The castle is divided into two zones, the so-called Castillo Menor (Castell Vell) and Castillo Mayor (Castell Nou). While the first is pre-Roman, Iberian and Carthaginian, the second is a Latin foundation. The dominant work in both of them is Arab and Christian, on the ancient pre-Roman and Roman foundations. The towers and walls have been dated from the Arab age, while the buildings belong to the Christian era and are built in stone.
The importance of the Xativa Castle lies in its strategic location, being near the Via Augusta, the Roman road crossing all of Hispania Province from Cadiz via Cartagena, on the Mediterranean coast, through the Pyrenees and ending in Rome. The castle therefore had the function of monitoring and protecting the Roman road.
In the fifteenth century the castle became a state prison of the Crown of Aragon. Around that time occurs the rise of two popes of the Borja family, Calixto III (Alfonso de Borja) and Alexander VI (Rodrigo de Borja) who born in Xativa and whom would greatly influence the history of the region.
Currently, the Castle is a site of Valencian heritage and is managed by the city of Xativa.
In 2008 it was elected as one of the seven wonders of Valencia.
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