History of the Grao

The Grao is a seaside neighbourhood of Castellón filled with history.

Despite the absence of any written evidence, the Grao has been inhabited for many centuries. It is believed that there were Iberian and Roman settlements in the area. Originally the Grao was a humid area filled with fens. Throughout history the inhabitants tried to drain the area to practice agriculture and establish settlements.

The first organised fishermen date from a more recent time: 1398. It was situated in Saint Thomas Church located in the street Escultor Viciano in Castellón. The first population census of the area as an independent neighbourhood, was taken in 1865 and recorded 428 residents.

During the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries a watchtower was built, identical to the Saint Vicent tower in Benicássim, the only difference being the Grao tower was slightly smaller. The tower was built for defence against the Berberisc pirates. Unfortunately it was destroyed a hundred years later and never rebuilt.

The most recent history of the Grao of Castellón is the one of its fishing harbour whose growth was also the growth and the development of Castellón maritime district.

Fishing has been and still is, an important activity for Castellón. The fishing harbour has been restored on several occasions and nowadays La Lonja (fish market) has been built next to it. Here you can find fresh fish caught the very same day. Chefs and restaurant owners frequent the Lonja to source fresh fish for their restaurants.

From 1970 the Grao of Castellón started to become more popular with tourists, hotels and apartments started to be built. In the 90s a new square was built: Plaza del Mar filled with restaurants, cinemas and different other businesses and the Grao of Castellón became a centre for leisure for the whole province.

The old Grao lighthouse was replaced with a more modern and efficient one. The old one was placed in the Plaza del Mar as a tribute to the Grao past and present.