Possibly the main attraction of city is its fortification – the castle in the centre of Alicante. It stands on Mount Benacantil(166 m).

On the slopes of the mountain have been found Bronze Age, Iberian, and Roman artifacts, but the origins of the castle date to the 9th century at the time of Muslim control of the Iberian Peninsula. The Arab medieval geographer Al-Idrisi calls this mountain Banu-lQatil, and the toponym may derive from the words pinna (Arabic for “peak”) and laqanti, adjectival form of Laqant, the Arabic name for Alicante.

From the 18th century the military role of the castle has declined and it was used sometimes as a prison.The castle remained abandoned until 1963, when it was opened to the public. Lifts have been installed inside the mountain (there is a small charge for the lift but not to enter the castle), and there are refreshments and other amenities at and near the summit. Reasonably fit visitors may also appreciate the exercise of a walk to the top.

Before our visit to Santa Barbara we visited also the Archaeological museum of Alicante, which was quite rich, but not surprising after me having been at the museums of history in Riga and London. Although this museum was devoted to local findings.

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Although it was possible to test our stamina, we all opted for escalator. No wonder –  after classes, museum and walking around the city.

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