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Araya Fortress, The Guardian of the White Gold

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Written by   65
9 months ago

Once upon a time in a village there was a castle where no ship had the courage to approach ...... But this time I am going to tell you about the castle of Araya, called Real Fortaleza Santiago de Arroyo de Araya (Santiago for the patron saint of Spain, Arroyo for the governor at that time and Araya for the population), where no kings lived, only people who were in charge of protecting the salt mine from the Dutch, English and French pirates, since salt was the "white gold" for them.

Photo by: Saladeinfo wordpress

In the late 1950s salt mining was hellish, as shown in Margot Benacerraf's film "Araya". Winner of the International Critics' Prize at Cannes in 1959 and selected to be screened at this year's Berlin Film Festival. You can see part of the movie in the following links:

A bit of history, the fortress was built by the Spaniards from 1623 to January 1625, by order of the Court of Madrid; they used as building materials the mortar blocks (a type of mortar used as a building material in masonry, composed of a mixture of lime, sand and water), as well as remains of shells and mollusks.

  • 1605, Scenario of great battles, the Spanish fleet defeated the Dutch, their eight (08) ships destroyed the facilities they had built.

  • 1609, Spain and Holland sign a truce, which means that the plan to build the fort does not continue.

  • 1621, The truce ends and the construction plans continue.

  • 1622, By order of the King, Juan Bautista Antonelli returns to the Araya Peninsula to begin the construction of the fort and in this way prevent the Dutch from continuing their incursion into these lands.

  • 1622, One of the most important naval battles took place, when 43 Dutch ships attacked Araya with the aim of interrupting the construction of the fortress and definitively seizing the peninsula, being finally rejected on January 13, 1623.

  • 1759, The Royal Court of Spain decided to demolish it, a task that was carried out by Governor José Digaja Villagomez, on January 6, 1762; one of the reasons was the high cost of maintenance, it had 246 people and a budget of 31,923 pesos fuertes per year, in addition to the fact that it had suffered heavy damage as a result of the earthquake in 1684 and, in addition to this, heavy rainfall flooded the salt mines in 1725.

  • 1960, On October 31 is declared a National Historic Monument.

From the castle you can appreciate the immensity of the sea, observe the maritime transport, the town of Araya, the mountains or "pillote" of salt and an impressive view of the salt mine called "La Laguna Madre", with a reddish coloration.... but that is another story.

At present, although there are few parts left, it still invites us to a tour to contemplate from there the salt lake, the town, its white and fine sand, that immense sea with its diversity of blue tones that joins the sky. From that point of the castle, which I show you in the photograph, I have had the opportunity to contemplate the sunrise, the sunset in the afternoon and at night I could glimpse the thousands of glows of constellations and stars with the naked eye.

Thanks for reading, you can leave a comment, if you want more information I am at your service. Don't forget to subscribe and like me.

I am mainly grateful to my wife for having researched and written a large part of the article, who better than her, who was born in Araya.


The photos were taken by me: Sony Alpha 5000 Camera

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Written by   65
9 months ago
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Thanks for this bit of history. I haven't been to the Araya Peninsula since I was a child. But, the Venezuelan east coast has such beautiful sceneries that it truly takes your breath away.

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9 months ago

There is definitely a great natural beauty along the coast, this inspiring article was short, still need to talk about the cold beach, salt mining, the population, in short I have much to write and photos to select.

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9 months ago

Well, that's great! People here use to like travel blogs. And if you have a lot of photos, it's great. One suggestion that I give you is that you try to make your articles a little longer. It's better to write fewer articles but longer ones.

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9 months ago

Very well, I will take it into account I did the article in three parts, I thought I was writing too much. Thanks

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9 months ago