Arena de San Pedro seems like a town that you would drive through and be on your way, but it actually has a lot of interesting things to do in and around the town so make sure you take time to stop.
Castle of Arena de San Pedro
The Castle of Arena San Pedro was built in record time in the late 1300’s. It took only 30 years to build which was amazingly fast for the type of construction especially in that time period. This was accomplished by taxing the people in the village in a unique way. Not only were monetary taxes required, but anyone with a skill was required to offer their services as part of the tax. The palace got built in record time as a result but made for some interesting construction styles along the way.
Some of the windows, for example, were built in the arched Arabic style, others which were made by Jewish tradesmen and had a different style. Some were started by one contractor and finished by another and so the style changes can be seen at the same time.
This was not a fortress type of castle, it was used as a residence. It didn’t have double walls, wasn’t built on top of a cliff and didn’t have a moat around it. It wasn’t built for the purpose of being a fortress, rather of being a place to control products and goods travelling from the north to the south. This was a route that most merchants would have had to use at the time, and a toll bridge was built to provide steady income to the town, as well as control the merchandise.
The history of the inhabitants is of course even more interesting than the actual construction.
After the king, Don Álvaro de Luna was the most powerful person in the country. His power and influence made him a target of his enemies and he was killed as a traitor.
Doña Juana, the Triste Condesa (the sad countess) had to clear the defamed name of her late husband. She was successful and was able to clear her husband’s name and win back most of the land and properties that were lost after his death.
Doña Juana continued to be a powerful influence after the death of her husband.
Palacio del Infante Don Luis de Borbon y Farnesio
This palace was commissioned to be built by D. Luis de Borbon, in 1780. D. Luis was a bit of a rebel and his brother, the king Carlos III encouraged him to build in this remote area in hopes that D. Luis would stay occupied in his hobbies of hunting and chasing women and avoid the court.
This Neoclasic palace is not available for tours, but it does often have expositions on the first floor. Check with the tourist office to see if there is an exposition on the day you are visiting.
Churches in Arena de San Pedro
There are three churches that you can visit in San Pedro: The gothic Parroquial Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion built in 14th century, the San Juan Bautista church which was a convent from the 15th-19th centuries, and the Santuario de San Pedro de Alcantara founded in 1561.
Historical town centre of Arena de San Pedro
The Nava and Canchal are old Arabic streets that conserve the original architecture of lime walls, overhanging balconies and small openings along the parephets.
The town centre also has a Jewish centre with its own architectural style.
Tourist information for Arenas de San Pedro
Telephone: 920 370 005
Limestone Caves- Cuevas del Auigla
The available guided tour that lasts about half an hour and takes you through some of the caverns and explains how these fascinating formations came about.
Information for touring Cuevas de Aguila:
+34 920 37 71 07