Military Review

Castle San Juan and Palafolls

Thank you for the detailed story with photos. Unfortunately, few people now devote time to writing such articles. I look forward to continuing, I really want to know about other major castles in Europe!
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I would like to start this material ... with an apology. Well ... it does not work, Eugene, to write about the other major castles of Europe, because these castles are just a lot. And I was only in several castles in France, in Spain and in one castle near Kaliningrad (or rather, what was left of it!), That's all. So, alas, I have very few personal impressions. However, when there is enough information at hand, as it was, for example, with Conwy's castle, then why not write. But still it is not so interesting. However, why not take advantage of the opportunity, and not to tell about those castles in which I really was, I photographed them myself and climbed everything? Not too scientific, but based on my own impressions. And if the readers of VO have nothing against it, and I hope that they have not, then this time I will do it.

Watch tower and the wall of the castle of San Juan, Blanes, Costa Brava.

And it was so that when I came to 2013 for a holiday in Spain, there was no such thing in the hotel where I had a triple room booked ... And we were temporarily accommodated in two rooms, which was, of course, not very convenient - my wife and I were in one, the daughter and granddaughter were in another, and for a while we just ran from room to room in search of the right things that turned out to be in different suitcases. True, from the very beginning I showed the administrator my card of an international journalist and said that the duty of journalists is to write about everything that happens to them. And they can write about the same thing very well and very badly! In response, the administrator nodded his head and by the dinner they found the number! And they didn’t just find them, they apologized, and together with the apologies, they issued a card to the restaurant’s bar for free consumption of local wine in the desired quantity! So that at lunch and dinner, we now had wine, and also free wine.

I immediately asked the bartender, and what wine from those he has at the exhibition, he drinks himself, and he showed me a bottle of Palafolls - white, rose and red. We immediately tried to spill it, and the wine really turned out to be very tasty. So then we took only it and already regularly. On the label was an image of the ruins of the castle, and I asked the bartender where he was? “And here it is nearby!” He replied, and I decided that ... I would definitely see it.

And here we went by train to the neighboring town of Blanes to watch the arboretum “Marimurtry”, and exactly halfway, on a steep hill, I saw the ruins of this castle. And in Blanes itself, on a high cliff, where the Marimurtry gardens are located, I also noticed the high fortress tower of the castle of San Juan. History I myself was in my hands, and was it possible to refuse it? “Wait for me on the beach at the cliff,” I told my women and went to this castle, but they refused and went down, as the road up was very steep. True, and picturesque! On one side of the house, ingrown into the rock, on the other - the roofs of houses, also ingrown into it, but below the level of the road.

If I were on the site of the builders, I would put the castle right here, although ... it is possible that they were right when they erected it higher and away from the sea.

All guidebooks say that the castle is located in the northern part of the city of Blanes at an altitude of 173-m above sea level, and that from there a beautiful view opens not only of the city itself, but of all its surroundings, and this is indeed so. It is further reported that it was built in the middle of the XII century by Viscount Cabrera on the ruins of a fortress from the era of Roman rule. Moreover, it was noted that the castle was invulnerable, and I readily believed it when I climbed the beautiful asphalt road to the top. But I was walking light, and the soldiers of that time were dragging along a narrow “killed” road, and this is the question: what did they carry up on equipment and food? If these were pirates who arrived to rob the coast, then where did the "transport" and the horses come from? And if the neighbors, then ... what prevented them then this lonely castle. Was it because of one sadism that they climbed so high as to kill his defenders?

Right view of the city.

It is known that in the 16th century, when attacks by pirates from the sea abruptly became more frequent, a high watchtower was attached to one of the walls. At the end of the XVI century, the castle was sold to the private ownership of Francesca Montsada - a Spanish military man, a diplomat and a writer. Honestly, I do not quite understand what he did with this pile of stones, because, apart from the tower, there is not a single room under the roof! In 1949, it was added to the Spanish cultural heritage list on time - almost all of its buildings, and even part of the wall was destroyed. But today the walls were repaired, so that they can be inspected. As for the watchtower, it was not necessary to restore it, but inside it was not accessible.

Entrance to the castle.

Having walked around the perimeter of the castle, I was convinced that the people in it were incredibly cramped, for it is a 25 rectangle on 30. A stone water tank, some “transitions” and courtyards, a tower and everything was preserved! If I were an enemy commander, I would not even rise here. Moreover, to give a signal from the tower with smoke and fire is easier than light, and it will even be visible in Barcelona on Montjuic! So, help to the defenders from the side will certainly come and ... why then, for me and my people, to come then and kick their feet, climbing up? This “strengthening” disappointed me greatly, and I went down, rejoicing on an overcast day. Lucky!

Spanish children storm the castle.

And here I see a narrow staircase steeply descending to the sea. Once again lucky! Do not wind down the highway! He went, and to meet me a whole bunch of children in blue ties and yellow shirts - a Spanish school camp. Every school has this form of summer leisure for students. Everyone, including counselors - strong guys and girls, has the same shape, visible from afar. I saw how they were taught to swim and paddle on the beach on the beach, how they were led to museums and parks in the city - well done Spaniards, one thing can be said.

The watchtower of the castle of San Juan.

Entrance to the tower. Watch in the castle is nothing more!

Children climb upstairs, and the last girl is a Negro girl with pigtails and a backpack behind her shoulders. The legs are thin, the baby herself ... And the leader - “Pronto! Pronto! ” I told her: “Poor child, take a rest, do not hurry. The castle will not run away! ”And she told me:“ Oh, at least one kind person, and that foreigner! ”So they parted.

Palafolls castle on the hill.

The next day, under the impression of what he saw, he decided to see the Palafolles castle. "Taxi? How much - Very expensive! Sorry! ”- and went on foot, it turned out that this was another pleasure. The highway on the left from Barcelona to Girona is beautiful! The curb on the right is clean and wide! Around nature. On the fields covered with black film, blacks work, greens and flowers are all around, birds are singing, in short, everything is as it should be. People from cars rushing past show a big finger - they say, well done, man, you walk with your feet! He walked five kilometers and now he is at the top of Cerro del Castillo hill. The highway, however, led me away from him, and led to the hill and the castle in a purely Russian "killed" road, well, just like here in the outback. I walked along it and went to the foot of the hill, and there ... a village on its slope. It was called Mas-Carbo and, passing along one of its streets, I involuntarily thought that either it was attacked by aliens and all of its inhabitants were kidnapped, or a neutron bomb was blown over it. Everything is whole, in the pools, in the courtyards - toys, on the football field lies a ball and ... none of the people can be seen, as if they evaporated!

Plan settlement Mas-Carbo.

There was no one to ask where the castle was, but it was necessary to ask, because it is not visible near, but only from a distance. And where to go, where to look for it? He walked, walked, was amazed at the quality of “village buildings” (all made of stone, and what kind of stone, all pools in the courtyards), and then very fortunately a very young girl in shorts and a T-shirt came out of one such mansion, although she stammered, she explained that I had to go straight and straight ahead, and then I had to turn left, and there would be a castle that the senor was looking for. By the way, in this “village” there was an excellent modern stadium, a restaurant (working, however, only from 12 hours), and also an old church - “live, I don't want!”.

House in Mas-Carbo for sale. Oh, I would like that!

Another house in Mas Carbo.

Well, and then I saw the ruins of the castle. In one of the guidebooks he is called “great”, and if he wrote this, he lied, then very little. And most importantly - how much I did not read about locks, but I did not see this. The fact is that it is located on a high and elongated hill, and there is very little space up there. So it is built literally on ... "razor blades." It is believed that it was built back in the 968 year to protect the fertile valley of the Tordera River, and to control the road from Barcelona to Girona, which then ran along the coast. Prior to that, there seemed to be a Benedictine monastery, so the place was also “namolenny”, and therefore particularly convenient.

Even today, Palafolls castle looks very impressive.

In 1002, by decree of the Counts of Barcelona, ​​Ramon Borrell and Hermesinda Carcassonne, the castle was handed over to Viscount Girona - Sanifred. However, since 1035, the owners of the castle in the documents called the Palafolls family. The whole XIII century they finished building it and fortified until it became one of the most fortified castles on the coast. In 1229, Gouillem de Palafolls accompanied Gouillem de Moncada during the conquest of the island of Majorca by James I the Conqueror, and the castle itself by that time had significantly increased in size. Well, the fertile and well-groomed lands that were located around the castle gave its masters a good harvest, and thus brought them wealth and prosperity.

The plan of the castle is Palafolls, but you can’t figure it out, because all the signatures are in Catalan. 23 is a restored chapel, and 41 is a watch tower.

But this is his reconstruction, and at least something is clear on it.

When one of the heirs of this family married Viscount Cabrera, as a wedding gift he got Palafolles castle with all its richest land allotment. True, he did not stay long in his hands, but then in 1370, a civil war began in Catalonia. The castle was needed by the crown, and the then king ... first traded it from the Palafolls family to Aragon Castle (after which its representatives became the Marquises of Ariza), and then sold it to Viscount Bernard IV Cabrera in 1382 for 21,000 pounds. But there was no proper care for him anyway, and he began to break down. In the XVI century, the castle experienced a rebirth, as it was needed to fight pirates. He was armed with artillery, but a century later, all the property from him was sold by auction, and he himself eventually turned into ruins.

Chapel. And someone already signed the wall ...

Vaulted ceiling in the chapel of Palafolles Castle. But inside is very, very empty!

Well, in the meantime, the road led me right to the site in front of the castle ruins. There were no buses, no crowds of tourists, but no rubbish. Well, now is the time to recall the ... safety regulations when visiting such structures destroyed by time, which are also far from any housing. They are easy to remember, but they must be followed! First, children cannot be allowed to climb into these debris alone. Secondly, you should walk inside them only along the beaten paths and not get anywhere else! Stones that are so durable in appearance can fall off easily from time to time and overwhelm you. You can not climb the walls if there are no stairs with railings.

The gate of the castle Palafolls. The slots of the descending lattice are clearly visible.

You shouldn’t turn over the stones either, as a snake or a scorpion can lie beneath them. But you can and should take pictures, but also ... not everything, but after thinking about it and not just do selfies in the style: “me and the wall”, “me and the bush”, it’s not necessary to go to Spain. However, no, there is another very important rule, which many very often for some reason forget: do not write anything on the walls. The inscription: “Vasya was here!” On the wall of a castle of the thirteenth century looks very stupid and uncivilized. We simply do not have the right to be like barbarians, wherever we are, because there is a great country behind us!

Loopholes and fastenings for beams in Palafolles castle.

To date, only the chapel has been restored in the castle, the castle courtyard and the observation tower, where the metal staircase and the entrance lead, are put in order. Everything else - the ruins, but for him you can read his story as a book, and that is exactly what is interesting! First of all, we note that the castle is very narrow. The slopes of the hill on which it is located are so steep that he did not need any ditches. It was possible to approach it only from the ends. And the laying on it is very interesting - layers from the tenth century to the fourteenth century, when the castle reached its present size. The watchtower also faces a steep slope, to the east. In the western part of the hill also has a very steep slope. But there is at least a platform leading to the gate. That is, the ends were the most vulnerable, and, therefore, strengthened them best. Here, the flag of Catalonia flutters over the highest place of the castle, that is, any tourist here, as well as in other places, immediately realizes that ... "Catalonia is not Spain!", That is, Catalan separatism flourished and flourishes.

By the way, being inside such castles as Palafolls, carefully inspect the walls. You can see traces of fireplaces on them, because they loved to sit by the fire even in warm Spain, not to mention other countries. And here you just will see a fireplace, and there, where it - there, means, there was also a dungeon! But here special attention should be paid to the small square holes in the walls above the fireplace, as well as above and below the windows. They inserted square wooden beams, which laid the floors! Yes, yes, there was a lot of wood in medieval castles! The walls were a simple box, and all the floors between the floors were wooden! Only in the castle chapel, the ceiling is stone, vaulted, and the roof is tiled, and in ordinary rooms even the floor of stone tiles was laid on wooden bars.

Castle Palafolls. Pay attention to the fireplace in the wall.

Castle San Juan and Palafolls

Well, about the views before you, which you can admire from the watchtower, you can not say: it redeems any road here. By the way, in the distance you can see the city of Blanes and on the hill above the city - the castle of San Juan with its observation tower. It was enough to light a fire there and pile on it with wet straw, as you would have noticed at once in Palafalls castle.

By the way, now you know how to find the castle chapel. As a rule, it was a room with paintings on the walls and a vaulted ceiling. And in the chapel there could be windows in the shape of a cross, and a stone bowl should be placed in one of the walls. The cup was needed to pour water into it and rinse the chalice in it - the sacred vessel used during the services. In the castle Palafols chapel restored, but no murals there, alas, has not survived.

Donjon. View from the chapel.

I went to the watchtower, and a man in glasses, shorts, and with a backpack over my students wore down from it. I told him in the Spanish manner: “Oh, la!” And he suddenly said to me in English: “You are not Spanish!” “Yes,” I say, “I am Russian from Russia. And who are you? ”“ I, ”said,“ an American architect, fond of the architecture of medieval castles. My two women are a wife and daughter on the beach in Blanes! ”I told him:“ I am a Russian historian, fond of the history of medieval castles. My three women: wife, daughter and granddaughter on the beach in Malgrad de Mar! ”

He smiled so amusingly, but, I see, he stretches his hand to me and says: “We are both slightly insane, but we belong to great countries, and we can afford it!” I nodded, we shook hands with each other and parted. That is how it recognizes that we are a great country. Immediately and without hesitation. It would seem a trifle, but it was nice!

Loophole for shooters.

But only I got out of the castle on the road, as two Germans caught me on bicycles. Bare to the waist and so sweaty that the sweat from them fell just in drops. I have never met such sweaty people. The pedals are obviously spinning and screaming: “Castle! Castle! ”Well, I showed them the Castle and took the road back. And from a distance the castle seemed to me much more monumental than when I was next to it! Such was the “castle history” in Spain in my life.
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  1. Reptiloid
    Reptiloid 2 June 2016 06: 40
    Thank you, Vyacheslav, for sharing what you saw with us. You showed interesting places.
    Unfortunately, I again have skips of articles. I have to go to the cottage, and there it’s hard to get there. I hope that soon everything will work out there and for a while my mom will not need me there.
    1. kalibr
      2 June 2016 08: 28
      Oh, oh, cottage! The only place where I can stupidly dig and hose! And think nothing! What a blessing it is not to think about anything, not to study the texts of books and articles in your head, but just to stand and water! Yesterday it was watered ... oh, good!
      1. Reptiloid
        Reptiloid 2 June 2016 10: 23
        You have a good summer residence. I have a slightly different one. But the question is, for some reason I was hoping for a continuation of the article on the Beziers Cathars. I thought --- holidays will pass, an article will appear, but apparently it will not?
        1. kalibr
          2 June 2016 10: 54
          You know, I think I wrote everything. What did he know ...
  2. Korsar4
    Korsar4 2 June 2016 07: 06
    Right. The beach is a good thing. But when you do what you like, is it not happiness.
  3. Head
    Head 2 June 2016 07: 38
    I read the article, recalled my story of visiting Belver Castle in Mallorca, and even laughed. I, my wife and daughter went to watch Belver, we decided to walk from the promenade to Belver, because it is very clearly visible on the hill, but when they came to the foot of the hill they realized that we did not know the road, because it is visible only from afar. As those Germans from the article are already sweating (because of the heat), he asked the way and some peasants who were sitting in the cafe, so they are kind of local, but they don’t know the way. Well, they don’t go there, they don’t need to. As a result, I saw two policemen. I asked them. Well done, they very politely explained everything, gave a tourist map of Palma and wished them good luck and a good vacation. We examined the castle with great pleasure. Amazing. If there is an opportunity, tell us about it. You are very good at it.
    1. kalibr
      2 June 2016 07: 45
      The article is ready and will be posted next week ...
  4. Mikhail Matyugin
    Mikhail Matyugin 2 June 2016 08: 08
    the last black girl weaves with pigtails and a backpack behind her. The legs are thin, the baby herself ... And the counselor - “Pronto! Pronto! ” I told her: “Poor child, rest, do not rush. The castle will not run away! ”And she told me:“ Oh, at least one kind person, and that foreigner! ”
    Europeans - they are! Yes, and in relation to the representatives of the Negroid race! Schnelle, Schnelle! Arbeiten, Arbeiten! bully As they say, it's in their blood!
    1. Anglorussian
      Anglorussian 2 June 2016 17: 00
      Europeans - they are! Yes, and in relation to the representatives of the Negroid race
      How did the Europeans not lynch her?
      1. kalibr
        2 June 2016 18: 21
        What are you - there is complete love for them. But peculiar! The school classroom negrityata par with the Spanish guys. Blacks from the USA - well ... this !!! But blacks from Africa work in the fields, sweep the streets. Somehow, near my hotel, the sewerage system got clogged and flooded out of the manhole ... Two Spaniards arrived in a Municipal Services car. Both are white! Nearby stood a negro with a broom and watched in awe as they first pumped out all the r ..., then they fixed everything there, took a shower and left. One Spaniard noticed that I was watching all this and in good English asked what was so interested in the tourist senor. I tried to explain and in this I heard that in such towns these "in yellow overalls" - "elite". Getting there to work is difficult, and the salary is higher than in the police. Well, g ... flows very rarely! For blacks "from there" (he nodded his head at the sea), this is an unattainable dream.
  5. Reptiloid
    Reptiloid 2 June 2016 10: 14
    I will deviate a little from the topic. I liked the article about the Crusaders of the North of Europe, I read it with pleasure. The photos are wonderful and very necessary chronological list. Very detailed and useful information !!
    1. kalibr
      2 June 2016 11: 04
      Here is the continuation of the crusaders: hospitals, templars, crusaders, Reconquista, crusaders against the Hussites.
  6. RPG_
    RPG_ 2 June 2016 10: 19
    A wonderful story about a European castle. I ask ... no, I demand continuation !!!
    1. kalibr
      2 June 2016 11: 56
      The "consumer" is always right! Once you demand, it will be. There will be material about Bellver Castle, then about Kolossi Castle and a number of other castles. I will try to strain my "friend" D. Nicolas. He was a BBC announcer in the Middle East, where he was, at one time he sent me black and white photos of castles and fortresses, where he visited. I will ask for help, it will suddenly come out.
  7. EvgNik
    EvgNik 2 June 2016 17: 58
    Thank you, Vyacheslav, a great article, it smelled of old. Only in the evening I got to her - also garden-garden-firewood, in general, summer chores. Now I’m having a smoke, the second time I will go over the article, more carefully.
    1. kalibr
      2 June 2016 18: 24
      There will be a few more articles on locks. It is a pity this year to get "there" was not possible, which means that there will be no more personal impressions.
  8. EvgNik
    EvgNik 2 June 2016 18: 41
    Another question, Vyacheslav. Did you have an article about Neuschwanstein Castle? A beautiful castle, there is wallpaper on the monitor. Castles generally like waterfalls and mountain rivers.
    1. saygon66
      saygon66 2 June 2016 19: 35
      -Sorry, but Neuschwanstein, the castle of Louis of Bavaria, the Nutty - this is a hotel, not a castle in the full sense ... Royal "toy" and a remake ... But beautiful - not to take away!
    2. kalibr
      2 June 2016 22: 24
      No, it was not! But I do not like the story of his unfortunate creator.
      1. EvgNik
        EvgNik 3 June 2016 05: 11
        Quote: kalibr
        But I do not like the story of his unfortunate creator.

        I’ll look on the Internet. I did not see anything, but the view from several sides is magnificent. And it’s in a beautiful place.
        1. saygon66
          saygon66 3 June 2016 19: 01
          - Eltz Castle, Germany ... "Real" castle ... With an interesting history!
  9. SlavaP
    SlavaP 2 June 2016 22: 11
    Thank you Vyacheslav for the article. I envy a little: I’m sorry I’m not a journalist, I’m writing clumsily and photographing even worse ... We have plenty of castles in Britain, I have been to Warwick, Edinburgh and Anik. And even more castles in Ireland, especially on its west coast.
    1. kalibr
      2 June 2016 22: 27
      If you want to write, especially since you have one material here, I would gladly teach you some professional tricks - just write in a personal. And photographs are now taught remotely too, there are all sorts of courses where you can enroll, especially in England. You will not regret!
    2. The comment was deleted.
  10. Kombrig
    Kombrig 2 June 2016 22: 45
    Thank you for another interesting article ... By the way, is that castle near Kaliningrad not on Balga?
    1. kalibr
      3 June 2016 07: 05
      No - Shaaken!
  11. saygon66
    saygon66 3 June 2016 10: 57
    - I have not heard about the reconstruction of Balga ... And the castle is very interesting ...
    - The enthusiasts restored Shaaken - on their own, and, rather, the Shaaken is an outpost - small in size ... We can say that this is a border outpost - on the other hand, Lithuania went into raids on the lands of the Order along the frozen bay and swamps.
    1. Kombrig
      Kombrig 3 June 2016 20: 57
      Quote: saygon66
      - I have not heard about the reconstruction of Balga ... And the castle is very interesting ...

      Gorgeous ruins ..., was there in the 94th, I liked the moat very much, and even the locals told the legend about the bell ringer, though we did not hear the bells then))))
      1. saygon66
        saygon66 3 June 2016 21: 27
        - The area of ​​ruins is full ... And what were the castles! They are far from French or English in terms of architecture - rather, they remind typical construction ... But they have a peculiar beauty ...
        - Sometimes I visit Allenburg (the village of Druzhba, the Pravdinsky River). A very beautiful church is there - it grows out of the ground with heavy, noticeably thick walls and stretches, reaches for the sky ...
        - 38 meters height ...