Castell d’Aro

Castell d’Aro is a little town of the municipality of Castell-Platja d’Aro.
It is an historical complex, declared as a cultural asset of national interest.
In 2005 it had 1,535 inhabitants.

It is located about 2 km from Platja d’Aro, the main urban area in the municipality, on the heart of the Costa Brava. Formerly, Castell d’Aro was the head of the municipality and the most important nucleus of the valley of Aro. In 1858 the four parishes that conformed the municipality of Santa Cristina d’Aro were segregated and in the 60’s of the 20th century the tourist growth of the area caused the creation of Platja d’Aro and the loss of the municipal capitality for the benefit of the new coastal nucleus.

Historical Buildings

Castell d’Aro is a medieval town built around the Benedormiens Castle and the church of Santa Maria as a chapel of the castle and suffraganda of Santa Cristina d’Aro, and later, in 1691, it would become a parish. It is located at the top of a hill that goes from the ridges of the Gavarres massif to the plain of the valley of Aro, the Ridaura river basin, which is the only flat in the Baix Empordà region south of the Gavarres.

A first nucleus is located around the two axes, in the east-west direction and formed by the streets of El Carme and Esglèsia, and the other through the Major and the Castell streets, which converge through the current Carrer del Calvari on the point where is the cross of the term. Complete this inner road plot with a third axis formed by the current Plaça de Santa María and the ascent of Esglèsia that crosses the two previous ones. This structure is completed by the streets of Sol and Hospital, and a small square.

Its buildings retain very interesting elements from the 15th to the 18th centuries, including gilded portals, Gothic, Renaissance and Renaissance windows, and thresholds dating back to the 18th century. The majority of the houses of Castell d’Aro are between medianeras with the main facade open to the streets that form the axes in the east-west sense and on the square of Santa Maria, whereas the streets of Sol and the Hospital only give access to the backyard of the houses.

The building of the castle, damaged by two fires, one in 1462, caused by the Remences and the other in 1879, fortuitous, conserves little remains of medieval times. The current castle is a building of remarkable dimensions resulting from the restoration started in 1970.

The church of Santa Maria del Castillo, with a late Gothic style with a Baroque façade, is a single nave with side chapels and a polygonal headboard. The cover, framed by pilasters with false capitals, has on the lintel the date 1784 and, more on top, a niche with reliefs on both sides. On the south side there is a bell tower with a square plan of Baroque period, with two windows with a semicircular arch on each facade and crowned with a pinnacle, and at the top there is the body of the sacristy.

The rectory is located next to the limits of the medieval nucleus, built in 1569, as it appears on the lintel of the entrance portal. It is a ground floor and floor construction, with a roof on two sides and a perpendicular clearing on the main symmetrical facade according to three axes of which the central building houses the entrance portal on the ground floor with a relief shield and the date and a window on the first floor, with Renaissance decoration. The building has undergone extensions for its rear façade.

Town History

The first document mentioning the castle called Benedormiens (“castrum appelatum Benedormiens”), dates from the year 1041 a.c. and refers to a meeting held to decide the future of this newly constructed castle, in order to protect the territory of the Aro Valley from the danger of Saracen invasions. The Countess Ermessenda, widow of Count Ramon Borrell, bishop Pere Roger de Girona, Abbot Landrid of the monastery of Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Gaufred Vidal and wife Guíxol, lords of Pals, met and attended the church of Santa Cristina from the Vall d’Aro. The castle was ceded, not to a layman but to the monastery of Sant Feliu de Guíxols along with tithes and primroses of the parish of Santa Cristina.

In the year 1099, the abbot of Sant Feliu de Guíxols gives castlania to Ramon Gaufred, from the family of the lords of Pals. In 1197, the abbot of Sant Feliu donated the property of the castle to Guerau de Lledó, in exchange for a tribute oath. After the 12th century, there is no news of the castle of Benedormiens. Since the thirteenth century, the “Castro de Aredo” is mentioned.

According to the census carried out during the reign of King Pere III the Ceremonious, dated 1359 or 1381, Castell d’Aro had 73 fires. In 1462, during the war of the Remences, the castle was set on fire, suffering major destructions and entering into a sharp decline. During the 17th century, Castell d’Aro no longer belongs to the monastery of Sant Feliu de Guíxols and goes on to depend on the Crown, forming the royal battalion of the Vall d’Aro, and in 1691, the church appears mentioned as parish, although depending on that of Santa Maria de Fenals d’Aro. It is no longer the original Romanesque chapel but rather the large late Gothic style church.

In the nineteenth century, during the reign of Isabel II, Castell d’Aro was head of a municipal district integrated, in addition to the villages of Santa Cristina d’Aro, Bell-lloc, Fenals, Romanyà de la Selva and Solius , which after a short time were segregated to form an independent municipal entity, Santa Cristina and its aggregates of Solius, Romanyà and Bell-lloc, being within the term of Castell d’Aro, the area of ​​Platja d’Aro, s ‘Agaró, Sant Pol, Fenals and La Crota.

In 1879 the castle suffered a second accidental fire with a strong explosion that seriously affected primitive structures. After this fire, the building, which was owned by the municipality, was rebuilt and housed a number of dependencies and services, including national schools, until 1970.

Between 1892 and 1969 he had a railway connection to the Sant Feliu de Guíxols line in Girona. In the village, the Living Nativity Scene of Castell d’Aro has been celebrated since 1959, the oldest living nativity scene in Catalonia.


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