Spain is a beautiful country with a lot of rich culture to explore. Still, whereas there is a lot of information available about cities like Barcelona, Valencia and Tarragona, there is almost little to none information in English about the smaller sights. One of the places I’ve visited while in Spain was the little known Poblat Ibèric de La Moleta del Remei in Alcanar, in the south of the province of Catalonia. In the hills, slightly off the coast, you can find this small white chapel surrounded by olive trees. And that’s not everything this place has to offer. On top of the hill, you can discover the ruins of an Iberian settlement that dates from the 7th to the 2nd century BC!
Ermita del Remei
The chapel, called Ermita del Remei is a neat white chapel. The inside is not very special, but the exterior makes for a good photo opportunity. Surrounding the chapel, many olive trees have been planted, which create a nice atmosphere. Some olive trees have signs with information as well. Great if you’re a lover of trees.
To be honest, I’m not really a great fan of olive trees (although it was nice to walk around). I mainly wanted to visit this place, because I love archaeological excavations. Moreover, it was nice to leave the business of the beach(towns) in the summer behind (but you can still see the sea from the hills), and the view of the hills was quite nice. The archaeological site La Moleta del Remei is not open everyday. You can check current opening times here (the website is in Catalan, but with Google Translate I think you’ll manage).
La Moleta del Remei
La Moleta del Remei is one of the most important Iberian sites of Catalonia. It was built even before the arrival of the Iberians (a set of peoples who lived in Spain) along with five more sites in the area. Possibly, these were people that wanted to establish commercial relations with the Phoenicians (who lived in the eastern Mediterranean). Around 500 people (a large amount for that time!) resided in the settlement in small houses, possibly of two floors. Around 600 BC, the site was abandoned. However, 150 years later the Iberians started to reform and occupy the site until the 2nd century BC.
For a while, the Iberians ruled over parts of Spain, before the Romans conquered the land. Clearly, these ruins show that the Iberians could build well organised and (for that time) highly fortified settlements. It is true that you need to have a little bit of imagination walking around, but there are a lot of signs telling you about the possible buildings, which can help your imagination. Even on a beach holiday, a little taste of culture and history is mandatory!
In my opinion, the Poblat Ibèric de La Moleta del Remei is definitely worth a detour. You could combine it with Peñíscola, 30 kilometers to the south, or Tortosa, 35 kilometers to the north.