Morella is an ancient walled city located on a hill-top in the province of Castellón in Spain. There are traces of settlement by the Iberians, succeeded by the Greeks and Romans, Visigoths and the Moors. From the early 17th century to the Spanish Civil War, the town was often fought over, due to its strategic situation between the Ebro and the coastal plain of Valencia. Morella is part of the Taula del Sénia free association of municipalities.
The ancient Greeks established a treasury at Morella, but then the area became the scene of conflict between the Carthaginians and the Roman Empire during the Punic Wars. Eventually, the town was Romanized and became part of the province of Tarragona. The Visigoths populated the city in two different epochs, there are ruins of a Visigoth village on the site of Mas Sabater-Cantera de la Parreta de Morella. The Moors took the town in 714, naming it Maurela.
El Cid is reputed to have rebuilt the castle which dominates the town and in 1084 he is supposed to have fought in the service of Yusuf al-Mu’taman ibn Hud and defeated Sancho Ramírez of Aragon at the Battle of Morella. In 1117, Sancho captured Morella, but it was recaptured by the Moors and only finally subdued by Blasco de Alagon in 1232. Following Blasco’s death in 1239, James I of Aragon established a royal garrison in the city and awarded the inhabitants the title of “Faithful”.
Morella sided with Philip V during the War of the Spanish Succession in the early eighteenth century and became the centre of a military and political district. During the Napoleonic Wars, the citizens rose up against the invading forces and the town was finally captured for Spain in 1813 by Francisco Javier de Elío. In the Carlist Wars of the nineteenth century, Morella became the headquarters of the forces of Ramon Cabrera.
Every six years the citizens celebrate the Sexenni, a commemoration of the town’s recovery from the plague in the seventeenth century.