In the foothills of Sierra de Guara stands the oldest fortified castle in Spain and the most spectacular in Aragon. Built in the 11th century upon Roman walls, Loarre Castle was the base of the regions resistance to the Moorish occupation. Perched on a hill the castle has commanding views over the plains towards Zaragoza.
Loarre gained a more recent claim to fame when Ridley Scott used it’s labyrinthine dungeons and turrets as a location for his 2003 film ‘Kingdom of Heaven’
Loarre is a castle for exploring – it’s semi-ruined state still allows you to climb the towers, walk over it’s arched bridges and investigate the dungeons. It’s easy to lose yourself in an time long passed as you wander round it’s maze of corridors and tunnels.
The Defensive Structure
The earliest section of the castle is the defensive structure built early in the 11th century. Dominated by a pair of towers linked by a bridge this area is the highest and gives fantastic views to the south. The ornate gothic windows are a highlight of the Torre de la Reina (Queen’s tower). The Torre del Homenaje can be climbed by a ladder to the penultimate floor that originally contained bedrooms and kitchens in where a huge stone fireplace still stands.
Church of San Pedro
The church of San Pedro was added to the castle in 1071. The main church is twenty two metres long with an impressive dome twenty six metres high. The apse has fourteen columns, the sculpting on each telling the story of Adam and Eve and the original sin. Under the apse lies the crypt. Here the relics of St Demetrius, the protector from assaults, were kept until they were moved to their current location in the church of Loarre village.
The castle lies close to the fantastic pink-tinged cliffs of Los Mallos. These cliffs have been sculpted into strange conical rock formations known as ‘the ninepins’. The area has some excellent hiking and a popular excursion on our Lakes and Valleys walking holidays is to spend a morning exploring the paths around the base of the cliffs before lunching in Loarre village and visiting the castle in the afternoon.
The Rio Aragon is one of the best white water rivers in the Pyrenees and perfect for rafting, canoeing and hydro-speeding. What better way to spend a day than an adrenaline fuelled morning battling the rapids followed by an afternoon visiting the castle? See our activity holidays for more details.