History

Althought it’s possible that a previous settlement existed, the history that we can prove about the castle of Valderrobres, began at the end of the twelfth century. At that time, the war between the Christian kingdoms and the Muslims reached this area and a small defensive tower was built to protect the frontier, marked by the river Matarraña.
When the war ended in the area, the king Alfonso II donated these lands to the bishopric of Zaragoza, but the bishop wasn’t interested in the area and this was subinfeudated to Fortun Robert, a former canon of the cathedral of Zaragoza.


Fortun`s daughter Sancha was married with a member of the family Oteyza and this family ruled the area until the fourteenth century, when the last of his members died without heirs. At that point, the crown and the bishopric fought to get these lands again, and finally, the bishop paid to the king a small fortune to be once again the ruler of this area.
The bishops decided to rebuild the ancient defensive structure and transform it into a residential palace.
Pedro lope de Luna was the bishop who began the transformation. Between 1314 and 1348, he built the ground floor of the castle around the original fortress. He began the construction of the gothic church too. Then, in 1390 García Fernandez de Heredia reformed the ground floor and built the first floor and at least, a part of the third one. Today we can see his coat of arms above the main door of the castle, and in the first two floors.
But Bishopric Fernandez de Heredia was assassinated in 1411, and it was left to others finish the Job.  Between 1431 and 1456, Dalmau de Mur and Cervellon finished the third floor. He ended the tower bell and the gothic church too.


In 1539 Don Hernando de Aragon undertook additional contributions and details. The Last archbishop who inhabited the castle was Don Juan Cebrian in 1656.


Then, the castle was abandoned and in the nineteenth century became a property of the state; which meant that no one took care of him. During about two centuries, people could go to the castle and take everything they needed, from wood from the ceilings, to stones from its walls.
The castle was restored in the eighties between 1982 and 1983, and today is a place for cultural events, tourism, musical concerts, exhibitions, and much more.

 
Picture of the Archbishop Garcia Fernandez de Heredia preserved in the church museum of Munébrega (Zaragoza)

 

 

 

Description

The first room we come to, is the hall. A square reception room with a large central diaphragm arch that served as the entranceway to the castle for the nobility. In the left wall, there is a doorway leading to the Stables, which is a rectangular room with a barrel-vaulted ceiling and three splayed windows. This area of the castle now hosts art or anthropological exhibitions.
At the back of the room, in the centre of the wall, there is a door with semicircular arch that leads to the stablemen’s room also displaying a barrel-vaulted ceiling.

This is the room where today we can see a short documentary that introduces us to the visit.

 

 

Returning to the hall, the first section of the stairway leads to the chapter hall, supported by two diaphragm arches with wooden beams, and around this against the walls is a stone bench apparently built to hold chapter meetings in monastic style, although perhaps this was mainly used as a waiting room.  

 

The stairway takes us to the first floor; This is the area of the castle reserved for nobility, so the architecture reflects ostentation and a search for comfort.
The first door to the left, gives access to the hall of the fireplaces, where we can admire three mullion windows and two twin windows decorated with gothic tracery. We can see the coat of arms of Don Garcia Fernandez de Heredia presiding over the hall.
To the back left of this hall is a door that connects this assembly hall to what must have been the archbishop’s ready room. There is another fireplace for heating and two large twinned windows. Passing through the back of the chambers, there is a doorway set in a basket-handled arch, which lead us to the non-restored room.
 

 

Now we re-trace our steps to return to the columnated landing where we can use the second door to the left to access the kitchen. As you come in, to the left side, there are two hatches where dishes were passed into the large hall next door. In the centre of the room is a large fireplace capped with a spectacular octagonal dome topped with a lantern allowing smoke to escape.

In front of the Kitchen, recent archeology works have discovered the ancient pantry and the water pit which was very close to the kitchen too.

 

 

A stone stairway leads to the second floor, which has the same surface area as the lower one. This is where the tip of the peak can be seen, around which the entire architectural project was built up, ad it is also the point where one can best inspect the remains of the ancient defensive tower built here before the palace.  

 

The higher chambers are accessed by ascending a metal staircase. This area corresponds to servant’s quarters and granary. The gallery on the southern side is set on four pointed gothic arches, with five large semicircular windows forming an open gallery. The grooves visible in the wall allowed for wooden partitions to be placed dividing the hall into three rooms used as granaries and sometimes as a bedchambers for the servants.
The western gallery is very similar to the first but it’s a little bit larger.
 

 

 

Going back over our footsteps to the second floor, we can descend the stone staircase under the metal stairs. This was the access route for the servants an today leads to the non- restored wing of the castle, where we can find a small dungeon, the access to an underground passage to the river, known as the well of the hairy hand and finally the Wine cellar where there are three cubicles that were used to store vats or barrels of wine.  

website created by the Valderrobres Heritage Foundation
C/ Buen Aire, 3 - 44580 Valderrobres (Teruel) castillodevalderrobres@yahoo.es - 679634438