Santa Barbara’s Castle

Hi there!

We are back again! After these two weeks off college everything seems to be changed! Long time since last time the four of us saw at each other and we have plenty of things to talk about and to show you… First of all we would like to show you guys some info about Santa Barbara’s castle located in the centre of Alicante. We went there a few weeks ago, and had some nice time together discovering new things we didn’t know about the castle. Here’s a photo of this lovely and recommendable place to visit if you guys are or come to Alicante. And the link to find the timetable to visit it without any problem.

castillo-santabarbara6
Photo taken from Postiguet port

http://www.alicanteturismo.com/santa-barbara-castle-1000-years-history/?lang=en

I have to say the way to get up wasn’t as relaxing and enjoyable as we thought it would be… Actually we complained all the way up about the hike… I suppose we are too old to walk all the way from Mercado Central to the top of Benacantil mount… (laughs) Anyway as we all know we are young people and we all have to complain about everything.. am I right?

Well, to be honest there is another way to go up to the mount… there is a lift in front of Postiguet beach, and older people, pregnant women, and anyone who doesn’t want to enjoy the lovely walk up to the castle, can use it just paying 2.70€ . Of course we took advantage of the lovely although windy day and took the tiring but pretty way to go. I’ll show you in the next picture the possible ways, and the one we took.

shortcut
map of possible ways to get to the castle
ascensor castillo de santa barbara
The lift to get to the castle in front of Postiguet beach

As you can see in the first picture, there is a longer way to go up that is recommended by google. It takes 29 minutes (time will vary depending on your personal walking speed) but we included a maybe no the easiest one because there are to many steps up as the first part is long stairs!, but at least it is shorter than the blue one. The red one is the one we took, and it might have taken us around 10 minutes less than the blue one. We also included a photo of where the lift is, for those who prefer to take it easy!!! (laughs). So there are many different ways to go there apart from walking all the way, people can get there easily by car, by bus in a tour, by bikes, etc…

Once you are there, the first thing you see is the timetable of the castle and a parking area where people and all long buses stop. There are plenty of panels showing you the different areas they have, but the best thing to do is going to the info office and take some brochures with information and maps. It is much easier not to get lost (though it is hard to get lost in the castle) and helps you get to know what you are experiencing.

mapacastillo
This is a map of the main interesting places in the castle

The four of us visited all of them and got surprised how big it is, and how well kept it is… now I’m going to show you some funny pictures we took while we were there!

Two of the photos were taken in the “Macho del castillo” and the other one on the way to the top of the castle.

After some time, we decided to go down, back to Alicante centre. We took a different way to do it, we walked along the “muralla” that used to surround all the castle to protect it from enemies. We walked that way and went down until “Plaza la Ereta,” (a beautiful park to visit) and ended up in Santa Cruz Barrio, which we mentioned before in one of our last post! Suddenly we saw the castle from the side or rather, we saw the the mountain the castle sits on and realized that there was a funny thing there… the silhouette of the mount was kind of a face. Julieta, who has lived here for ages, told us the story of this silhouette.

First, here is a picture of the silhouette. See if you can identify the face in it.

santabarbara1
silhouette of Benacantil mount

Well, as maybe you still didn’t realize, we will enlighten you… (laughs) on the left side at the top there’s a man’s silhouette, and it is called by all the locals as “La cara del moro.” Many locals know the story of la cara del moro. So the story goes like this: A long time ago, when the Muslims were in here, there was a “Califa” that governed this area. He lived in the castle with his family, but he loved above everything his daughter: Cántara. She was beautiful and many men were interested in her, but her father would only allow the best one to be with her. One day she met the two best possible men. One of them was Almonzor, who was a general from Cordoba, and the other one was Alí a handsome young and seductive guy who was in love with the princess.  She couldn’t decided who was the right one for her so she asked them to do something special or bring something beautiful to her. The one that surprised her most would win her. Almonzor traveled a long way to bring the most rare gifts, however Alí decided to build a way to bring water to the city from Tibi,  which wasn’t easy, but he wanted to be near Cántara. Every single day he could he went to the castle to visit Cántara and she fell in love quickly. Unfortunately, when Almonzor came back with his beautiful gifts, the Califa chose him for his daughter, not Alí. Cántara was extremely sad about this and tried in vain to convince her dad, but his mind wouldn’t be changed. Alí decided he couldn’t live without the princess so he decided to jump from the castle. After this Cántara could not bear living and jumped too. The Califa couldn’t believe how blind he was and couldn’t forgive himself for driving his daughter to her death. …So he also jumped from the mountain. According to the legend, the silhouette we see in the mount is the Califa’s face.

Analysis:

Well, it is easy to realize that St. Barbara’s Castle is part of Alicante tangible and intangible heritage, so not only the staff who work there not even the visitors that go there have to care for it, but everybody who lives in Alicante also has to take care of it and cooperate with the wellness of the cultural and historic heritage. It is clear that one of the best promoted places in Alicante for visitors is this castle, not only because it is very easy to access as it is located in the city centre, but also because this cultural and historic resource has been transformed and adapted into a cultural and historic tourism product, so that tourist can enjoy it, the good thing of this castle is that even thought there is always people, it is not overcrowded, and the majority of visitors are older people and their behavior is very good. On the other hand we must mention that there are some physical impacts on the castle such us some vandalism by youngsters who do not respect heritage, and of course due to the time weather conditions the war that there was in the castle and many other factors, some of the walls are very deteriorated. As well as this we would like to mention the fantastic way of interpretation that the whole site has, this interpretation facilitate a lot the information that visitors receive when they get there, maybe we cannot say that the castle has the more modern way of interpretation but at least it is very helpful, with all the explanation required to understand what happened long time ago there without being disrespectful as the battle that took place there was between moors and Christians, and the message provided in the interpretation in this case cannot be offensive it has to be very sensitive for all the visitors.

Thoughts:

I had been to the castle before. The first time when I went up in the castle I took an elevator which we can find just near to the beach. But this time we walked all the way and reached up. It took us somehow 20 minutes. We really enjoyed the view from the top and also we can find more about the history of Alicante once we get there. I recommend all of you if you want to go to the castle then you must go after 17:00, once you finish looking everything in the castle you can watch breathtaking view of sunset which is the best thing we can see from the castle in the evening. -Ayushma

I absolutely love going up to the castle. As an american, seeing them is always really exciting and I tend to turn into a little girl again. The views are incredible, both from below and up above. Before going with Julieta, I was unaware of the story behind the look up, so that enhanced my already high appreciation of the place. -Rebecca

Analysis:

Well, it is easy to realize that St. Barbara castle is part of Alicante tangible and intangible heritage, so not only the staff who work there not even the visitors that go there have to care for it, but everybody who lives in Alicante also has to take care of it and cooperate with the wellness of the cultural and historic heritage. It is clear that it is one of the best promoted places in Alicante for visitors is this castle. This is not only because it is very easy to access from its location in the city centre, but also because this cultural and historic resource has been transformed and adapted into a cultural and historic tourism product so that tourists can enjoy it. The best part of this castle is that even thought there is always people, it is not overcrowded, and the majority of visitors are older people and their behavior is very good. On the other hand we must mention that there are some physical impacts on the castle such us some vandalism by youngsters who do not respect heritage. And of course, due to the time, the weather conditions, and the war that there was in the castle and many other factors, some of the walls are very deteriorated. As well as this we would like to mention the fantastic way of interpretation that the whole site has. The interpretations facilitate a lot the information that visitors receive when they get there. We cannot say that the castle has the most modern forms of interpretation, but it is very helpful regardless, and includes all the explanations required to understand what happened long time ago. This is accomplished without being disrespectful to any visitors, as the battle that took place there was between Moors and Christians.  The message provided in the interpretation in this case cannot be offensive it has to be very sensitive for all the visitors.

 

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