Castell de Castells: A sanctuary for nature lovers and rock art

A sanctuary for nature lovers, the pictureseque mountain village of Castell de Castells is surrounded by the mountains of the Serrella, Aixortá, Forat Negre and Alfaro, 30kms from the beautiful Costa Blanca coastline. This hidden village has just over 500 inhabitants, nevertheless it has a lot that to offer the visitor throughout the year.Castell de Castells takes its name from the old Moorish castle which sits at the top of the 1050 meters high, Rock of the Castellet. This fortress, built to face the Christian combatants, was one of the last Moorish strongholds and was where the Moors fell to the Christian army of Jaime I, in the thriteenth century at the battle of Petrancos.

The narrow, white-washed streets of the San Vicente area have real character and the Santa Ana Church stands proudly in the main square. The oldest house in the village can be found at 17 San Antonio Street, dating back to 1667. The town hall is based within a former stately home and there are also two museums to visit. Five kilometres outside the village in the area known as Pla de Petracos are ancient Neolithic cave paintings, said to have been painted over 8000 years ago.

The caves, discovered in 1980, have a viewing platform, with the paintings being explained on six interpretive panels. This wonderful and unique attraction has been declared a “World Heritage site” . Castell de Castells is a popular haunt for hikers, mountain bikers and ornathologists alike, with many popular walks in and around the village and the beautiful surrounding area, with different degrees of difficulty.

Spring sees an abundance of both wild and cultivated blossom, from the surrounding almond, orange, lemon crops and multitudes of wild mountain flowers and herbs. Castell de Castells Castell de Castells celebrates numerous fiestas throughout the year, at Easter, mid July, mid August and again in mid September. These joyous and usually noisey celebrations always involve lots of eating, drinking, music, dancing, costumes and fireworks, and are a spectacle not to be missed. Castell de Castells, unlike many other mountain villages, is large enough to support its own Town Hall, resident doctor, pharmacist, supermarket, several bars and two banks.

Visitors should sample the local gastronomic delights prepared with all kinds of aromatic herbs of the mountains, such as the Moorish «cous-cous» dish, accompanied by the excellent wines of the region. Before leaving Castells de Castells visitors often purchase a momento to remind them of their stay such as the locally produced baskets and palm artisans articles. One thing is for sure this wonderful and traditional mountain village will linger in the memory of all who are lucky enough to visit, or luckier still, to live there.

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