The Gazette of Masía Aitona

Culla of the Templars

 

This time we moved to Culla, a village 29 kms from Masia Aitona. It belongs to the region of the Alto Maestrazgo and the winding road that leads us to this village perched, like Villafamés, on top of a hill, is worth the trip, even if we have to go through an endless number of sharp curves.

 

The tourist attraction of Culla, as a “magical and medieval town” is not just an advertisement, Culla, chosen as one more on the list of the “most beautiful towns in Spain” is really a town worth visiting for several reasons.

 

One of the main reasons to approach Culla is its location and natural environment. Touching the sky, Culla is a terrestrial “lighthouse”, surrounded by the high peaks of the Maestrazgo . An authentic delight for the traveler who looks for singular places. It is not such a tourist town as Villafamés, and for that reason, its streets are free of the hordes of tourists that invade this zone during the summer especially.

 

It is quiet and calm to walk its cobbled streets and visit several points of historical and architectural interest: the Commander’s granary, known as the “presó” (prison), the parish church of San Salvador, the ruins of the Arab castle, the famous “carrasca” (Kermes Oak) of Culla (immortal tree), and other corners that invite you to a trip to the Templar Middle Ages.

“Touching the sky, Culla is a terrestrial “lighthouse”, surrounded by the high peaks of the Maestrazgo . An authentic delight for the traveler who looks for singular places. It is not such a tourist town as Villafamés, and for that reason, its streets are free of the hordes of tourists that invade this zone during the summer especially.”.

Templar legends

In 1303 the lands of the Señorío de Culla passed into the hands of the Templars. Historians still wonder what interest this small town might have aroused so that these “warriors of the Faith” of the Order of the Temple, paid 500,000 Valencian salaries for this site in their purchase.

Some theories speak of the telluric forces that apparently converged in this site surrounded by the summits of the Maestrazgo. But if we pay more attention to more earthly and strategic reasons, because of its location, Culla is a crucial location as a border between Valencia and Aragon.

Years later, in 1345, under the Order of Montesa, the Setena of Culla was constituted. To understand what this association consisted of, I leave here a link to a very interesting article on the subject: http://castellon-en-ruta-cultural.es/la-setena-de-culla-o-comunitat-dherbatge/

Prosperous grazing lands, despite the rugged landscape, host lands, when the Cathars fled from Occitania in the first European religious exodus. The last exiled Cathars arrived in the Valencian Community in the first third of the 14th century to settle in the new lands conquered by Jaime I.  When these populations arrived in Castellón they integrated perfectly and contributed to the development of livestock, crafts and trade.

The long road these men and women travelled almost 700 years ago has become a European Cultural Itinerary, commemorating this exodus, called The Route of the Last Cathars, which connects the Valencian Community with the French Midi through Aragon and Catalonia. https://www.elperiodicomediterraneo.com/noticias/especiales/ruta-ultimos-cataros-gran-tesoro-descubrir_1066907.html

Returning to the Templars, in Culla, specifically, every year, in summer, at the end of July, a conference is held to commemorate the conquest of Culla by the Templars. They are very interesting days that deserve a complete article that, we will offer you in the Gazette of Masia Aitona.

Other events and activities


Another event that attracts more tourism is the historical recreation “Culla 1233”, usually held in early fall. On these days the whole population gets involved and the streets of Culla are literally transformed into a medieval village.

Battles between Christian troops and the Saracens who are finally reconquered, the sale of captured prisoners, medieval market, exhibitions of archery and knife throwing, animations, parades, etc..  A complete program for an unforgettable journey through time.


If we visit Culla with children, we can also introduce them to astronomy by visiting the tourist astronomical observatory. Less than 2 kms from Culla, in the area of San Cristóbal, this observatory is located in one of the best viewpoints of the Maestrazgo. They organize astronomical viewings for all levels. http://astromaestrat.es/?v=ca0a754733ae


Then, in the area of the river Molinell, you can also enjoy with your children the water mill of the Order of Montesa from the 13th century or take a boat ride on the beautiful Molinell pond. And finally, if you are still strong after visiting Culla and its surroundings, another recommendation is to visit the Maestrat mining park.

We will also dedicate a whole article in our Gazette to it, but as a preview we will say that it is a very special place. Two mines are visited and the children especially enjoy this place. http://parcminerdelmaestrat.es/


Culla is simply a place not to be missed, and from Masia Aitona, we recommend the visit, despite the curves that must be suffered before arriving. If you would like a guided tour of the Culla templaria, you can arrange the visit calling this number: 678 135 160 or by sending an e-mail to: turismoculla@dipcas.es.
Just enjoy Culla and its surroundings, and tell us about it when you get back.

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