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Cornatel Castle -- Reduced visiting hours

2020 Camino Guides

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Note from mods: See more recent post for current information

First it was the Mesón Lucus in Chantada, now it's the Cornatel Castle. Javier linked to an article explaining that the rocks in the wall are starting to fall.

http://www.diariodeleon.es/noticias/bierzo/priaranza-cierra-castillo-cornatel-caida-piedras-sus-muros_1139545.html

Looks like some emergency works will be undertaken.

And btw, for future Invierno pilgrims -- the view shown in the picture of the article is NOTHING like the view you get of the castle as you are walking up on the Camino. What you will see is a fortress impossibly perched on the edge of the mountain, and you will ask yourself how in the world did anyone get those rocks up there in the first place.

The castle's visiting hours had been reduced year after year, so not too many Invierno pilgrims had the opportunity to visit it anyway. Maybe the resurgence of the Invierno will help encourage the powers that be to undertake the repairs.
 
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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Not really the news that deserves a like but I've "like"ed it anyway ;)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Just got a “like” to this thread, which brought it back to my attention. I spent some time with the tourism officials in Priaranza del Bierzo last year as we were doing the 2018 version of the forum guide, and this is the most recent information I have on the castle. I will be updating in the coming months and will be sure to contact the tourism folks again.

Visiting hours have been reduced, so you may be disappointed. As of early 2018, the castle is open Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m - 5 pm. Closed in winter, opens in March. 2€ entrance fee, 1€ for those over 65. Some pilgrims enjoy looking over the castle, which was built, perhaps by Templar Knights, in either the 9th or the 14th century. Historians are undecided. The castle was a setting in Gil y Carrasco’s novel “El Senor de Bembibre.” You can see pictures, to help you decide whether it’s worth a visit, here: http://www.rottodigital.com/vistas_cornatel.html
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
Hey ho, looks as if I will have to admire it from afar, gnashing my teeth like Doña Beatriz' villainous husband the Conde de Lemos when he unsuccessfully besieged it. Unless I can sneak up the cliff like Cosme Andrade.

By the way, you might tell your tourism friends that the Templars won't have built it in the 9th century as they didn't exist until c1130, and are unlikely to have had time to in the 14th as they were violently disbanded in 1314.
 
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ranthr

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
I was lucky to get inside before they closed for the day!
 

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hey ho, looks as if I will have to admire it from afar, gnashing my teeth like Doña Beatriz' villainous husband the Conde de Lemos when he unsuccessfully besieged it. Unless I can sneak up the cliff like Cosme Andrade.

By the way, you might tell your tourism friends that the Templars won't have built it in the 9th century as they didn't exist until c1130, and are unlikely to have had time to in the 14th as they were violently disbanded in 1314.
Alan, we desperately need you to do some historical fact-checking in the Invierno guide. No fake news for this bunch!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hey ho, looks as if I will have to admire it from afar, gnashing my teeth like Doña Beatriz' villainous husband the Conde de Lemos when he unsuccessfully besieged it. Unless I can sneak up the cliff like Cosme Andrade.

By the way, you might tell your tourism friends that the Templars won't have built it in the 9th century as they didn't exist until c1130, and are unlikely to have had time to in the 14th as they were violently disbanded in 1314.
While Alan is luxuriating on the Camino de la Lana, those of us in the trenches are working on updating the Invierno guide to meet his standards. I did some research on Cornatel and came up with this for its history. It may be too much info for the guide, but I did pare down quite a bit from the wikipedia entry and thought this was pretty interesting:

Visiting hours have been reduced, so you may be disappointed. As of 2018, the castle is open Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m - 5 pm. Closed in winter, opens in March. 2€ entrance fee, 1€ for those over 65. To get up to date information, you can call the town hall of Priaranza del Bierzo at 987 420 806.

The scholarly debate on the castle is ongoing, but here is one respected version of its history. The castle may have been the site of the Romans' Castelo de Ulver, built to defend the gold operations at As Médulas. Later 9th century traces have also been identified. It is likely that the castle was rebuilt in the 13th century by the Knights Templar after Alfonso IX of León donated it to them in 1211. When the order disappeared in 1312, the castle passed to Alfonso XI of Castilla. The castle’s name has been documented as of 1378, and for the next century it was taken, retaken, nearly destroyed, and finally given by the Reyes Católicos (Ferdinand and Isabel) in 1486 to the newly created Marqués de Villafranca del Bierzo. In 1900, the heirs to the castle donated it to the hamlet of Villavieja, which used it for years to shelter flocks of sheep. Government restauration began in 2002, and it contains a small museum. The castle is the site of an annual medieval musical festival, held the last weekend in August.

You can see pictures, to help you decide whether it’s worth a visit, here: http://www.rottodigital.com/vistas_cornatel.html
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
The opening hours are quite generous again, Wednesday-Monday 11.30-18.30 although they suggest you ring in advance to confirm (606898140) as "Nov 2018 horairios susceptible de cambio siendo esta servicio no responsible de los mismos". It was pretty busy last Sunday, and also a steady stream of people heading for "el banco más bonito del Bierzo".
_20181124_193135.JPG
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
The opening hours are quite generous again, Wednesday-Monday 11.30-18.30 although they suggest you ring in advance to confirm (606898140) as "Nov 2018 horairios susceptible de cambio siendo esta servicio no responsible de los mismos". It was pretty busy last Sunday, and also a steady stream of people heading for "el banco más bonito del Bierzo".
View attachment 49156
Thanks, Alan,
I will edit the guide to reflect the current winter hours. And I will add the cell phone number (I think the land line number I listed is the ayuntamiento of Priaranza). But I think the change from 11 to 11:30 for opening hours is not so great for pilgrims, many more of whom will now pass the castle before it opens. Not that they should tailor their times to our needs, of course.

And,btw, do you approve of the proposed rewrite in terms of its historical description? It was your comment that got me scrambling.

Are you referring to the mirador “Las Barrancas de Santalla” with your comment about the banco más bonito? I would love to see some pictures taken from that mirador, because I have no memories of great views from that spot, though maybe I was not paying attention.
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
Thanks, Alan,
I will edit the guide to reflect the current winter hours. And I will add the cell phone number (I think the land line number I listed is the ayuntamiento of Priaranza). But I think the change from 11 to 11:30 for opening hours is not so great for pilgrims, many more of whom will now pass the castle before it opens. Not that they should tailor their times to our needs, of course.

And,btw, do you approve of the proposed rewrite in terms of its historical description? It was your comment that got me scrambling.

Are you referring to the mirador “Las Barrancas de Santalla” with your comment about the banco más bonito? I would love to see some pictures taken from that mirador, because I have no memories of great views from that spot, though maybe I was not paying attention.
Text looks great. 11.30 was ideal for me as it took me that long from Ponferrada. There are signs to the banco más bonito from the castle entrance, it's about 100 yards.

_20181125_061907.JPG
 
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