrevieja : 89 km, 65 minutes
* Guardamar : 80 km, 60 minutes
* La Marina : 68 km, 50 minutes
most recent update : 12 April 2019