Aspe’s timeless symbols: Castles, culture, and continuity

Castillo del Rio, Aspe.

Castillo del Rio, Aspe. Image: Aspe Turismo.

Aspe’s rich history is symbolised in its flag and coat of arms, featuring an image of three castles that played pivotal roles in the town’s past.

Castillo del Rio

One significant historical site is the Castillo del Río, an Islamic fortified area from the 12th-13th century.

Located three kilometres from Aspe, near the road connecting the town with the Madrid-Alicante motorway, it stands on the left bank of the Vinalopó River, south of its confluence with the Tarafa River, on a 246-metre-high hill.

Rather than being a traditional castle, Castillo del Río is a fortified town built during the Almohad era, with walls and twelve towers.

The elongated layout covers about 7,000 square metres and is divided into two sections.

Archaeological Finds

Numerous excavation campaigns at this site have revealed remarkable archaeological finds, including one of only two Arab ploughs discovered in Spain, now displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Alicante (MARQ).

In 2001, Castillo del Río was declared a Site of Cultural Interest.

Aljau Castle

In contrast, much less remains of the Aljau Castle. Built in the 15th century on a small hill for defence, only some walls stand today.

The remains were discovered by accident in 2009 during road construction.

Calvary Castle

As for the Calvary Castle, also built in the 15th century, no physical remnants have been found, though historical records suggest it was located on the town’s west side.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, UK, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 20 years.