Slightly out of date order but Castellón deserved a blog of its own. From the campsite in Varajas we travelled by bus and after 45 minutes arrived in the town.
Following a quick picnic lunch we set off to explore and soon spotted a marching band playing various instruments as they turned into the Plaza Mayor (Main Square). We couldn’t find out what the occasion was but enjoyed their brief appearance before turning our attention to the surroundings. The plaza had a large water fountain and I had fun with photographing it and trying to ‘freeze’ the action of water droplets.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria first built in the 13th century, was rebuilt again having been destroyed by fire in 14th century and then demolished in 1936. Luckily three Gothic doors were saved along with a number of decorative pieces and it was rebuilt again with honey coloured stone, the main entrance door was flanked by two smaller doors, each with arches above. On a second tier two arched windows stood either side, separated from the central flower shaped window by two columns, and finally three arches which looked like a walkway. Although there was a service going on inside, we quietly walked around the back of the pews to marvel at the interior which was simple, yet beautiful with a wonderful ceiling, red brick with cream arches and decorative supports. Around the altar it was so light, white walls showed off the colourful stained glass, looking particularly special with the sun streaming through them.
At the other end of the Plaza Mayor is the 18th century City Hall, built in classical Italian style, it’s Tuscany style facade with an arcade having 7 arches.
If that isn’t enough on another side of the Plaza is the Central Market, selling fish, meat and vegetables, it was remodelled in 1985 to include an underground carpark.
El Fadrí Bell Tower completes the buildings around the Plaza and it is a real landmark of the city. Built in the mid 15th century, this freestanding, octagonal tower is 60 meters tall and divided into 4 sections for the clock, the bells, the bell ringers home and the clergies room.
A short distance away is the small Plaza Santa Clara, once the original market place. In the centre is a fantastic stone carved Foundational Monument which represents the founding of the town by King James I of Aragon.
The architecture in Castellón is so varied, old and modern, simple and ornate, plain and colourful, but all of it so interesting to look at. The Post Office is built in the modernist style in 1932 and is quite spectacular for an administrative building. With rounded corners, fancy brickwork and stonework brought together in a decorative manner, with coloured tiling above the various arch styled features, it really is a work of art.
Some of the buildings have coloured tiling which I think makes them look so attractive, highly coloured paintwork, wrought ironwork, columns, fancy artwork or shutters, the details seem endless.
Also street lamps are varied and some are quite elaborate.
Also I have noticed over the weeks all the statues in various locations as we have travelled around. Castellón has many different ones, some just fun, others remembering someone or a moment in time and of course religious ones. I loved the fun of them and collected a few photos along the way.
Another historic building with a very detailed exterior is the Casino Antigua, which was remodelled in 1922 having been moved from the previous location. With a creamy honey colour exterior, some windows have balconies, lovely plasterwork and friezes above them. A small tower on one corner has arched windows with a smaller tier on top, rather like a wedding cake and on the long side of the building, a carved balustrade has faces and figures interspersed with carved columns.
The Principal Theatre originally opened in 1894 and is a grand building to look at, with its Neo-Classical exterior in a dark terracotta and cream livery, there is an enormous sculpture of a musical instrument outside, and àlthough we didn’t see them, there are magnificent ceiling paintings inside.
The Caixa Bank occupies a corner position and looks so beautiful with cream coloured façades contrasting with ornate black lamps, balustrades, clock face and two tier tower. Add to that the tall columns topped with scrolls and detailed plasterwork, it really is a masterpiece and my favourite ‘old building’ in Castellón. However, I also like modern designs too, and while the Santander Bank building a little further round is nothing special, to me, I love the reflections you can find in the mirrored glass of that building and also one I spotted on a street corner.
Parks are special places in Spain and very well used especially at lunchtimes by people working in the city and at the weekends by families. We found the Ribalta Park which was constructed in 1868 originally only as a promenade and named after the artist Ribalta. Over the intervening years it has been extended and transformed into a wonderful area for relaxation and walking. Pathways radiate from a central open area complete with a monument, tall trees and many tiled benches, the bandstand has a domed roof, columns and soft terracotta paintwork and many species of trees, roses and oleander.
It was a really great day out and one I can recommend without hesitation.