Morella, a medieval jewel with a black diamond
Morella is a surprise in the mountainous region of Els Ports. You only have to see it from afar, with its silhouette set on top of a limestone hill, surrounded by a wall of two and a half kilometers and surmounted by a fortress. Seen like this, it has the appearance of an inaccessible place, but once at the gates of its stone belt, seven doors invite us to enter it. In the winter months, the surprise has more to do with the palate, when in the restaurants of this town in the province of Castellón we can enjoy the exquisite black truffle that is collected in its environment, they call it «the black diamond». VIEW GALLERY With a fortress coveted since ancient times by warriors, nobles and even by the Cid Campeador, this medieval city today is “attacked” in another way. The first thing is to look for the Sant Miquel gate, protected by two of the fourteen towers that the wall still has standing and which today house the Time of Dinosaurs Museum. From here, one can get lost in its labyrinth of steep and stepped cobblestone streets adorned with noble houses and old churches of great artistic value that make it the most interesting Gothic city in the Valencian Community. SEE GALLERY TO READ: Magical places that fall in love in the Valencian Community A good direction is to pass by the church of Sant Miquel and then continue towards Pla dels Estudis along Joan Giner street –where we will see the Gothic building of the town hall- and the portico and commercial Blasco de Alagón. Flanked by beautiful stone houses with balconies and viewpoints, through it we will pass more than once between shop windows that tempt us with the products of the land: the typical blankets – a reminder of the textile tradition of the place – that we can buy in Mantas Morellanas García ( mantamorellana.com), gourmet products such as honey, cheeses, jerky, wines and jams at Casa Manero (at number 8) or the typical flaó, the most desired sweet from local patisseries. Also on Joan Giner street is the Pastor Morella Cheese Factory (pastordemorella.com). SEE GALLERY TO READ: Unsuspected Castellón, do these places sound familiar to you? To conquer the rocky mass on which the population sits, we have to continue climbing until we come across the archpriest church of Santa María la Mayor, a Gothic jewel of the Mediterranean, where we will pay attention to the main altar and the magnificent spiral staircase that goes up to the imposing choir. And already in the shadow of the castle, the Convent of San Francisco, destined to become a Parador de Turismo and which has an evocative cloister. Already at the top, at 1070 meters of altitude, the castle is an exceptional viewpoint over the region. After a circular route to reach it, just stand in the Plaza de Armas, its highest point, to understand why this stronghold was so desired. SEE GALLERY SEE GALLERY Times are calmer today, now it’s time to continue wandering through the old town of this medieval relic and discover other corners here and there: chapels nestled in the walls of a house, pointed arches in the streets, the Museum del Sexenni (dedicated to his great festival that takes place six in six years), installed in the church of San Nicolás and even, outside the walled enclosure, the remains of an aqueduct, the sanctuary of the Virgen de la Vallivana, patron saint of the town, or further away, in the Morella la Vella area, some interesting cave paintings that, included in the Levantine Rock Art, are part of the World Heritage Site. SEE GALLERY What nobody wants to miss in this place between January and March are its Truffle Gastronomic Days, when Morella becomes the capital of the black diamond of the Maestrazgo kitchen. We can taste them at Casa Roque (casaroque.com), a benchmark for Morella gastronomy and located in a 17th century building, La Fonda Moreno (lafondamoreno.es) or the Daluan restaurant (daluan.es), recognized with a sun in the Repsol guide. TO REST Rey Don Jaime (reydonjaimemorella.com) is a classic of the town that has a restaurant. The most current option is Casalea (casaleamorella.com), a set of four modern apartments located in a house with typical Morella architecture. An old building also houses the Hotel del Pastor (hoteldelpastor.com), with spacious rooms and careful decoration, as well as a restaurant. Another good choice is the rural accommodations that are integrated in Cases de Morella (casesdemorella.com) scattered around the town. And you can also continue discovering: Ten beautiful Valencian towns, do you prefer on the coast or inland?