Considered the Jewel in the crown of Castellón, Morella is a beautiful town in the north of the province. It is surrounded by an emblematic wall of more than 1500 meters in perimeter that has stood the test of time throughout history, which has incorporated the Neolithic, Iberian, Roman and Muslim cultures. This city so captivated the eccentric King James 1st that he defined it as a city exclusively for kings. It is the main capital of the region of Els Ports, situated right in the centre, its 413 square kilometres makes it the largest town across the province. It is also considered a key point between the Ebro Valley and the Mediterranean Sea, as well as an indisputable central axis between the communities of Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia.
Bordering directly Aragon with the province of Teruel, offers a slightly cooler summer, which defines it as the ideal place to visit this city in the hottest months. Morella thus becomes more than just an alternative to the coast; it is a perfect choice which combines the beaches located just over half an hour away, the city is only 60 kilometres from Costa de Azahar.
This is a picturesque village with its beautiful medieval court, its history, excellent gastronomy with selected and classic restaurants also an extraordinary architectural beauty with all this combined gives it its own personality and unique character.
Disputes and constant fighting between Muslims and Westerners, has made Morella an indispensable part of the list of the most beautiful villages in Spain, and has for all the turmoil for centuries created a special niche in the history books.
Considered an extraordinary example among the most popular Gothic cities, Morella has been declared a town of cultural interest and is classed as Historic and Artistic.
Some of the essential places to visit in Morella are:
The Archpriest Church of Santa Maria
The Archpriest Church of Santa Maria is an exceptional Gothic work, which also incorporates numerous details of Baroque art.
With a facade characterized by doors especially dedicated to the Apostles and the Virgin, inside it offers a spectacular compendium of architectural gems, difficult to overlook.
Rumours have it that a father and a son, both sculptors, decided to build two doors, one wanted to see perfection and the other beauty. Following a legendary discussion which ended in the "triumph" of the father, which resulted in the spectacular door dedicated to the Apostles.
Although changes have been made, some of them more typical of Baroque art, the Archpriest Church of Santa Maria in Morella is considered one of the most beautiful temples of the Mediterranean environment.
Morella Castle is a masterful fortification, in which every stone contains stories, legends, alliances and conflicts. Thus forming scenes of countless battles, but incurring very few defeats.
Built at the highest point of the Muslim town of Morella in the thirteenth century, its Islamic architecture has been slightly altered on numerous occasions by its Christian leaders.
With its 2 and a half kilometre walls, 14 towers, 6 doors, the Governor's Palace, the peculiar Plaza de Armas (Armoury square) or Celoquia Tower making this a striking building, which for a while had been turned into one of the most feared prisons in Spain.
The convent of Saint Francesc
Approved since 2004 as a National Treasure, this was a former convent of Gothic art very typical in Catalonia and Valencia.
In this brilliant and popular religious monument, you can imagine the daily life of former Franciscan friars. A way of life and daily work routine easy to reproduce in its well-preserved rectangular cloister, the chapter hall attached to it, and its monumental church in which emphasize its arches and original wooden roof.
Its construction started in 1272, and until the inauguration of the church, many years later, the Friars made use of a temporary chapel created in tribute to San Vicente Martir.
The great wall of Morella
This is the very core of the city, shaping and thus forming its own silhouette. It consists of a great wall that was built to protect the castle and the whole village from enemy attacks.
Although its origin is prior to the Conquest of James I, the present wall dates back to the fourteenth century. This is built on the highest part, where the city is located. It is about 10 meters high and about 2 meters thick.
It was almost entirely destroyed in the great battle in which was eventually won by the troops of El Cid, although it was later rebuilt beautifully.
An Important part of the wall had to be demolished in 1934 to allow the passage of vehicles. Thus, in order to reach the historic centre of Morella, you have to access through an arch that takes you through a small tunnel which then leads into the deepest bowels of the classic Morella.
The Aqueduct of Saint Lucia
This was created in 1318 with the aim of supplying water to the city, allowing the flow of water from the aquifer source Vinatxos to the famous Plaza de la Font from the centre of Morella.
With its undisputed Gothic stature, the Aqueduct of Morelia has been declared by the Valencia Government as a landmark of Cultural Interest.
The Temps Museum Dinosaures (Time of Dinosaures museum)
The city of Morella has been the scene of many discoveries related to palaeontology such as the Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous. Where an abundant amount of Dinosaurs remains have been found, this has led to the creation of a museum that offers the strongest testimony to the high paleontological level of Morella and the rest of the region, where also they have found fossilized remains of dinosaurs and ornithopods, herbivores, molluscs, and corals, amongst others.
The museum has a wonderful exhibition which highlights the different models of dinosaurs, as well as an exact life-size replica of an Iguanodon.
The Prehistoric caves, traditional Casas Solariegas (a nobleman’s house), the legendary Nevero medieval (cold storage well under ground) and its spectacular City Hall together makes this beautiful Castellon town a varied and most interesting place that should appear on everyone’s list of must-visit, a place where history is present at every step and turn.
Since Peñíscola is considered as another jewel in the Castellons crown (in this case referring to the coast), Morella becomes the perfect choice for a day trip if you are going to be staying at our Hotel Servigroup Papa Luna. Where you can experience first-hand the combination of sea and inland which makes Peñíscola and Morella.
We wait to welcome you…!!
Images courtesy of Morella Town Hall.