Peñíscola Things to Do

  • Peniscola Castle and beach
    Peniscola Castle and beach
    by pugwashman
  • Peniscola as seen from the castle roof
    Peniscola as seen from the castle roof
    by pugwashman
  • Bronze statue of Papa Luna
    Bronze statue of Papa Luna
    by pugwashman

Most Recent Things to Do in Peñíscola

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    Exposition of the Knight Templars

    by Oleg_D. Updated May 16, 2014

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    Since this castle was originally built by the knights of the Order of Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem better known as the Knight Templars, castle invites all visitors to attend special exhibition dedicated to mentioned knights. Exhibition is situated in the premises of former dungeon. Unfortunately reconstruction of arms and armor is poor. Authors were watching the movies about hobbits too much and it was probably the reason why the arms and armors in this exhibition are absolutely non-realistic and have no any connection with real prototypes and survived sources of information. Anyway this exhibition is worth to visit just to have a fun. And if you travel together with children then be sure they will be delighted!
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    Monument of Antipope Benedict XIII

    by Oleg_D. Updated May 16, 2014

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    From the November 23, 2007 figure of Antipope Benedict XIII (Pedro de Luna) also known in Spain as Papa Luna, installed under the wall of Peniscola Castle. That sculpture was made by Sergio Blanco and Sergio Mocedades. The statue is two meters tall and weighing 700 kilograms. Monument shows the character of that man who was the prominent participant of Great Schism an who at last founded his own papacy in Peniscola six centuries ago and being abandoned by all, moved to the fortress where he lived until his death in 1424.

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    SANT PERE GATE

    by Oleg_D. Written May 16, 2014

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    The Gate of Sant Pere (St. Peter), commissioned by Pope Luna in the XV century, provided the city with a new access by sea. It disrupted the old course of the city walls and created a landing stage which remained in use until the 18th century, when it was walled up and levelled off for military reasons. This gate consists of a large segmental stone arch above whose keystone we find the coat of arms belonging to Pope Luna, which was carved by Filibert Bertalla.

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    Church of Virgen del Socorro

    by Oleg_D. Written May 16, 2014
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    Church of Virgen del Socorro or Virgin of Consolation is situated right under the wall of the Peniscola castle. That church was built in early XV century and in spite of several reconstructions it still has expressively Gothic architectural elements. Unfortunately church was closed during our visit to Pniscola and we failed to get in.

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    Castle of Peniscola

    by Oleg_D. Written May 16, 2014
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    Castle of Peniscola is situated on the highest point of the rock, with an elevation of sixty four meters above sea level. It has a perimeter of around two hundred and thirty meters and an average height of twenty meters. The Knights Templars built this castle on the remains of an old Arab citadel between 1294 and 1307. Similar in style to the castles erected by the knights in the Holy Land and Catalonia, particularly remarkable is its resemblance to Miravet Castle, built one hundred and fifty years earlier. It underwent minor alterations under the rule of Antipope Benedict XIII being transformed into a papal palace. The story of Antipope Benedict XII you can find in many internet sites.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antipope_Benedict_XIII
    The walls are of hewn stone masonry, while all of the rooms feature barrel vaults some of which are pointed, rising up from extremely simple imposts consisting of an ornamental cordon. The sobriety and solidity of the construction stand out throughout, both in the Templar rooms and in the strategic and intricate papal chambers later fashioned by Benedict XIII (among which figured one of the best stocked libraries in the world). But perhaps the most interesting architectural element comes with the vaulting in the Guardroom and the austerity and strict proportion of the Templar Basilica. Used by Clement VIII and Benedict XIII as a Papal Basilica, the architectural features of the other rooms are topped off by a semicircular apse roofed with a shell-like half dome crowning the main arch and a small window in the centre of the apse allowing light to pour in. The Antipope’s remains lay in the Basilica for some time. The amendments made by Philip II to adapt the fortress for the use of artillery and the bombardments it underwent in various wars and sieges, did not substantially alter the structure of the castle, which was declared a National Historic Artistic Monument in 1931.
    Visitors are allowed to take noncommercial photos without flash light and tripod.

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    Guardroom and Stable of the Castle

    by Oleg_D. Written May 16, 2014
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    When you enter the gates of Peniscola castle you find yourself in the guardroom. When this castle was real defensive structure sentries and officer of a day were billeted here while their performed their guard duty. One doorway leads to the bailey from this guardroom. On right and left hand sides entrances to the stable and storage are situated in the guardroom.
    Visitors are allowed to take noncommercial photos without flash light and tripod.

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    Big Hall and Kitchen of the Castle

    by Oleg_D. Written May 16, 2014

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    Big hall of so called Papa Luna Castle decorated with insignias of Holy See, de Luna Family and Order of Templars. All there decorations are the fantasy of designer who conducted the restoration of the castle. Although we cannot tell how was decorated this hall we can surely say it was used for the official ceremonies. Unfortunately equipment of the kitchen hasn’t survived too. We can only imagine today how the kitchen looked like six hundred years ago when Antipope Benedict XIII was living here.
    Vicitors are alloved to take noncommercial photos without flash light and tripod.

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    Church of the Castle

    by Oleg_D. Written May 16, 2014

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    Church of Papa Luna castle survived and still exists. There is nothing special but church is remarkable because it connected with Antipope Benedict XIII. During the last period of his life when he lived in Peniscola he served the masses in this church personally.

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    The Pontiff Palace/Living room.

    by Oleg_D. Written May 16, 2014

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    Benedict XIII withdrew the city and castle of Peniscola from the jurisdiction of Military Order of Montesa and placed under protection of Holy See. When he found a shelter here castle was rebuilt to provide him place where he could live and work. Here Antipope Benedict XIII lived.

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    The Pontiff Palace/Office

    by Oleg_D. Written May 16, 2014

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    While visiting Pope Luna castle you will be able to visit the Pontiff Palace. But please don’t thing that Pedro de Luna or Antipope Benedict XIII also known in Spain as Papa Luna was living and working in luxury. In fact hi was the most stubborn leader of the Great Schism so he was the outlaw recognized as the Pope only by the Crown of Aragon and Sicily. So, he lived very ascetic life. Unfortunately original furniture of Papa Luna living room and office hasn’t survived. So, here he worked.

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    Bailey of the Castle

    by Oleg_D. Written May 16, 2014

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    As any real castle the castle of Pope Luna of Antipope Benedict XIII has the bailey or internal yard. Bailey played the role of parade ground where drill and ceremonies usually took place. It was also used for the training in combat and martial arts such as fencing. Some typical Templar’s insignias survived here till nowadays.

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    Views from the Keep

    by Oleg_D. Written May 16, 2014

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    If you walk up on the roof of the keep of the castle then you will be rewarded with the excellent views at Mediterranean Sea washing the coast near Pniscola. You will be able to observe local fishing port and fabulous beaches.

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    THE LIGHTHOUSE

    by Oleg_D. Written May 14, 2014

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    On your way out of the main gate of the Castle, the first thing that catches your eye is the lighthouse, a typical seafaring style building whose light is used to guide sailors at night. Its signal has a reach of thirty five miles. Before the advent of electricity, it used to be lit using fires – hence the name of the nearest street, “Farons”. The lighthouse is one of the most emblematic buildings in the movie “Calabuch”, shot in Peñíscola in 1956 by Luis García Berlanga. The present building dates from 1892.

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    Casa de Las Conchas

    by Oleg_D. Written May 14, 2014

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    Casa de Las Conchas or House of Seashells is fabulous building and its wall decorated and the shells. Nobody could say what the reason to build such beautiful house was. Maybe it was just the fantasy and wish of the owner or architect or maybe it was the tribute and respect to Saint Apostle Jacob (James) whose symbols are exactly the cockleshells. In fact this is no very important. This building will be on your right hand side when you will walk along Principe Street toward the Castle.

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    Bufador de Papa Luna

    by Oleg_D. Written May 14, 2014

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    Anybody knows that from 1415 to 1423 Castle of Peniscola was the home of the schismatic Avignon Antipope Benedict XIII (Pedro de Luna) whose name is commemorated in the Bufador de Papa Luna a curious cavern with a landward entrance through which the seawater blows up in clouds of spray. You can easily find this cavern while you walking along the Principe Street up to the castle. It will be on your left hand side. To observe water clouds from that cavern you should wait for high tide and wind from certain direction. Unfortunately I have no time to wait for that phenomenon. Maybe you will be luckier!

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