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La Vall de Gallinera

Castell de Gallinera o de Benirrama

The Castle of Gallinera (alternatively called Benirrama Castle) is located at the eastern entrance to the valley known as La Vall de Gallinera. It sits on a rocky hill next to L’Almiserà, at an altitude of 475.6 metres above sea level. The name that history has given it is that of Gallinera Castle, although locally in the valley it is better known as Benirrama Castle.

The historical function of the castle was to guard and defend the entrance to the valley from the maritime plain. It is an elongated castle, its principal axis oriented northeast to southwest, and it measures more than 150 metres in length with a maximum width of 33 metres.

It has the main area at the highest point, where the tower known as La Torre de L’Homenatge is located, built with a rectangular floor plan and a cistern. This bastion is oriented towards the west and has a rectangular area protected by newer constructions that isolate it and make it gain height. The rest of the castle space is made up of a large “albacar” (a large courtyard) with two cisterns, one at each end.

The defensive constructions are formed by a wall with battlements that surrounds the entire mound and has six towers. The access door, covered by a rectangular masonry tower, opens on the east side. This tower and the wall that starts from it were united by an arch to the wall on the left, forming an entrance corridor that was easy to defend.

The first written evidence available is about the “Castle of Ghallinayra”, dating from 1245, in the form of the co-called Pact del Pouet, signed by the infant Alfons and Al-Azraq. In 1247, during the first uprising, this castle was taken by the Saracens of Al-Azraq. On the 1st of June, 1258, the castle was conquered by King Jaume I who, from 1261 onwards, ceded it to various people so as to pay off the debts he had with them. On the 22nd of June, 1322, James II donated the castle to his fourth son, the infant Pere d'Aragó, count of Ribagorça. This donation put an end to the situation of royalty for the district of Gallinera, which in that moment became a feudal lordship. Since then, the castle was included for a whole century in the great estate of the county of Dénia and of the royal dukes of Gandia until 1424, when it returned under royal power. Guillem de Vich received it in 1425 and, some years later, in 1487, Miquel Hieroni de Vich sold La Vall de Gallinera, together with the castle, to Pere Lluís de Borja for 199,000 sous. The earthquake of 1644 destroyed it for good, although by then the castle had already been uninhabited for some years.


Azuar Ruiz, R. (1989): “Dénia islámica. Arqueología y poblamiento”, Alacant.
Giner, C. (1979): "Topografía histórica de los valles de Pego".
Rubio, F. (1986): "Castillo de Gallinera", Arqueología en Alicante 1976-1986. Instituto de Estudios Alicantinos “Juan Gil Albert” Diputación Provincial de Alicante 1986. p. 41-42.
Rubio, F. (1988): "Catálogo de yacimientos de materiales altomedievales y musulmanes", L'Ull del Moro, Alcoi.

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