UNESCO Center

Castellet Castle

Castellet Castle is an Iberian castle from the 10th century located in the town of Castellet i la Gornal, in Catalonia’s county of Alt Penedès, on the south of the city of Barcelona and just a few kilometres away from the towns of Sitges, Vilanova i la Geltrú and Vilafranca del Penedès.

The archaeological work done in 2007 revealed that the hill where the castle was built had been a human settlement since the Iberian era (more than 2,500 years ago). It has always been an important control point over the transport routes around the territory, such as the Vía Hercúlea (later known as Vía Augusta, and now the AP-7 motorway) or the Foix River.

The first known recorded reference to the castle dates back to the year 977. This reference showed the Iberian origins of the castle. The Castle remained active until the 16th century, when it was abandoned. While it was inhabited, the lords of Castellet adapted the site to their needs and built new structures such as the 9th century tower keep, an 11th century seigniorial Domicilium, the gothic palace built between the 13th and 14th centuries and finally the eastern wall, built in the 16th century.

After the construction of the protective walls against artillery in the 16th century the castle was abandoned, and by the late 19th century, it was in ruins. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that Mr Josep de Peray, canon of Barcelona’s Cathedral, took an interest in the ruins and instigated a new process to restore the castle. Despite this initiative, the work was never finished and the castle was left in a state of semi-ruin until 1999, when Acesa (now Abertis), purchased it and commissioned its reconstruction to a specialist in medieval architecture.

Thanks to the restoration work carried out between 1999 and 2001, the space is now fitted with the infrastructure required to become the headquarters for the UNESCO International Centre for Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves and for the Abertis Foundation.

In addition to the activities of the UNESCO International Centre and the Abertis Foundation, nowadays the castle also offers guided tours of the site, as well as a venue for technical or work sessions.

     

Photographies showing the restoration process.

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