Alquézar Castle

Alquézar Castle


Location: Aragon Map

Constructed: 9th century


History of Alquezar Castle

Alquezar Castle is a medieval Arab citadel situated on a hill in the Aragon province of Spain. It was constructed by the Muslim army to defend their possessions. Alquezar Castle was built in the 9th century by the orders of Arabic military general Jalaf ibn Rasid on behalf of the emir of Zaragoza. It was intended to defend Barbastro against Christian forces. Its name is derivative of an Arabic word Al- qasr that can be literally translated as "fort, castle". During re-conquest of Spain Alquezar fort fell in 1067 to the Christian armies under leadership of Sancho Ramirez. It went into possession of Kingdom of Aragon and later the kingdom of Spain. Alquezar Castle was declared a National Artistic Historical Monument of Spain.


Alquezar Castle on the map



Situated on a limestone outcrop of Eocene age to the west of the canyon of the Rio Vero in the Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Park, the village grew up around a castle and the Collegiate church of Santa Maria, which was consecrated in 1099.

The name of the village comes from the Arabic القصر al qaçr for "fort" or "castle" (renamed as Alcazar in Spanish). The castle became the main defense point of the nearby city of Barbastro. First fortress was constructed in the 9th century to protect newly conquered lands.

Since Alquézar is situated in the Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Park, there are various campsites in the local area to cater outdoor pursuit enthusiasts. Popular activities include canyoning, walking, rock climbing and abseiling, as well as ornithology (since vultures nest on the steep faces of the Rio Vero canyon).

The surrounding area to the south towards Barbastro, in the direction of the flatter Ebro basin, is part of the Somontano, an area known for its fine wines. There are more than 60 limestone caves with prehistoric cave paintings in the surrounding area, which has led to the region being declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1998. A good example is the cave at Arpán on the A-2205 road heading north towards Bárcabo.