One of Europe’s most magnificent Romanesque castles
The cold winter of 1308 brought peace to the castle of Miravet which until then had been one of the most fiercely fought over places in the medieval world. The siege of the troops of King Jaume II against the castle home of the last Knights Templar of the Crown of Aragon had lasted for over a year, until it finally came to a peaceful end on 12th of December.
Visiting the castle today and looking up at its towering 25 metre walls gives you an idea of the political and territorial power this fortress represented. From the mountain where the castle sits the roads lead to the interior of the peninsula, towards Aragon; these along with the Ebro river, a gateway to the sea, weaved their way through a commercial and fiscal network which was controlled for centuries by feudal lords.
The first fort to be built here, in the eleventh century, was the Islamic Murabit (hence today’s name, Miravet). During the twelfth century, the Crown of Aragon gave the castle to the Order of the Knights Templar. By restructuring the Muslim castle and fortifying it with its huge defensive walls, the castle became one of the most powerful of the Crown.
On entering the castle we get a welcome sense of the history of Catalonia. Castles are never just a set of inert stones and through Miravet’s transformation into different architectural uses over the ages we are able to appreciate more than ten centuries of rich history. From the time of the Templars to the Catalan Civil War in the XV century, the Reapers war in the seventeenth century, the terrible war of Succession in the early eighteenth century and the equally terrible Spanish Civil war which brought it into the 20th century Miravet has been at the centre of Catalan history and even today significant political events are held there in recognition of its importance.
Miravet’s imposing presence is set off wonderfully by the spectacular landscape that surrounds it. The powerful river Ebro, the centre of life for the Ribera del Ebre region and the mountains that run along the Mediterranean coast make this one of the most beautiful regions of Catalonia. It also neighbours the Priorat where we find excellent examples one of the great specialities of our country, wine.