The little beach town of Mollendo is the perfect place to kick back and chill. Every day I’d make my way to the beach for some sun tanning, and I’d glance up at the yellow crumbling building up the hill. It was silently calling me to visit. Forga Castle. One afternoon I decided to head up around sunset for some shots.
As I reached the end of the boardwalk I saw some Police Officers hanging out. Asking them in Spanish how to get up to the castle, one of them shook his head. “You can’t go up there, it’s closed”, he said. “There are bums and bad people who will try to hurt you or steal your camera equipment” he told me. “Surely no one will try to hurt me if I don’t bother them right?” I asked. “No Senorita, its not safe” he repeated. “If you don’t tell me how to get up there I will go anyway, understand?” I said. “If I don’t come down in 2 hours come looking for me!” I joked. “We will follow you in the truck till you reach the top” he informed me.
I made my way up the road being careful to stay to the side as to not get run over. Glancing over I saw the two police officers drive by in their truck and give me disapproving looks. I grinned, waved, and kept walking. I figured if anyone up there really wanted the camera I’d hand it over- after removing my memory card. I was traveling alone and nothing was going to stop me from getting these shots. I’d waited till the last minute and I was leaving the next day. Besides, who would I wait for? If I didn’t go alone I’d never get up there. I’d not even seen any other tourists on this trip.
I had my ipod in one ear as company to the silence. The castle was completely empty-no bums. I cautiously made my way into graffiti filled rooms with decaying walls, expecting to see rats, spiders, anything. It was completely empty. The earthquakes had taken down the whole second floor, and light came in through holes in the ceiling. I didn’t feel scared, just excited.The paint was peeling but was still vibrant enough to see how lovely it must have been once.
Not much is written about the castle online. It was built in 1908 by José Miguel Forga Salinger. A wealthy Areqipeno, he’d traveled to Europe and returned intent on recreating some of the architectural beauty he’d seen abroad. In the early twentieth century, it was taken over by the state. I don’t know what happened to the owner, or why the family abandoned the castle. I mean, who abandons their castle? I’ll take it!
I read on the Fodor’s website that visitors were allowed to look around and that is definitely incorrect information according to the Policia. I would not advise going up there alone, much less at night. As I consider myself a rule breaker, I had a great time up there and these are the shots I took. If you head to Mollendo try to visit the castle at sunset. The views were spectacular.
To get up there, follow the road up the hill from the boardwalk. There is an abandoned hotel next door to the castle, so lots of places for people to hide out. I think there might have been people in the hotel peeking out, but no one bothered me. I walked back down the hill at night with my camera hanging from my shoulders. I think spending a week there made me feel safe and in general no one bothered me.
Have you been to Forga Castle? Can you tell me why it was abandoned?