Ten minutes by car, from Masia Aitona, crossing a small mountain pass, we find a town that by its name I would have located in the Basque Country, with that “tz” so characteristic of the northern lands. But no, Atzeneta or Atzaneta is located in the interior of the province of Castellón, in the region of l’Alcalatén and its name comes, amazingly, from a Berber tribe called “Zanata” of century VIII.
From the beginning, Atzeneta was linked to Culla and suffered the same historical fate, joining the kingdom of Aragon in 1233. In 1245 the Setena de Culla was created, where Atzeneta was integrated until 1890. In 1272 it obtained its town charter from Guillem d’Anglesola, which was claimed by 80 of the first settlers. In 1303 the Anglesola family sold Culla and the dependent villages to the Temple. After the disappearance of this Order, in 1316 it became part of the territories of the Order of Montesa within the Setena de Culla. It was then, in the 14th century, that Atzeneta acquired the title of “villa”. (city)
In fact, in some sections of its urban center, we can visit several medieval and renaissance buildings typical of a “Villa” with history. Among the religious monuments, the following stand out: the Hermitage of San Juan de Castillo from the year 1516, the Hermitage of Loreto from the year 1602, the Hermitages of San Gregorio and San Roque and finally, the Parish Church of Renaissance style with a precious Baroque altarpiece from the year 1744.
“Atzaneta is located in the interior of the province of Castellón, in the region of l’Alcalatén and its name comes, amazingly, from a Berber tribe called “Zanata” of century VIII”.
Religious but also civil buildings such as the Tower of the dam a square tower, with windows and thick iron bars. The tower was used as the town’s prison from 1853 to the 1960s, not so long ago; the medieval walls that surrounded the town from the 13th to the 16th century, the Castle, of which only the remains of the wall and a tower of Arab origin remain, and the Town Hall building, a beautiful example of Renaissance construction that formerly served as a hospital and as the Palace of the Commander of the Setena of Culla during the 16th century. It has a beautiful interior courtyard and a Gothic-style window.
On the path of “El Cid”
The “Camino del Cid” is a cultural tourism itinerary that crosses Spain from northwest to southeast and follows the literary and historical footprints of “Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, el Cid Campeador”, the famous spanish medieval knight of the 11th century.
Atzaneta is part of a route called the “Ring of Maestrazgo” since the historical Cid was closely linked to the area of Morella, in his defense of the interests of the “Taifa Kingdom” of Zaragoza. It is not known in which towns he was exactly, but it is possible that he passed through Culla as it was an important location for the incipient Kingdom of Aragon. What is certain is that the epicenter of this route is in Onda, whose castle was conquered by El Cid, according to the “Cantar” (an epic Poem dedicated to this knight), after winning over the Count of Barcelona and the King of Lérida in the great battle of Tévar some 130 kms to the north.
This interesting route of El Cid is a way to discover an important part of the country on its eastern side, guiding us with a masterpiece of literature: El Cantar del Mio Cid “The Song of Mine Cid”. It also goes through some places that do not appear in the Poem but are linked to the historical figure of El Cid. Due to its length (about 1,400 kilometers of trails and 2,000 kilometers of roads), the road is divided into themed routes of between 50 and 300 km approximately linked to each other. https://www.caminodelcid.org
Don Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar is a legendary myth with a life dedicated to war in defense of the interests of some nobles who left the conquests and reconquest of lands, kingdoms and Taifas in the hands of “battlers” like him. A life marked by two exiles he had to face. A mercenary of Christian and Muslim kings, his loyalty to the Christian king was priceless, but when he sold his courage to the highest Muslim bidder, his pulse did not tremble either, he fought in the end for his interests. He did not live more than 55 years, but his epic life earned him the most important feat song in Spanish literature, “El cantar del mío Cid”. That said, a real character: https://www.caminodelcid.org/cid-historia-leyenda/cid-historico/
Outside the village, in an area called Les Foies, is the Castellar, the castle, in the chapel of St. John (fourteenth century). What remains of this castle is a fortified tower with origins possibly in the eleventh century. The castle is documented as far back as 1273. The current tower, visible to travelers, is Gothic in style, with a square floor plan and semicircular arches. Its purpose was to guard the entrance to the lands of Culla on the right bank of the Monleón River.
It is a highly recommended visit before leaving Atzeneta, it is located in a place with picnic areas and even a barbecue area. The views from the castle are impressive. So don’t forget to visit this place, it’s worth it, you might even feel as a real “knight”.