Xativa Castle - History and Facts | History Hit

Xativa Castle

Xativa, Valencian Community, Spain

Xativa Castle is a staggering embodiment of centuries of history, from Hannibal's campaigns to the War of the Spanish Succession and beyond.

Peta Stamper

24 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Xativa Castle

Xativa Castle or Castillo de Xativa in Spain is an imposing twin fortification which embodies the history of not only its town, but the region as a whole. The castle itself is split into its older part, Castell Menor, and its latter counterpart, Castell Major, with evidence of numerous cultures divided between the two including Iberian, Roman and medieval.

Xativa Castle history

Located along the ancient route of the Via Augustus, Xativa Castle is said to be where Hannibal plotted his campaign for the siege of the Roman city of Saguntum as well as being the place where his son was born in 218 BC.

Many other prominent figures have been linked with Xativa Castle, among them Scipio, Sertorius and, as the site of a medieval prison, noblemen including Jaume d’Urgell, who is also buried at the castle church.

With its vital defensive location, Xativa Castle played a role in several important events in Spanish history, including the wars of the Kingdom of Valencia against Castile, the Revolt of the Brotherhoods and the War of the Spanish Succession. In 1092, the castle fell to the Almoravid dynasty who were later expelled in 1145. During the uprising, the castle was besieged and fell to the Almohads.

As a result, King James I of Aragon began his crusade there in 1239 and Xativa Castle submitted to the Christian monarch. The Moors left after two years agreed in a treaty and after which the town was resettled by Christians.

Xativa Castle today

If all of the Xativa Castle’s history isn’t enough of a draw, the medieval defensive walls and the views are captivating. The castle forms the highest point of the defensive walls that once encircled early mediaeval Xàtiva.

Despite its Iberian and Roman roots, most of castle walls and towers preserved today are of Islamic or Gothic origin, and highlights include Porta Ferrissa Gate (‘Iron Gate’) which depicts the city’s coat of arms and the Plaza de Armas the castle’s central courtyard that showcases the features of Islamic and neo-Gothic origins.

Getting to Xativa Castle

Xàtiva lies half way between the provincial capitals of Valencia and Alicante, close to towns such as Moixent, Ontinyent, Alcoi, Gandia and Denia, connected via the A-7. Otherwise, the railway station is located 10 minutes from the city centre on the Avenida Ausiàs March and the easiest way to get to Xàtiva from Valencia is by local train.

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