Castle-Palace of Duquesa de Almodóvar, Ontinyent


Plaza de San Roque, 2. Ontinyent


962 916 090 - Ontinyent Tourist Info

This 14th-century residential palace has undergone important alterations over time. It is located at an exposed position of the old wall, which is why it presents a fortress-like appearance.

This palace, which was built on the ruins of the old Muslim fortress, reflects the town’s medieval past and its link to El Cid. During the taifa period, Ontinyent is believed to have been an important fortified Muslim town, as noted by al-Idrisi (12th century). According to this historian, the castle of Ontinyent was one of the places where El Cid stayed when travelling from Murcia to Valencia. The gulleys of Pou Clar and of l´Almaig were incorporated into the design of the defensive structure around this site.

In November 1088, El Cid went from Xàtiva to Ontinyent, where he waited for the King Alfonso VI and his army. They came to relieve a group of Castilians at the castle of Aledo, in Murcia, which had been plundered by Almoravid and Andalusian forces. It is not clear whether Rodrigo and his men stationed within the town or set a camp on the outskirts of the town. A more likely possibility is that El Cid stayed overnight somewhere between the plains of Serra Grossa and Sierra de La Solana. It is known that he stayed there for several days. The king had ordered Rodrigo to wait for him at Villena, from where the two armies would proceed together towards Aledo. Yet El Cid decided to strike tents at Ontinyent in order to ensure enough provisions were available for his men, disobeying, thus, the orders of the king.

In order that he might receive due notice of the arrival of the king’s army and so have time to reach Villena from Ontinyent for the rendevous fixed by the king, he placed outposts at both Villena and Chinchilla. Yet, the message never arrived, so that Alfonso VI and El Cid did not meet. Angered by El Cid’s attitude, the king exiled Rodrigo for the second time. As a result, Rodrigo fell in disgrace and had to fight his enemies in a hostile territory. As the Almoravids approached, his men (who were loyal to the King of Castile) abandoned him. In spite of these difficulties, Rodrigo would eventually conquest Valencia.

Rev. PAB 27.12.18