Treasure or no treasure, there are many reasons for visiting Cervera del Maestre, a small historical town of steep terraced streets that lead down from the castle. This beautiful castle of Moorish origins overlooks the monumental town, which stands atop a rocky outcrop. Here, ancient houses clings teadfastly to the hillside, forming narrow, winding, steep streets, and tracing semicircles that used to help protect the castle in days gone by.Cervera was re-captured from the Moors by the Christians in 1233, but long before this, in 1157, it had been given over by Ramón Berenguer IV to the military order of San Juan del Hospital — a donation that was subsequently confirmed by King Jaime in 1235, the year in which Miguel de Tivisa repopulated the town. In 1319, the castle was given over to the Order of Montesa. While it was in the hands of these two orders, extensions and modifications were made to the onginal enclosure, most notably to the entranceway and to the walls and towers in the south-western quarter.
Inside, visitors will discover the remains of a well, vaults from ancient ovens, and the entranceway with its Roman arch. Originally, the castie had four towers, and the well and fortified walls covered an area of approximately 5,000 m2.
The castle was gradually abandoned in the 17 century, and King Felipe V subsequently ordered its destruction, but it was used once again during Spain‘s Carlist Wars, to control access to the town. From the i18 to the mid 2o century the land around the castle was terraced and soil was brought in for growing cereals and vegetables. Thanks to this, the original layout of the castle and many other remnants have been presenved under a layer of rubble and earth. Visitors to Cervera del Maestre can also visit the Molí de l’Oli old olive Oil mill, which bears witness to the area‘s oil-making tradition, plus the Iglesia Parroquial de la Asunción parish church and the Sant Sebastian hermitage, with a trip to the bell tower nicely rounding off this cultural tour of Cervera del Maestre.
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