When you see Morella, you feel like saying adjectives like amazing, extraordinary and other similar ones. Once you look from the bottom of the hill at the castle, you can guess the number of wonders that await for whoever takes a wander around this city.
Because Morella comes to be something like the ideal scenario for a fantasy story, but without a cardboard cut out set. Its streets, city walls and noble houses are real, and its exceptional heritage takes your breath away, so we can’t advise you other than to walk around the whole town, and with your eyes wide open.
It even has caves with valuable rock paintings. But focusing on just the historical eras, we find that the place has always been marked by its condition of a strategic point. The Carthaginians, the Romans, the Barbarians and the Arabs were all interested in the site, and all passed by here one after the others building their fortifications.
When Jaime I, in one of his Reconquest tours, took over the place in the thirteenth century, he put an end to the Muslim period and started a different story. Morella was nestled in an area dominated by the military orders of Hospitaliers, Knights Templar and Calatrava, becoming an important medieval town full of buildings that, today, make our imaginations travel to sets halfway between The Lord of the Rings and The name of the Rose.
The castle, the Gothic Basilica and the Convent of Saint Francisco are joined by sanctuaries and hermitages such as Santa Lucia and San Lázaro, in which, it is said, a master builder killed a monk by stabbing him with a compass, but of course, it was the size of the ones they used in the fourteenth century.
The city walls are also from the same century. Massive and built on top of the previous Arab walls, they give a definitely Medieval aspect to this city that, year after year, appears on the lists of the most beautiful and charming places of Spain.
And if the memories of Hannibal, of the Cid and of the last Cathars weren’t enough, Morella also had some astonishing events during the nineteenth century. In one of them, the Carlist General Ramon Cabrera made the city his fort, in 1838, its walls resisted a long siege in which 20,000 soldiers and 25 pieces of artillery were involved. It is not too bad, considering that these fortifications were built long before the cannons existed …