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Castell d'Ambra

The Castle of Ambra is in the municipality of Pego. In the andalusian era the valley was full of hamlets: Atzahila, Atzeneta, Avengalip (Benigalip-Benigani), Beniomer, Beniparri, Benituba, Benumeia, Benixat, Benisuleima, Castelló, Cotes, Favara, Forna, Gaià, L'Atzúbia, Massil, Rupais, Salamona, Sorell and Uxola.

The Castle of Ambra dates back to the beginning of the 13th century. It is a very late construction which some authors classify as belonging to the “fear castles”. In the face of the advances of the troops of Jaume I, the rural communities got organised so as to build a refuge castle; inside it, they established temporary settlements while waiting for the arrival of the Christian army. There are a total of 20 houses inside the courtyard.
The castle did not actively participate in the conquest process, but it did have an important role in the following Mudejar revolts led by Al-Azraq. In 1268, the castle was ceded to Arnau de Romaní by Jaume I, who ordered him to maintain in the castle a beast of burden along with ten men.

Finally, after having been in Saracen hands for three years, from 1276 onwards the castle started losing its military importance. It completely lost it from 1280 onwards with the creation of the new town of Pego. After the second Charter of Settlement (1268) conceded with better conditions than the first one (1279), settlers from Barcelona started coming; they settled in the fortified town constructed upon the former hamlet of Uxola. The remains of the walls of the precinct manifest the value of the defensive architecture: walls made of rammed earth, stonework foundations, and four protruding cubes (towers) with a rectangular floor plan, reinforcing the wall. The gate offering access to the precinct is in the southeast, between the rampart and the actual wall of the castle. It has a guardhouse where the guarding of the castle between two doors took place during the night; it also gave passersby a place to rest. In the guardhouse itself it is possible to distinguish what could have been a strange mediaeval game made up of eight holes where stones of different sizes had to be thrown.

In the interior of the precinct, beside the second tower of the wall, there is a cistern with a rectangular floor plan, made of rammed earth, which served to collect rainwater.

Although the castle is in a relatively good condition, the intense work of terracing and the erosive action of atmospheric agents have seriously damaged the constructions. (1)

(1) Almela, J.M. El Castell d’Ambra. The Pego Town Hall website. https://www.pego.org/el-poble/castell-ambra.html

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