Calle Baixada Buffador, Peñíscola.
|Address:||Samarucs, Calle Baixada Buffador, Peñíscola, Tel: +34-964-481965, Tel: +34-673-248-893.|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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The Bufador de Peñiscola is a blowhole located in the middle of a Medieval city. The town Peñiscola was erected on a rocky peninsula, with strong walls for fortification. Unfortunately there was a natural blowhole, and building the walls so that it was left outside would have affected their resistance to attacks. So they built the wall in front of the blowhole and buildings on top.
The place is located at the narrow Calle Baixada Buffador, which actually has two completely different parts. There is a normal road of this name in the town, with shops and cafes, which is today a pedestrian zone. Half way down the road, some stone steps lead to a narrow cobblestone lane which runs between bars and cafes on the left and the city wall on the right. At the end of this lane is the Bufador (blowhole). Pretty impressive: have a close look at the blowhole while drinking a cocktail in the bar Samarucs (we added the address, if you want to make a reservation).
The blowhole is a cave in the rock which opens with a vertical shaft to the surface. If the sea is not calm, the waves produce a reverberating snorting sound. If the waters start to churn, the hole additionally produces a spray of water. But when the sea is really roiling, a large column of water bursts from the blowhole, every time a big wave hits the peninsula. The force of the wave is collected and amplified by the narrowing cave until it is strong enough to blow the water with force. The water bursts out 20m, fills the last section of the road with 20cm high sea water and the burst can even reach the top of the 6m high city wall. Fortunately at this time the weather is already so bad that there are no tables in front of the cocktail bar.
The cave obviously has two entrances, one in the city, and one to the sea. It is possible to visit the outside opening with a boat, on a sightseeing trip around the peninsula. The mouth is 10m wide, but narrows immediately, leading 65m into the rock. In the city there is some natural rock at the basement of a house, with a 6m deep hole where the end of the cave can be seen at the bottom. Such an opening was actually a weakness in the fortification. During times of calm sea enemies could climb in during the night. But actually it was the other way round, the strange sound dissuaded anyone who might consider attacking his castle. At least according to legend. It states that Papa Luna was never attacked because of this, but actually he spent only the last six years of his life here, and his importance had already vanished.
Nevertheless the full name of the blowhole is El Bufador del Papa Luna, it was named in honor of Pedro Martínez de Luna y Pérez de Gotor who became Antipope Clement XIII. He was the last of the Popes of Avignon during the Western Schism. After some dispute the King of France declared the pope in Rome to not be the actual pope and installed a string of pontiffs in Avignon. The popes palace there is still a major tourist destination. For a short term there was actually a third alternative pope. But in 1398 the Kingdom of France withdrew its recognition of the Avignon anti-popes and after de Luna was sieged in Avignon for five years by the French King, he finally managed to flee in 1403 disguised as a Carthusian monk. After travelling across Europe he finally fled to the Castillo de Peñíscola (Peñiscola Castle) in 1417 and lived here until his death on 23-MAY-1423. The castle is still known under the name Castell del Papa Luna.
For film buffs the city is also quite interesting. Peñiscola Castle was one of the filming locations for the 1961 classic movie El Cid (imdb 7.2), with Charlton Heston as "El Cid" Rodrigo de Vivar. Also on the cast Sophia Loren, Raf Vallone, and Geneviève Page. In Game of Thrones the city was used to film scenes for Mereen, you might recognize the Park of Artillery, the Rampa of Felipe II, the Square of Santa María, the Portal Fosc or the Walk of Round if you know the series. Also The Rocket from Calabuch (1956, imdb 7.4) was filmed in the city. Almost unknown outside of Spain is the series Chiringuito de Pepe (Pepe's Beach Bar) which was filmed here in 2014 and 2016.