It’s impossible to miss the striking Castle of Miravet overlooking the River Ebro in Tarragona, Catalonia. The Castle is of Andaluz origin, but was later converted by the Templar Knights into a Castle Convent, around the middle of the 12th century. The location is spectacular, perched on the right-hand side of the River Ebro, above the town itself.
The old quarter of the town of Miravet seems to clamber it’s way from the river up the rock wall, under the shelter of the castle. Wander around its narrow streets, which are full of character and enjoy sights such as the Jewish area, the old Renaissance Baroque church, the medieval river mill and old shipyard pier.
Famous also for its pottery, Miravet is a place where it’s hard not to be moved by the wonderful views, culture and history. Choose how to view Miravet, as you can either discover it from the river or by land.
With a population of 774 (as of 2014), Miravet naturally has a small selection of restaurants to choose from, however some of these hold the Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence. Read about these in our restaurant section to know more about these important foodie choices. By the way if you’re a cherry lover, make sure to continue down to our fiesta section.
Crossing the River – Pas de Braca
In the villages and towns to be found on the River Ebro, there is a traditional type of boat, or punt, which has been used to cross the river. These weren’t very deep, and the tradition was to place a wooden platform over them which would be tied by metallic cable to both shores. Up until the 1960s the majority of these villages had this type of River Crossing, which was called a Pas de Barca. The only two that remain today can be found in Miravet and Flix. This is a unique experience, which is not to be missed when visiting Miravet, that makes use of the river’s water currents.
River Route From Mora d’Ebre to Miravet
Another wonderful way to experience the River Ebro is to take the ferry that goes from Mora d’Ebre to Miravet. These trips are available from the end of June until early September. It’s an enchanting way to approach Miravet, and to enjoy the marvellous scenery that overlooks the Ebre River.
Miravet Brief History
Because of its excellent location, it is suspected that more than likely Miravet was once an Iberian settlement. Remains that date back to the Roman era have been discovered there, and of course we know that it was occupied by the Moors for centuries. In fact it was one of the last Islamic strongholds in Catalonia.
Miravet Castle was the scene, however, of numerous sieges during various wars, and was especially badly affected during the battle of the Ebro, during the Spanish Civil War.
Things To Do
Miravet Old Town
The old town has its roots in Muslim times between the 13th and 17th centuries, and is full of character and wonderful little narrow streets and porches. Discover the last River Ebro shipyard, that is believed to date back to the 11th century, Bank Street – which was the Jewish area, the Moorish Mosque and Arch, and the old Renaissance-Baroque church. Don’t miss the oil mill, pottery glaze, and the Sanaqueta viewpoint. Meander your way on the fascinating vertical red rock where the Castle sits, surrounded by a lush forest and dolomitic formations.
The tradition of ceramics can be linked to Moorish times in Miravet, as well in other areas where the River Ebro flows. Around the town you can visit around seven pottery workshops, and see beautiful bowls, jugs, pots and bottles. Most of these workshops are in and around La Raval dels Canterers, which is about 300 metres from the centre. It’s a delight to see the potters working, and to consider this tradition of so many centuries.
The tradition was recognised as an Arts and Crafts Area of Interest by the Catalan government in 2000. The idea, of course, is to promote the preservation and continuation of this wonderful tradition in Miravet.
Photo courtesy of a local ceramic company, see their range here
Considered to be possibly the best example of Templar construction in the Western world, Miravet Castle has been declared a Monument of Cultural Interest. Formerly an Islamic fortress, Miravet Castle was converted into a Castle Convent by the Knights Templar in the middle of the 12th century. It’s a struggle to decide whether this is the best example of military and religious architecture of the Knights Templar, or whether this award should go to the Castle of Peñiscola. If you have time, I would highly recommend trying to visit both – they are located at a distance of 124 km (77 miles).
Miravet Old Church
Built between 1565 and 1585, by the Order of the Hospital, this is a magnificent Renaissance style church, located on the grounds of the former Mosque. Sadly it was also subject to the ravages of the Battle of the Ebro and the Spanish Civil War, and lost a number of important altarpieces and other images. Designed around a central nave, its side chapels and Baroque murals, which adorn the dome, are beautiful.
The church has been de-consecrated, and restoration work has been carried out. Today it holds a number of exhibitions of cultural and historical interest.
Route of the Three C’s
Miravet is part of one of the most important routes in the lands of the River Ebro called the route of the 3C’s. Luckily these seas translate equally well into English, and refer to the Castle of Miravet, the Cave Wonders of Benifallet and the Cathedral of Wine in Pinell de Brai. For those who feel energetic, this route can be done on mountain bike, or of course by car if you’re not that way inclined.
Photo credit Europeana EU
Where to Eat
Miravet Cherry Festival
Check out the Miravet Cherry Festival which takes place the second Sunday of each June.