Here we have one of those places that, we are not sure why it is not as well known as it should be. Because Vilafamés offers a spectacular sight, with its castle on top of the hill and its old quarter spreading through the winding streets that descend from it.
And we already know that, where there are winding streets, there is usually an Arab past. Vilafamés is not an exception, and both its fortress and its walls are from those times of Muslim domination which ended with the arrival of Jaime I, sword in his hand.
As it happens with any fortified town, the life of Vilafamés on the following centuries, wasn’t exactly a peaceful one, and in the nineteenth century had to suffer harsh attacks by the Carlists troops. They took place between 1837 and 1839, and the city had to put up with a succession of sieges, cannon shots and assaults which left the castle quite crushed.
But impressive as the castle, the walls and the Church of the Assumption are, the most unique attraction here is, the grossa rock, an immense mass of stone that rests on the inclined terrain, and which, according to what they say, grants wishes to those who touch it. The only thing is, you must ask for three, and only one will be fulfilled, so think carefully about them.
The symbolic rock has to do, also, with the nickname of “red asses” that the inhabitants of the town have. It is said that while they were pulling on ropes during some works, they slipped and fell on the reddish mud that was where the stone sits. Their rear guards were dyed by the clay and bam! In a matter of seconds, the people from here would get a nickname that would last for a few centuries.
The beautiful Church de la Sangre, of the Blood, also suggests red. It was erected in Medieval times and reformed during the Baroque, but its antiquity does not seem much if we compare it with what was found in some caves in the area. Eighty-thousand years old human remains were found in El Tossal de la Font, and in Cueva Matutano they found a significant site from the Upper Palaeolithic period.
These are unique places in the territory of the Valencian Comunity, and you should bear this in mind if you come to see the historical set of Vilafamés. From time to time it is good to take a little journey to Prehistory and wonder about it …
One last piece of advice is to take a look at the Palacio Batlle, and more specifically at the museum of contemporary art inside it. Nearly 700 works of art are waiting for you there.