They will rehabilitate the walls, the facade and the galleries of the Castell de la Suda

The State will allocate 4.6 million euros from European Next Generation funds to rehabilitate elements of the historical heritage of the Suda Castle in Tortosa, declared a Site of Cultural Interest (BIC). An investment in the Parador Nacional de Turismo that forms part of the Modernization and Competitiveness Plan for the tourism sector.

The actions will focus on the entire walled enclosure of the castle, located on a hill overlooking the city and the Ebro river and which has its origins in the 10th century, the main entrance façade, the Andalusian necropolis (the only one in Catalonia) and the underground galleries of the complex, currently in danger of collapse and closed to the public so far this year.

As the director of the Parador de Tortosa, Jesús Hernández, explains in the newspaper, the project has been presented in agreement with the Tortosa City Council and work is being done to start the works at the beginning of 2023. It is the most important investment that carried out in the complex since it was rehabilitated and became a Parador de Turismo in 1976, and will focus on the elements of the imposing heritage that is preserved and that covers a good part of the ancient history of the city.

Apart from that, the accommodation plans to make an investment of around 2 million euros to refurbish and update all the hotel equipment; and it is studying to replace all the exterior wooden elements of the buildings, among other actions; a project that is also currently in drafting and administrative processing.

Andalusian necropolis

In the Castell de la Suda, the only Arab necropolis discovered so far in Catalonia is preserved. It appeared in 1973, during the works to build the Parador Nacional de Turismo. The site has graves from the 10th to the 12th centuries. The position of the remains, corresponding to thirty people, obeyed Koranic prescriptions. In one of the actions, in 2016, a large number of Roman coins were also found, currently under study.

The works at this point in the complex will consist of rehabilitating and reinforcing the existing remains, and it is also proposed to be able to cover them with glass, given that they are outdoors and can be damaged in heavy rainy weather.

The thickness of the action will focus on the rehabilitation, cleaning and consolidation of the entire wall that surrounds the castle, both on the outside and inside. It is a very important work, given the great height of the wall that sits on the hill of the city, with such emblematic elements as the Punta del Diamant. "On the inside the wall may be two or three meters long, but on the outside it is like a multi-storey building, so large scaffolding will be needed," remarks the director of the Parador Nacional de Turismo.

About four years ago a small part of this wall collapsed after an episode of heavy rains, and to recover it, a large scaffolding had to be installed. Apart from the rain, another of the enemies for the maintenance of the walls are the herbs and plants that grow.

underground galleries

The Castell de la Suda is named after the great central well, or suda, which is inside the enclosure and where numerous underground galleries with silos and ovens converge. Some galleries that formerly reached down to the bottom of the hill, to parts of the city such as the Santa Maria Cathedral. Now these steps no longer exist and the galleries that can still be accessed from the castle are suffering from landslides, so they have had to be closed for safety. Thus, part of the project also contemplates the consolidation and recovery of this underground part of the enclosure, where, due to the existing remains, there was also a lot of life when the castle was inhabited. The will of the Parador is to recover guided tours and enable one of the spaces as a unique room to hold events and activities such as tastings of wines and products from the territory, explains Hernández.

As for the work to update the interior of the Parador, it is planned to be carried out in phases so that the establishment, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in four years, does not have to close its doors at any time.

The Parador de Turismo hosts between 15,000 and 20,000 people annually. More than half come from Catalonia and from all over Spain, but the establishment is also very attractive for tourists from many countries, especially Europe. Thus, the main foreign clients are from France, followed by the United Kingdom, France and Belgium, according to data provided by the Parador in the newspaper. The location of the hotel in the capital of Terres de l'Ebre and in the Mediterranean corridor favors this diversity of clients. On the one hand, weekend visitors, attracted by the assets of the Ebro, especially the historic center of Tortosa and the Delta natural park. Secondly, customers passing through, who make a short stay on their way to their final destination. "We have European clients who travel to Alicante or Malaga and spend the night at the Parador," explains Hernández.

Among its most illustrious guests is, for example, former United States President Jimmy Carter.

The Parador has 72 rooms and a staff of 46 people. It is certified by the Catalan Tourism Agency and the Spanish Federation of Large Families as a family tourism destination.

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