Alcaniz is an interesting town with a historic centre situated within a bend of the Guadaloupe.
The historic town of Alcaniz winds uphill from the river and at the top of a small hill is the 12th century castle of Los Calatravos which has now been converted into a lovely parador hotel - the Parador de Alcaniz. If you are lucky enough to stay in the parador you can enjoy its Gothic murals and Baroque facades and enjoy great views of the town and countryside below. The Torre del Homenaje (tower of homage) is the oldest part of the castle and has walls decorated with frescoes including some rather rude ones on the first floor.
The main square of Alcaniz is a medieval square called the Plaza de Espana and its buildings include the Renaissance town hall and the medieval Exchange building. The town hall has an upper gallery typical of buildings in Aragon. The 'Lonja' another building on the square also has an upper gallery protected by a canopy. There is also a medieval bell tower.
To the edge of the square is the lovely collegiate chuch of Santa Maria la Mayor. It was rebuilt in the 18th century, replacing the earlier 13th century building and has an attractive Baroque facade and some Mudejar features. Inside is a very attractive gothic painting of Mary Magdalene as well as carved capitals.
The surrounding countryside is filled with orchards and olive groves and large flat fields surrounded by gently rolling hills.
Easter is a good time to visit the town. Good Friday celebrations include a procession of a thousand drummers through the town. The drumming continues into the evening and through the night. On Easter Sunday there is another procession with drumming with everyone dressed in historical costumes. There is a ceremonial closing of the tomb and then the drumming stops. Spain really is an excellent country for religious processions and festivals.
Where is Alcaniz
Alcaniz is in the Teruel province in the region of Aragon region of Spain. It is about two hours drive from the seaside city of Tarragona and and one and a half hours south-west of the wonderful city of Zaragoza with its beautiful Moorish architecture.
Places to Visit Nearby
Nearby in the Val del Charco del Agua Amarga gorge are the UNESCO listed prehistoric cave paintings. The Mediterranean Basin of Eastern Spain contains one of the largest collections of prehistoric cave paintings in Europe and the cave in the Val del Charco gorge is well worth a visit.
To the south is the dramatic hill town of Morella dominated by its medieval chateau.