Arriving in the Spanish Mediterranean resort town of Alicante, it is impossible not to visit the most famous historical attraction and cultural heritage of the country - the Fortress of Santa Barbara (the Spanish name Castillo de Santa Barbara). The castle of Santa Barbara is located in Central Alicante, on the top of the mountain Benacantil or Benakantil (Mount Benacantil) at an altitude of 166 metres above sea level, within walking distance from the beach, promenade and the rest of the Central attractions of the city. To visit this fortress tourists from all over the country and the world.
The castle of Santa Barbara can be rightly called the hallmark of Alicante, it can be seen from all corners of the city.
The mountain Benacantil and castle of Santa Barbara
They say that rock Benakantil its outline resembles a face. That is why the mountain is also called "the moor's face" (la cara del moro). The truth is we this similarity, no matter how tried, did not notice. However, it is for this reason, the emblem of the city is clearly visible the outline of the face. Here is a serious Spaniards give the mountain and the castle at its top, even on the coat of arms reflected this fact.
How to climb up to the castle Santa Barbara
Although the mountain seems tall, and the castle at its very top looks tiny and so far away, but to climb the mountain Benacantil and go to the castle of Santa Barbara on foot, in 10-15 minutes from the centre of Alicante. There are climbs, both free and paid - for high-speed Elevator.
Paid high-speed Elevator to the fortress of Santa Barbara
The entrance to the high-speed Elevator that serves just one minute to climb to the top of the mountain and get straight to the heart of the castle SATA-Barbara, located on the Boulevard, Jovellanos, opposite the Central Postiguet beach - carrer de Jovellanos 1.
Lift pay, cost of 2.70 Euros per person. Payment through the terminal. Children under 4 years of age and people over 65 are admitted free.
A paid lift is open daily from 10: 00 to 19:45 hours. From 19:45 to 23:10 hours to climb and descend the Elevator is available for free. From 23:10 to 23:30, the Elevator works only on descent, also free of charge.
It's the only thing you will have to pay, not counting Souvenirs and cafes, if you want to buy something or to eat. Everything else in the castle: visit, exhibitions, museums is free.
Free climb to the fortress of Santa Barbara
To climb mount Benacantil and go to the castle of Santa Barbara is completely free. The ascent takes only 10-20 minutes, through the Barrio Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is the oldest district of the city, in which are preserved the way of life of medieval Spain, a very picturesque place, you can walk.
Further, the slope of the mountain, through the Parc de La Ereta (Ereta Park) go to the main entrance to the castle. The Park has plenty of greenery, grow beautiful flowers, smelling of watermelons, a fountain, and from sites located at different heights, a magnificent panorama of the sea and Alicante.
The ascent is equipped with a track with no steps. To go up and down very convenient.
Truths,and in some places, still have to overcome several sections with steps, sometimes steep, but due to this, the lift gets so addictive.
In addition, only making the ascent on foot to the fortress, you can see the mountain Benakantil and the castle from different angles and vertices
In our opinion, the most ideal would be the following route: in the daytime walking through the old quarter and Park up to the castle, on the way admiring everything we see. Further, also in daylight, walk around the fortress, museums, exhibitions and souvenir shops. Towards evening, when it gets dark, also walk around the fortress, the lighting makes it beautiful in its own way, the views of the city from the top of the mountains, just amazing, both day and night when the city glows with thousands of lights. Also in the evening on the territory of the fortress are performances, very interesting for children. And after 19:45 free descend on an Express Elevator.
So we got to the castle Santa Barbara
The main entrance to the castle of Santa Barbara. Here, the check in machines.
Outside the gate is the first observation deck and Parking for cars
Apparently this used to be a stone booth was located security
Here, sentry guns and another point guard
Moving into the territory of the fortress. Continue to go on the car can only walk. It is for these gates is the main part of the castle Santa Barbara.
Passing through the gate, we get to the first Museum. In the building there is a tunnel leading to the high-speed Elevator. Here the lift brings all those who walked, and decided to take the Elevator.
Here begins a digression into the history of the fortress. Here are the coats of arms, paintings of the history of the castle and a small exhibit space for glass.
Move on the territory of the fortress of Santa Barbara in different directions, making a circle and, as it were, skirting the castle grounds. Rising, descending stairs and inclined paths, paved with stone, moving from one platform to another. This whole process is accompanied by celebrations in the spectacular views of the castle, grounds and exhibition exhibits.
The picturesque castle ruins themselves tell the story, not only the fortress but the whole city of Alicante. It was from this fortress that was once the city came into being. Here are the fortifications, the medieval exhibits, in a word, reconstructs the history. Walking around the fortress do not even need a guide, everything is so clearly shown that no matter what language you speak, you will understand everything without words. In this place you bury yourself in history and architecture, once majestic and coveted the city of Alicante.
On the territory of the fortress is an indoor restaurant and open cafeteria.
There are also souvenir shops, which sell Souvenirs with symbols of mountains, castle or city, jewelry and hats, essential oils, and other small trinkets.
In the evening when it gets dark, the fortress conducted performances with artists, dressed in traditional Spanish costumes. In these performances the artists talk about the once existed the Spanish traditions and life in the country. All the concerts, of course, are in Spanish, but to understand what performance is still possible, facial expressions and gestures of the actors. These views are particularly interesting to children, they watch them enthusiastically and mouths open.
In the castle there are several exhibition centers where historical exposure of all sorts of ancient objects discovered during excavations. By the way all museums, performances and exhibitions in the fortress free.
There's an exhibit with vintage photographs and stone fragments, telling the story of the city of Alicante.
Museum, on the big screen which tells the story of how they were born the castle of Santa Barbara, and with it the city of Alicante, shows the historical fragments of the numerous sieges of the fortress and its victories.
In the same room of the Museum is the exhibition of Spanish dishes of past centuries, which failed to detect during excavations in the fortress.
Rising higher and higher, on the grounds of the castle, go to the top of the mountain, the largest and highest lookout of the fortress of Santa Barbara. This site hosted a variety of exhibits - guns, soldiers, defenders and developing a flag with the coat of arms.
From the observation platforms of different heights will enjoy a splendid view over the city of Barcelona, its surroundings from all angles and sides.
The most beautiful panorama is visible, of course, with the highest platform of the castle.
On the left side of the photo seen round the Bullring. About corrida or bullfight in Alicante we described in a previous article, see here.
In the evening, after dark, with viewing platforms of the castle offers a no less impressive view of the city and coast, if not more beautiful day...
Why is a castle called Santa Barbara! Interested?
Based on history, December 4, 1248, the day of St. Barbara (Varvara), Prince Alfonso of Castile, the future king Alfonso X the Wise, and the pressure of heroic courage conquered the bastions of the Arabs. In honor of St. Barbara, which was the capture of the citadel, the castle was named Santa Barbara.
The name of the fortress also corresponds to the eponymous TV series Santa Barbara. Remember this? The longest series in the world, the developments which followed closely even our grandmothers and mothers.
History of the fortress of Santa Barbara
After the conquest of the castle by king Alfonso, in 1296, king James II of Aragon recaptured the fortress, while encountering and conquering fierce resistance. The squad of defenders, under the brave leadership of the commandant of the fortress of Nicholas Paris, defended every inch of the castle as they could, but they still did not help. According to legend, Nicholas of Paris died clutching in one hand his sword and the other with the keys of the fortress. The enemies got the keys only when he cut his hand. The commandant of his heroic act and bravery deserved recognition of not only their compatriots but also their enemies. On the highest point of the fortress he erected a monument of honor and glory. Also on the coat of arms of the fortress is present corresponds to the historical event symbol is a hand clutching the keys to the gate as a sign of resistance of its defenders.
In 1691 the castle of Santa Barbara was shelled by the French squadron. And during the War of the Spanish succession in 1701-1714 years was held by the British for three years.
In 1873, the castle of Santa Barbara along with the city, was fired upon by the rebels with Spanish frigate Numancia.
Since the beginning of the eighteenth century, the fortress gradually lost its military significance and its buildings were used as prison. So she remained in a deserted state until 1963, until after the restoration, nor was open to the public. Renovated and close to the centuries-old history of the wall and the fortress we can see at present. To this day, the castle restaurerede regularly and maintained in good condition.
P. S. to Read about the Fort and its history, consider photos of the panorama of the city and the castle of Santa Barbara is without a doubt very interesting... But it is better to see with your own eyes! Personally, to touch history, to see it on the big screen in one of the halls of the fortress. Enjoy the view of the city from height of bird's flight and to breathe the fresh sea air! All of this, you should definitely do yourself. So, come to Alicante and enjoy its prikrasni personally. And about the city, its beaches and the sea, dishes, restaurants, entertainment, shopping, attractions and much more, read on the pages of our blog, in the category of Alicante!