What to see in Peñíscola?
The visitor who comes to Peñíscola can not leave town without visiting at least the medieval castle of the Templar order that stands in the center of Old Town. It is a strength that has also had the privilege of being one of the three papal venues (along with Avignon and the Vatican City). Today this building has been declared historical-artistic Monument National is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Peninsula. The construction of this castle, a marvel of military architecture, is a middle way between the robustness of a Romanesque comes to an end and the sobriety of a Gothic begins to break through as a new architectural style. The slightly pointed arches, the use of vaults announce ribbed, the stones perfectly carved and fitted together combined with the nakedness of the walls and the absence of decorative elements make this castle a simple but impressive building worthy of the Order was representing. The castle was remodeled and used as a papal residence by Benedict XIII and Clement VIII. Later, it would also be remodeled by King Felipe II to protect the fort with artillery, changes are still evident throughout the structure. But of equal importance to the castle itself is the Basilica that is inside. Templar origin and reused for the next popes who lived in the castle and Papal Basilica, has architectural peculiarities that make it very special. Crowned by a semicircular apse covered by a dome that rises half an orange over a small window that opens on the wall of the apse and illuminates the space gradually, this small basilica was the venue for them to keep temporarily rest the remains of Clement VIII.
At the foot of the castle we find the hermitage of Mare de Deu dÉrmitana, dedicated to the patron saint of the city and where it is kept and venerated the same. This small and unique temple was ordered built by order of Governor Don Sancho de Echevarría in the early eighteenth century, although there is evidence that there was another in the same place during medieval times.
Equally important are the walls that was built by Philip II in the sixteenth century by the architect Juan Bautista Antonelli. They have three doors to the city, all equally important and Grandis. The door is in the works performed by Felipe II is known as the “Portal Portal Fosc or Philip II” and is giving access to the old city. On the other hand we find the “Portal de San Pere or the Pope Moon,” so named because it was he who ordered the construction of the fifteenth century. In this case, the door was that which gave access to the city directly from the sea, because when the storms raged and the water reached the foot of the wall commercial boats could dock directly on the coast.
In the medieval city center, visitors will find a small church dedicated to Santa María de Peniscola. This is a small temple in which the transverse arches combine targeted and Gothic tracery fully Romanesque elements as building access door flare, the only ship inside or paneled cover. The building had to be rebuilt in the fifteenth century because of a fire. Furthermore, eighteenth-century Medici temple was enlarged in both length and height, adding on the top floor a perforated barrel vault that was illuminated by lunettes. Inside a perfectly preserved treasure that has nothing to envy to the great cathedral treasures, among its parts should be noted a chalice that belonged to Papa Luna, the Shrine of Clement VIII and a beautiful processional cross which has been attributed Benedict XIII.
But not everything is architecture in this city, there are also excellent to visit natural wonders such as El Bufador, it is a curious and enigmatic geological formation unparalleled the Spanish geography. It consists of a tunnel has been excavated in the rock naturally and which has shaped the city. In this tunnel enters the sea when the tide changes leading to loud sounds and elevations of the waters, which come to the surface by the force of water.
On the other hand we have the Sierra de Irta, is a mountain range about 15 miles in length but which reaches a height of 573 meters. It has been an area declared a Natural Park and is now a protected area by this figure. This saw is perfectly designed for outdoor activities like horseback riding, quad or simply stroll along the paths and the signaling pathways that have these exceptional. In addition, hidden by the Sierra is the small chapel of San Antonio, the sixteenth century and from the contemplated unforgettable views of the city that stands at his feet.
Of special beauty and uniqueness are called Columbretes Islands, which represent one of the formations with the greatest ecological island. There are four small islands of volcanic origin that are based on equity of about 80 meters deep. The names given to the different islands are declining in relation to their size, and are known from highest to lowest as Grossa, Ferrera, and Carallot Foradada.
Finally we find the fishing port, something that could not miss in a city with an ancient maritime tradition. Fishing remains a major source of income for the city, besides being one of the most important ports and the largest number of active boats in Valencia. It is also particularly important for the curious visitor to visit the lighthouse, which dates from 1892 and whose light beam reaches a distance of 65 kilometers.