From my desk window, as the crow flies, Requesens lies just
over our mountain range, on the ‘Catalunya Sud’ side of the
Albères, looking over the plains of Alt Empordà, in a grand
sweep, to the bay of Roses. A world away from the refined
châteaux of the Loire, our nearest neighbour is a fine example
of military or ‘defensive’ architecture.
Straddling the frontier of France and Spain, its origins are
a little vague (the first records date back to 859) yet it bears
all the hallmarks of a stronghold of the Counts of Roussillon
(Rosselló), and was eventually passed to the Counts of Rocaberti.
Long abandoned, its structure remains remarkably intact – a
labyrinth of passages and ramparts with reinforced stone rooves
and well-equiped stables endure. The interior has been stripped
of its adornments (it housed soldiers during the Spanish Civil
War) yet traces hint of the opulent royal apartments and original
faience. An ingenious system of aquaducts, basins and fountains
channel its most precious resource – water for the hundreds of
souls that occupied this bastion.