HOSTALRIC CASTLE - FORTRESS
Hostalric Castle – Fortress stands on a basalt hill. The earliest evidence of the existence of a fortification on the site dates from 1145 but the castle we see today was built in the 18th century. One of the reasons for its construction was to command a view of the Camí Ral (Royal Way), a very important mediaeval road. The original design of the modern fortification of Hostalric was produced by Francisco de Santa Cruz, a military engineer in the service of Archduke Charles of Austria, and the first permanent fortification works were completed in 1712 and 1713 as a consequence of the War of the Spanish Succession, although the main works to make the fortress operational were carried out between 1794 and 1795, during the War of the Pyrenees.
OPENING HOURS: Saturday and sunday from 11:00 to 13:30h
Building inside the counterguard composed of two half-buried rooms with a small annex for the officer. The guardhouse had different uses. The building at the back served as a provisional gunpowder magazine while the building closest to the Carriage Gateway had two floors and contained the guardhouse, the cells and the troops’ quarters. Today it is used as an interpretation centre with an audio-visual display and an interactive scale model of the castle, serving as the starting point for visiting the fortress.
This small gunpowder magazine was used to load explosive projectiles. Today it forms part of the Fortress Interpretation Centre. Located outside the main enclosure, it was built during the War of the Pyrenees (1793-1795) for the purpose of loading explosives such as mortar bombs, shells and other war materials used at the time.
The first gunpowder magazine to be built in the fortress was placed above the bastion of Santa Bàrbara. This gunpowder magazine was constructed after the War of the Spanish Succession (1713-1715). It could hold up to 25,000 kilos of gunpowder. It was used to store gunpowder and the explosive materials of the castle and had a structure composed of buttresses, small vents in the walls of the building and a surrounding wall. Its structure has been preserved and today it houses an audio-visual display. It has the traditional appearance of facilities of this kind, characterised by the typical buttresses and surrounding wall.
A ravelin is a triangular defensive structure situated in front the inner works of the fortress, normally on the other side of a moat. Its purpose was to divide an assault force and protect the curtain walls by means of crossfire. These triangular structures were placed outside the main enclosure of the fortress..
The Carriage Gateway, built in the 18th century, was the main entrance to the inner works of the fortress. The bridge situated just in front of the gateway, originally a drawbridge, was built to connect the covered way to the ravelin and the counterguard and enable the access of carriages and the like. This large gateway was built to enclose this space and eventually became known as the Carriage Gateway. The bridge was defended by means of loopholes placed on each side of the gate..
The moat was dug out of the rock and surrounded two thirds of the castle. It presented attacking forces with an added difficulty since once they had conquered the covered way (the present-day road), they had to go down into the moat and attempt to climb the wall. It should be pointed out that it was a dry moat, since any rainwater that fell was collected in the cistern of the covered way.
In all fortresses, the parade ground was the central area around which the other facilities of the fortress were arranged. Furthermore, given that it was a large, outdoor area, it served as a training and/or recreational zone for soldiers. It was also were the garrison ceremonies were held and the main cistern of the fortress was located underneath it. The cavalier occupies almost the entire area of the old Cabrera Castle. Its high position make it the most important element of the fortress and it contained the officers’ quarters, storerooms, the bakery, the hospital, the chapel and the governor’s dwelling.
This had served as the main entrance to the fortress. However, it became a secondary entrance when the Carriage Gateway was built. The path connected the walled town to the castle. In fact, to reach the castle from the town, it was necessary to pass through three gates, each of which was protected by defences.