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Thursday, June 04, 2015 (read 1514 times)
The Castle of Xativaby Hannah
This magnificent castle, located about 40km and an hour away from Valencia, in the city of Xàtiva, is located on the old Via Augusta, which leads down towards Cádiz and Cartagena. Making the journey up to the castle on foot is recommended, and although a reasonably long walk, the views at the top justify the effort.
- The Castle is built on Moorish, Roman and Iberian remains, and is set in beautiful surroundings, promising magnificent views over the city.
- The origins of the Borgia family, who were particularly prominent in both political and ecclesiastical affairs during the 15th and 16th Centuries, can be traced to the old City of Xàtiva, and the family’s history is displayed within the castle itself.
On the way up to the castle, the remains of certain areas in the Old Muslim town are visible, to the right of the route lies Xàtiva’s old church, the Iglesia de Sant Feliu (1269), and on the opposite side, is the Ermita de San José, which dates back to the 18th Century. The town of Xàtiva sits in the shadow of its castle, at the foot of a hill, rendering getting lost in the city difficult, with the castle as a consistent point of reference. The castle itself has four gateways and 30 towers, and though widely regarded as one of the best buildings in the vicinity of Valencia, the aesthetic value of the castle’s surroundings further add to its value, with herb gardens, orange groves, and a handful of fountains. To the South, the mountains of Grossa, Mariola and Benicadell are visible from the Castle, to the West lies the frontier with Castille, and to the North, the view of the town itself and the gardens and orchards of Xàtiva is particularly impressive. One of the main tourist attractions in the city is the Almudi Museum, which houses the famed upside down portrait of Felipe V.
The Borgia Familiy
Interestingly, the infamous Borgia family actually came from Xàtiva, with Rodrigo Borgia himself, who was Pope Alexander VI between 1492 and 1503, being born in the old town. (The family name was originally Borja before it was Italianized). Each year, a renaissance weekend takes place in the City which transports visitors back to the time of the Borgias; medieval stalls are dotted throughout the town, alongside exhibitions of birds of prey, traditional crafts, and various other themed entertainment. Inside the castle, a chart enabling visitors to trace the genealogical connections of the family is on display; even the Popes of the family went on to have children, and as such the family tree makes for fascinating viewing. In addition, the church of San Pere is the very place Alexander VI was baptized, and within walking distance, the square where he was born may be visited.
During the hotter months of summer, Xàtiva’s temperatures have been known to surpass those in other areas in Spain; its valley location coupled with the hill and the castle providing the city with protection from the sea breeze and retaining heat.
Keywords: castles in spain,spanish castles,spanish castle,castle in spain,xativa,rodrigo borgia,borgia family