Peñíscola casfle, better known as the castle of Papa Luna, celebrated the 700-th anniversary of its founding in November and the celebrations will continue into 2008. Peñíscola castle was the last to be built by the Order of the Temple before this organisation abruptly disappeared, and is one of the most well preserved Templar castle in the whole of Spain.
Its history begins in the 12-th century when the Moors built a fortress on the site on which the castle now stands, making good use of a strategic site. King Jaime I the Conqueror captured the fortress, and subsequently presented it to Arnaldo de Cardona. Years later, ownership of the castle reverted to the Spanish Crown, upon which King Jaime II granted it to the Templars in exchange for the castle at Tortosa. The construction of Peñíscola castle as we know it began in 1294, and it took 12 years in the building.
The Order of the Temple transformed the Moorish citadel, converting it into a castle and convent. Following the dissolution of the Order of the Temple in 1312, the castle fell into the hands of Jaime II, King of Aragon, who gave it over to the Order of Montesa in 1317. Knights of the Order of Montesa occupied the castle for several years bafore ceding it to Benedict XIII, known as Pope or Papa Luna, who then took up residence there.
During the reign of Ferdinand, the Catholic King, the castle became property of the Crown once again, and it was given an architectural overhaul under King Felipe II. Alongside the Vatican and the Palace of the Popes in Avignon, Peñíscola castle boasts the distinction of being the Papal Seat an honour held by only three places in the whole of history.