Fragments of History and History of Castle Intra Banyeres

Cristóbal Albero French

Download file

The picturesque town of Banyeres is located on one of the hill-shaped appendages of the famous Sierra Mariola, for its western part, to the right of the Vinalopó river and 828 meters above sea level.

Located on a high mound overhanging the plain that surrounds it, the castle of Banyeres preserves its graceful Torre del Homenaje at the top.

Its historical architecture defines it as a construction of Arab origin from the 8th or 9th century.

The known history of this fort, like so many other Levantines, begins with its conquest by King James I.

Some years after, when the monarch continued the victorious advance towards Catalan lands, those in this part of what is now the province of Alicante took up a rebellion, appointing a leader named Al-Alazark as head of the same. As soon as he knew the monarch stopped the advance, returning with his troops to quell that dangerous insurrectionary movement. It did not take long for the Christian side to be master of the situation after inflicting the overwhelming defeat of the Moorish in Banyeres, whose castle was taken by storm; being, of course, half waste.

Years later Al-Alazark, after hard and bloody combat, died near Alcoy.

After a few years the castle was repaired properly and in 1254 Banyeres and its castle were fiefdom, and also the town of Serrella, to the noble Jofré de Loaysa.

It is not known that the castle played a warlike role over the next four centuries, until the 18th century, in which the War of Succession arose, Banyeres ruled decisively for the cause of Philip V..

Archduke Charles's troops, encrypted in more than four thousand attackers, They occupied the town without encountering resistance and then they surrounded the castle. The day 15 November 1706 the attacks began, with heavy losses for the attackers, producing great damage to the fortress, without being able to set foot in the main square.

The fortress was an impregnable bulwark of resistance, until the loyal troops led by General Corbi arrived and liberated the town of Banyeres.

The monarch, aware of the courage shown among those who followed his cause, granted the town of Banyeres the title of Villa and the titles of Noble, Fell, Loyal and Real the year 1708.

Others passed 400 years without the castle playing a warlike role.

The castle that was once the glory of our homeland, in long periods of time it has been abandoned, suffering disinterest, laziness and forgetfulness.

The fortress had no participation until the Civil War (1936-1939), when the republican army installed an observatory to detect the approach or passage of nationalist planes. Previously, the foundations of the turret with a square plan of about 8 meters high, as well as the entire battlement of the wall on the northeast side.

In the year 1968, the local group Friends of Castles, with a lot of enthusiasm and activity, supported by the people with important donations, they started managing and getting grants, first from the General Directorate of Fine Arts and then from the Alicante Provincial Council; and consequently the important restoration works began. The castle has been restored with its architectural face as a historical monument.

The description of our castle today, once the structural restoration based on the aesthetic or functional dimension that affects and interests all citizens has been carried out, It is developed in accordance with the precepts described below. The front door, facing north, It is made of ashlar stone, with semicircular arch, defended by loopholes in the wall on its right side, and a small square-shaped turret with battlements and loopholes on its left side. A short distance from the front door and after a short ramp, there is the magnificent main square, paved with flat stone and thick bricks laid sideways forming squares, all in conditions that allow us to celebrate night parties during the summer. This parade ground, has a left hand turret that defends the south side, and in the background a cube followed by a thick crenellated and crenellated wall that protects the entire west flank. Under the protection of this strong wall were the dependencies, now missing, that served as a safe refuge for the neighbors in the dangerous moments of war, Before the restoration works were carried out, beams could still be seen, remains of walls and other vestiges.

On the right side of the main square, as you enter, there is a wall of 0,6 meters high with ashlars finish, that separates it from a strip of land with bushes, gardening plants and a rustic fountain.

A short distance from the entrance gate to the castle, and on the right, starts a spacious staircase in the form of a ramp, with 12 steps, to the semicircular arch door that closes the passage to the second enclosure; from this door they continue 6 more steps, normal plot, to a small square that divides the enclosure into two parts. In this square there are two facing doors, one with a semicircular arch that leads to a large room of 10,70 meters long by 3,25 meters wide and 3,10 meters high and covered with a barrel vault followed by a half point, to which two semi-circular windows give light, facing south and west. This room contained the Archaeological Museum.

The front door is rectangular in shape and closes the old cistern, now converted into a meeting room for the Local Group of the Spanish Association of Friends of Castles, receives light through a semicircular window that looks at noon. This old cistern has the following dimensions: long 6,6 meters, width 2,45 meters and height 2,2 meters.

A second section of the staircase that passes through the door of the cistern starts from the square, describes a curve and the 8 steps there is a plateau that forks it in two directions, one with 6 steps that continue to the left, to the base of the Torre del Homenaje, and the other with 10 steps that continue to the right to the upper platform that also serves as the base for the Tower of Homage.

On the right side of this platform, looking north, there is a square shaped turret, mentioned above, with round arch door, that served to defend the entrance door to the castle. On the other platform, 4 steps lead to a rectangular shaped terrace, located on the vault of the Archaeological Museum. Of this terrace, 6 more steps link to a small walkway, before drawbridge, that ends in the same semicircular arch door, south facing, that gives entrance to the Torre del Homenaje. This tower of 8×8 meters is square in shape, with 1,75 meters of thickness in the walls of its base that goes less as it gains height. Has from his foot 19 meters high, 1,20 the battlements by 0,95 meters wide. It is built in the style of the so-called tapial, that is, with a kind of plank formwork on the sides of the width of the wall whose space was filled with mixed mortar and gravel, material that was rammed and overflowed or plastered to the outside with a kind of mortar, on the surface of which the plank fastening holes are still visible, and also the numerous impacts, around the loopholes, produced in the sieges it endured, victoriously, the castle during the War of Succession.

The San Jorge Festive Museum was installed in the Torre del Homenaje.

The first floor of the Torre del Homenaje, with two steps at the entrance, it has a semicircular vault. To the right, as you enter, a two-section staircase and 21 steps, with railing and two landings ends on the second floor flat, which is a square room of 5×5 meters, that give light two large loopholes and a semi-circular window, east facing, south and west respectively, it has a beamed ceiling with imitation of old wood, since this roof was recently rebuilt. On the right side of this second floor, another ladder of 21 steps, railings and two plateaus concludes on the third and last floor, very similar to the previous, except that this one has the smallest loopholes, but the same orientation, the ceiling is vaulted. From this third and last floor and on its right side also another staircase of 26 steps, railing and landing, ends on the top floor of the Torre del Homenaje, from which the magnificent and considerable panorama is offered to the contemplation of its admired visitors that includes territories of four provinces: Valencia, Alicante, Albacete and Murcia.

The soul of the people is its history and in it its symbol converges, its monumental castle.

Torre del Homenaje of the castle of Banyeres before the restoration.