Castle of Castellcir or castle of Popa

The castle of Castellcir or castle of Popa is in this municipality of the district of Moianès, onto an isolated rocky cliff that elongates from SW to NE and that is eroded at the base.

The rocky cliff is about 10-12 meters tall above the ridge in a vertical or overhanging wall. It dominates the surroundings and reinforces the protection of the castle. A flat stratum of hard limestone from reef origin maintains the ridge. Above the limestone there is, or it used to be, a stratum of 10-12 meters of sandstone rock. The upper layers of sandstone are consolidated and edged, while the lower layers are more clayey or loamy. Thousands of years ago, the erosion wiped out a large part of the sandstone layer isolating the elongated rocky cliff; nowadays it continues to reduce it. The erosion at the more sensitive base of the cliff results in a ship’s stern shape, especially at the NE tip of the cliff (1st photo). The erosion endangers the stability of the cliff and that of the castle that was built to the borders. A large crack runs vertically through the cliff and the castle wall as a single unit. Sooner or later -let’s hope it’ll be later- the great collapse that the crack announces will happen. In any case, the Popa castle is currently a magnificent spectacle of medieval heritage, history, and geomorphology.

The first documentation of the castle dates from year 1014, so its construction should have begun in the 10th century. In fact, it was a walled fortress occupying the entire top flat surface of the cliff. The fortress consists of two buildings (2nd and 3rd photos) that are connected by an interior patio, one at the NE point and the other in the centre of the rock, and the church of Sant Martí, currently in ruins, at the SW point. The castle and the hermitage remained for centuries, but abandonment along the 20th century led to irreversible deterioration. It is not safe to go into the castle.

[photos Jordi Badia]