“El Castillo de Papa Luna” a medieval castle at the Mediterranean coast of Spain with the most amazing views and history. Discover the one and only – Peñiscola.
El Castillo de Papa Luna
Peñiscola has become quite touristic in these past years. Recently, it was one of the “Game of Thrones” filming locations, which brought a lot of international fans to this small Spanish city. However, I still included this post in my Blog Series: Undiscovered Spain. No need to mention, Peñiscola is hardly as internationally famous as Barcelona or Granada. Nevertheless, the best gems are often hidden: Peñiscola is not an exception. Its tiny little streets are full of old charm and the views from the castle are simply breathtaking!
Rising 67m above the Mediterranean, the Peñiscola castle was a residence of Benedict XIII (Papa Luna) from 1417 till 1423. Built in 13 century on the remains of the Arabic fortress, “El Castillo de Papa Luna” is an important monument of our history which survived several époques.
The Story of Pope Luna
From 1378 to 1417 the Roman Catholic Church split, driven more by politics rather than any theological disagreements. Three men simultaneously claimed to be the true pope. Benedict XIII/ Pope Luna was one them. Council of Constance (1414–1418) tried to end with this split (Great Schism) and Benedict XIII was considered an anti-Pope. However, until the last day of his life, Pope Luna refused to surrender his Papal tiara and follow the orders of the Roman church. He moved to Peñiscola and turned it into his Papal court.
The whole story of Pope Luna is full of mystery and legends. His personality was quite contradictory and the stories vary significantly: some say he was a saint, others that he was completely crazy. One of the most popular legends states one night he was escaping the castle after a betrayal and lost a golden ring that no one has found till nowadays.
But going back to the modern times – Peñiscola is one of the best places to visit in the Valencian Community and the panoramic views from the top of the castle are absolutely worthwhile climbing the steps.