Miravet – Conquering a Templar Castle

DSCF0948I’m hoping to maybe get a glimpse of the castle of Miravet from the opposite side of the Ebro River but the morning mist has yet to lift and I can barely see the river, let alone anything on the far side. The ferry crossing is closed, so I have to go the long way around and even when I reach the village, I still cannot see the castle. However, I do find the ferry, a 7m square of old planks with narrow bench seats on each side and rusty metal rails.


DSCF0955I follow signs for the castle, winding my way through the small village whose houses cling to the rocky cliffs above the river. Some are undergoing a facelift to appeal to renting tourists or wealthy Spanish city dwellers seeking a holiday home away from the busy coastline. Above the houses and the church, the path becomes steeper and deteriorates into nothing more than a scramble over rocks. I can appreciate how medieval soldiers must have felt when mounting and attack on the castle; staggering upwards through the pine trees, breathlessly trying to find the castle in the mist.



DSCF0957Having succeeded in reaching my goal, I am somewhat insulted that I have to pay €3.50 to enter. Numbered signs tell me about the layout and purpose of each section but it is nothing more than a bare shell. Inside the restored church, the media have gathered with local restauranteurs and council officials to launch a week-long regional food festival. I have to intrude on their celebrations in order to reach the entrance to an incredibly narrow, spiral staircase which I have to squeeze up to gain access to the rooftop. When I eventually pop out, the mist has lifted and I can finally admire the views back down to the village and along the river. On the other side, I can see a road which ascends to the castle car park, but arriving that way would have felt like cheating.


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