Cardona, Spain – Of Dukes and Salt Mountains

Cardona (Spain) is a well-known town in Catalonia for the Castle and the Muntanya de Sal.

Muntanya de Sal (Salt Mountain)

It’s most prominent feature (and the reason why it is well-known) is the Muntanya de Sal (Mountain of Salt), a rock salt mine opened under the Romans. The mine is no longer producing; you can take tours of the mine, learning about its history, local geography and the town in English, Spanish and Catalan.

The town sits on a large rock salt deposit (hence the ancient salt mine) which in turn sits on sandstone. Glaciers carved this entire area (as is the case with the rest of Catalonia) during the last Ice Age. The formation of the Pyrenees can also be seen here with the horizontal stratifying of different rocks and salts.

Castle of Cardona in Spain

The Castle of Cardona, which dates to the 11th century, is the other feature of the town. It is arguably one of the most important in Aragonese (the kingdom) and Spanish history. The river Cardener winds around the town, serving as a natural defence for the town and the Castle. The original castle was built as early as the 800s. The castle is the ancestral home of the dukes of Cardona who were second only to the king of Aragon. The family owned territory throughout the kingdom of Aragon. They were also related to all the crown families of Iberian and Southern Italy at the time.

Today the castle attracts tourists who make it outside of Barcelona. It contains a Romanesque church, and now is a luxury hotel since its conversion. The views from the castle are also a sight worth seeing.

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