We are here to continue our article about the castles worth visiting in Camp de Tarragona region. In the first part – On the route of the castles in Camp de Tarragona region – part I., we have covered the castles of Tamarit, Calafell, Ferran, Altafulla, and El Catllar, and in this article, we will review 5 more, are you ready? 🏰😉
The castle of Vila-Rodona is located on the slope of a hill that reaches the river Gaià to the west, dominating a large river terrace suitable for the cultivation of vines, almond trees, fruit trees, and vegetables. In its origin, the walls surrounded the few houses that formed the nucleus of the village. The work takes advantage of the layout of the land to integrate it as part of the defensive walls. Despite the poor state of conservation of the whole, it still maintains its structure. From the castle, you can see a magnificent view of the village of Vila-Rodona and the valley of the river Gaià.
The origin of the castle can be traced back to 1150. Later on, during the civil war of the 15th century, the castle was an important nucleus of opposition to King John II. In the 19th century, during the Carlist Wars, the castle underwent several modifications in its structure, and in 1874 the tower was erected. After the confiscation of 1835, the property passed from the bishops of Barcelona to the Nation, and later, it was sold to the Sanahuja family, who still keep it in ownership. Throughout the 20th century, having lost its function as a castle, it has gradually deteriorated and in part, has been adapted as housing. The castle is currently privately owned.
Moving forward on the route of the castles in Camp de Tarragona region, our next stop should be the village and castle of Rodonyà. The existence of the Medieval Castle of Rodonyà is first mentioned at the beginning of the 13th century. For six centuries the castle belonged to the Catalan nobility until, at the end of the 19th century, the last owner, Baron Cayetano of Vilallonga and Tamarit, sold it to someone from the town. At that point, the castle was already semi-ruined.
The castle has a quadrangular floor plan and a central courtyard around which all the rooms are organized. In the middle of the courtyard is the tank for collecting water and half a dozen silos where grain used to be stored. In 1919, the local council bought the building and adapted part of it to be used as a school, leaving the rest of the building to its fate. It was almost another century before a definitive renovation was undertaken to ensure it is preserved for future generations. The restoration work began in October 2008, with a first phase involving the consolidation of the façades and building structure. In 2010 there was a second phase, including the creation of interiors so this historic building could become the Town Hall in Rodonyà.
Castell de Creixell is located on the top of Creixell village. We can find the first documentations about the castle from 1173 when Ponç de Rajadell and his wife sold the castle of Montornès to the community of Santes Creus. The construction of the castle probably dates from 1190 when the bishop of Barcelona, Ramon de Castellvell, granted the Charter of Population to the town of Creixell. From 1277, the lordship of Creixell belonged to the prior of the monastery of Sant Pere de Casserres in the region of Osona.
In 1572 the priory of Casserres was secularized and its assets were transferred to the Jesuit College of Bethlehem in Barcelona. In 1767 and due to the expulsion of the Jesuits, the town and castle passed into the hands of the crown, and then Salvador de Marc de Reus who ruled the lordship of Creixell until the abolition of lordly rights in the nineteenth century.
The castle has a polygonal floor plan, three levels with external slopes and an open inner courtyard. The entrance portal is vaulted with a semicircular arch, straight lintel windows and crowned with large battlements. The military structure, quite evident still today, comes from centuries XVI and XVII, when due to the frequent pirate attacks it was necessary to defend itself of the sackings of the privateers and the defensive system integrated by the castle and the wall was reinforced. Today it is privately owned and remained in good condition.
9. Santa Oliva
Castell de Santa Oliva and the church of the Mare de Déu del Remei form a well-preserved architectural complex that offers an imposing picture to the visitors. It is located in the upper part of the village of Santa oliva, at one end of the urban center. Its history dates back to the times of the Reconquest, when it was part of the network of fortifications on the border beyond the Llobregat river. It is documented since 1045, after an Almoravid raid that destroyed the place in 1012.
You have to climb up on the stairs to face its façade, where a wall with loopholes is preserved, crowned with battlements and flanked by two towers. The one on the left is square, nineteen meters high, and has battlements. The one on the right is round, it was the apse of the original castle chapel and was transformed to become the bell tower of the historic church of Sant Julià, nowadays of the Verge del Remei, which is part of the complex. This chapel, linked to the monastery of Sant Cugat del Vallès until the nineteenth century, preserves the semicircular apse and the belfry bell tower. It consists of a single nave, renovated in Gothic style, with a slightly pointed barrel vault. The castle is currently privately owned but the chapel can be visited.
El Castell de Vila-seca or Castell Del Comte De Sicart Vila-seca Castle gives home to a new contemporary art center in the south of Catalonia that you can visit for free until December 30 this year! In December 2018, Vila-seca City Council and the Vila Casas Foundation signed an agreement to make the Foundation’s contemporary art collection available to the public. This agreement achieves the desire to make the exhibition space of the Castle of Vila-seca a cultural reference in the South of Catalonia, while contributing to the dissemination of the work of Catalan artists.
“This stunning symbol of the town has been documented since the 12th century. It was built during the repopulation of the Camp de Tarragona by Ramon d’Olzina, the first feudal lord of Vila-seca by order of King Alfonso I el Cast, Archbishop Bernat Tort, and Guillem de Tarragona. It later passed into the hands of the Archbishopric of Tarragona, which in 1680 sold it to Johan Kies, consul of the Netherlands in Barcelona. In 1899 the castle and its lands were acquired by Isidre de Sicart i Torrents, who had the construction transformed in accordance with the project of the architect Enric Fatjó i Torras and, from then on, passed to identify as the Castle of the Count of Sicart. For this reason, the building, as we see it today, is of neo-Gothic style, with stylistic influences from central and northern Europe. On October 22, 2005, the plenary session of Vila-seca City Council approved the acquisition of this castle and the adjacent garden. On March 11, 2020, the Castle of Vila-seca has opened its doors to host the first of the exhibitions in the collaboration agreement with the Vila Casas Foundation.”