evidence found in Cova Foradada, a cave located on the
northern flanks of Cabo de San Antonio, suggests
that a nomadic hunter-gatherer society had settled
in the area some 30,000 years ago. One of the most important
discoveries was made in 1989 some 375 metres up on the
southern cliffs of the Montgó Massif: the cave of Barranc
del Migdia. Inside was discovered a series of cave paintings
and the remains of eight individuals suggesting that
the cavity was used as a funeral chamber and dates back
almost 4,700 years.
Iberian culture developed around the end of the 6th
century BC and an Iberian settlement was discovered
on the south-east slopes of Montgó with fragments of
amphoras, jugs, plates and bowls found in the badly-damaged
site. However, it was in 1904 when one of the greatest
discoveries was made when a farmer uncovered a ceramic
urn which was filled with a collection of gold and silver
jewellery which has become known as the 'Treasure of
Xŕbia' and is currently displayed in the National Archaeological
Museum in Madrid, although a replica can be seen in
the Soler Blasco Municipal Museum in the
heart of Xŕbia's historic centre.
the 2nd century BC and 6th century AD, the Romans settled
in the area and there is evidence of some 19 sites across
the municipality, the vast majority in the wide Sant
Bartomeu valley which had huge agriculatural potential.
However perhaps the most famous of the Roman remains
in Xŕbia is the site at Punta de l'Arenal. A
great pool known as the "Banys de la Reina"
- "Queen's Bath" - still exists, connected
to the sea by two channels carved into the tosca stone,
and archaeologists believe that it formed part of a
fish factory where salted fish was prepared. A little
further along to the coast on the other side of the
sandy Arenal bay is the Séquia de la Nňria, a
series of channel carved through the rocky coastline
which allowed the low land beyond to be flooded with
sea water. This water evaporated, leaving the salt which
was then used for the salting process.
the Romans abandoned the area in the 7th century AD,
it appeared to remain largely uninhabitated for some
200 years until the arrival of Moors in the 9th century
AD who lived in the region until the early 13th century.
Some 22 sites have been identified as from this time,
many of which have been largely damaged through terracing
and modern contruction, with a heavy concentration on
the northern slopes of the Sierra de Tossalets. However
the best known are in Capsades where the are the remains
of a rectangular tower and La Lluca where evidence
of a large settlement was found mixed amongst the detritus
of a modern domestic rubbish tip, including another
tower called "La Presor" which was destroyed
in the mid-20th century.
the year 1244, Christians troops under the banner of
Jaume I conquered the town of Daniya and its territories,
ending five centuries of Moorish culture in the area,
and the lands of the valley of Xŕbia were integrated
into the new Kingdom of Valencia and settled by the
conquerers, most of whom originated in Catalunya. The
new arrivals, bearers of a new culture and language,
based themselves on the site of a small prehistoric
settlement on a low hill and built a small walled enclosure
around it. Thus the seeds from which grew the village
of Xŕbia were planted.
began building a fortress to protect themselves, the
remains of which probably formed part of the medieval
tower which is now the apse of the impressive fortress
church of San Bartolomé. Around this tower, they
built walls to provide further protection and evidence
suggests that this early enclosure was bounded on the
east by what is now Carrer Roques, to the south by Ronda
Sur, to the west by Carrers Sant Josep, Verge del Pilar
and Pastors whilst to the north by Avenida Principe
d'Asturias and Ronda Nord.
more with our route "Walking Through History
by clicking here
first references to Xŕbia as a village date back to
1304 in a document from the time of Jaume II, grandson
of the conquerer. At around the same time, raids by
pirates from North Africa had reaped a certain amount
of destruction on the valley and another major in 1387
resulted in the abandonment of the monastery of La Plana.
As attacks became more frequent during the 15th century,
the inhabitants of Xŕbia constructed a new perimeter wall
around the town which followed what is now the ring
road around the historic centre. It was up to one metre
thick and had three main gates: Portal del Clot to the
south, Portal de la Ferreria to the west and Portal
de la Mar to the east; a fourth gate, Portal Nou, was
built in the early 19th century. These were slammed
closed at night to protect the population; even the
fishermen had their homes within the walls rather than
face the very real danger of living next to the sea.
A network of defensive towers was also built
along the coast to act as an early warning system, many
of which can still be seen today including Torre d'Ambolo,
Torre Portitxol and Torre del Gerro. The last recorded
attack by pirates was in 1812 and it was not long afterwards
that the walls were demolished as the town, feeling
much safer, expanded beyond the perimeter and the fishermen
established themselves right on the water's edge. A
representation of the walls can now be seen in Avenida
was during these times that the great church of San
Bartolomé was built. A tower had existed since the
14th century but the current building began in 1513
until the direction of an architect from Navarra called
Domingo Urteaga. It was built from local tosca
sandstone hewn from such places as the Cova Tallada
on the northern flanks of Cabo de San Antonio and constructed
to be a defensive fortress as well as a place of worship.
The windows are positoned high up on the walls, letting
in light but not attackers. Machiolations down which
the defenders could hurl stones or other objects
onto attackers still protect the doorways whilst some
of the battlements can still be seen lining the top
of the walls. Inside the building, a groined vaulted
ceiling resembles the heads of palm trees. The
bell tower, which doubled as a watch tower, was built
in the 17th century. The church, which was declared
a National Artistic Monument in 1931, can be visited
between 10.30am and 12.30pm on Monday to Friday.
1612, Xŕbia was granted the title of "Villa Real"
- "Royal Town" by Felipe III, seperating it
from Dénia once and for all. The town celebrated the
400th anniversary of this decree in 2012 with a formal
ceremony and rining of the bells of Sant Bartolomé by
the Guild of Bellringers from Valencia.
1709, Xŕbia was granted the privilege of "Lealísima
Villa" - "Most Loyal Town" - for its
support of the Bourbon Felipe V during the Spanish War
of Succession (1704-1714) and three years later obtained
the right to ship its own products through its port.
This privilege transformed the local economy through
the production of the raisin.
production reached its peak in the 19th century during
which Xŕbia enjoyed major economic and demographic growth,
clearly reflected in the grand architectural style of
the period. Fine examples include the Casa dels Bolufer
opposite the church, Casa de les Primicies next to the
museum and Casa de Tena, not the CA Lambert art gallery.
The wide avenues of Avenida Principe d'Asturias and
Avenida de Alicante were built to ease the transportation
of goods from the port to the Placeta del Convent where
the main district roads arrived. Raisin drying facilities
called "ruiraus" were built and one of the
biggest in the region still stands, the Ruirau d'Arnauda,
albeit having been moved from its original site to the
raisin industry faltered in the 20th century, thanks
largely to foreign competition and the spread of grape
phylloxera and, despite a short-lived recovery in the
1950s, production has almost disappeared from the area,
aside from a few businesses which have re-built around
the tourism industry which arrived in the 1960s and
is now one of the prime economic sectors for Xŕbia.
LA IGLESIA-FORTALEZA DE SAN BARTOLOMÉ,
Plaça de l'Església
The fortress-church of Saint Bartholomew dates back to the 14th century.
Designed by Valencian architect Domingo
Urteaga, the church was built onto the side of the original tower (which can
still be made out on the eastern side) and constructed in the Elizabethan
Gothic style to meet the two needs of the local population: religious
worship and defensive protection. From the top of the bell tower, the story
goes that a chaplain threw rocks at Napoleonic troops who had marched onto
the town in 1812; once those French troops gained access to the church, the
chaplain himself was thrown from the tower! Look for the statue of Saint
Bartholomew in the tympanum above the eastern entrance as well as the
defensive machicolations above both doorways.
AYUNTAMIENTO, Plaça de l'Església
The town hall building were once the town's court rooms which was originally
built in the 18th century. Underneath this fine building are remains of
a medieval cemetery which was used during the 14th and 15th centuries and
some of these ancient graves can still be seen under the glass floor
of the tourist office.
MUSEO MUNICIPAL, Plaça dels Germans Segarra
Dating from the early 17th century, the building was originally the home
of Antonio Bańuls, trusted servant of the Marquis of Denia and butler to Felipe
III and Felipe IV. The building was refurbished in the 19th century and now
houses the town's museum collection, telling the story of Jávea from
prehistory. At the very top of the building is a viewing terrace which
overlooks much of the old quarter as well as a near-360ş view across the area.
PORTAL DEL CLOT
On the location of the old gatehouses that allowed access into the walled
enclosure have been built small tosca stone crosses. The cross at Portal del
Clot affords a great view south towards the sea, the Arenal and the hills of
Cabo de la Nao.
CAPILLA DE SANTA ANNA, Carrer d'Avall
The chapel formed part of the old hospital that was built in 1502 to meet the
needs of a population beset by plague and pestilence and it's the only part of
the hospital that remains. The chapel is normally locked but you may be lucky
enough to pass by and the doors will be open so you can glimpse the three
Gothic vaulted-arch ceiling.
CASA DE TENA, Calle Major
Built in the mid-19th century, this building has been recently refurbished and
opened as a public gallery.
CONVENTO DE LOS MÍNIMOS, Placeta del Convent
The building was constructed just 65 years ago on the site of the 17th century
'Convento de los Minimos' which housed the Augustine order of Nuns. Whilst the
chapel is still is use, the convent is now used as a day centre for
sufferers of Alzheimers.
RIURAU DELS CATALÁ D'ARNAUDA, Parque Montaner
Located in the trees above the Plaza de la Constitución, this prime
example of a traditional raisin drying facility was once located between the
town and port but was moved to this location piece by piece in 2009.
THE ANICENT CITY WALLS, Avda. Príncipe de Asturias
The old city walls were pulled down in the 1870s but their original route
around the old village remains and part of the walls have been replicated in
the main road that passes through the town.
MERCADO MUNICIPAL, Plaza Celestino Pons
Although the building gives the impression of antiquity, it was constructed
just over 65 years ago, designed in the Civil Gothic style with its single
gable roof supported by large diaphragm arches. It houses the municipal market,
the centre of commerce for fresh food in the town.
DE NUESTRO SEŃORA DE LORETO
Inaugurated in 1967,
this uniquely-designed church is dedicated to the patron saint of fishermen, La
Virgen de Santa Loreto. The story goes that a large number of fishermen was caught in a huge storm
at sea and they promised that they would build their saint a new special church
if she saved their lives. It's an unusual modern design, the twelve pillars
representing the Twelve Apostles holding up the roof which, when viewed from inside,
forms the shape of a boat’s hull. It has been considered one of the three most
accomplished modern temples, along with Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral
(1967) and the Cathedral of Brasilia (1970) in Brazil.
A harbour of sorts had existed
since the Middle Ages but the first jetty was not built
until the latter half of the 19th century when Jávea
became an important gateway for the export of raisins
to the rest of Europe and North America. When the industry
collapsed at the beginning of the last century, the
port's purpose changed to fishing and the modern harbour
was constructed in the 1950s and 1960s. Watching the
trawlers come home, the haul unloaded and the fish sold
off in the auction house is a wonderful way to
spend a few hours in the port.
DE TANGÓ o POPE
At the very end of the harbour,
close to the steep cliffs of Cabo de San Antonio, sits
the hidden beach of Cala de Tangó (aka Pope's Cove)
and the bottom of the path that rises up to the viewing
platform at the top of those steep cliffs.
BANYS DE LA REINA
Just behind the Parador
Hotel, located on the apparent promontory to the north,
lie the remains of a Roman salting industry. Known
as the "Queen's Baths", a number of tanks
were carved out of the tosca stone coast into which
were deposited the
guts of fish caught further up the coast in special “fisheries”, one of which
was thought to exist at Cala Blanca. They were then filled
with salt extracted from the flats known as the 'saladar' fed by sea water through special channels cut through the
coast just a few hundred metres away. Under a fierce sun, the mixture cured over a period
of around two months and produced the precious "garum", a condiment that was an
essential flavour in Roman cooking, which was then packed into jars and
distributed throughout the Roman Empire.
DE LA NORĚA
Carved through the tosca
stone, remains of a fossilised sandbank, a 200m long
channel, up to 1.70m wide and once more than 4m deep in places,
extends inland from the water's edge. It has
been thought that the channel was built to drain the water that accumulated in
the low-lying Saladar area but the most common theory is that it allowed
sea-water to flood the Saladar; a subsequent evaporation produced huge salt
flats from which the salt could be mined and used in the "garum" industry. There was once a wheel – the “noria”
– which moved the sea-water into the canal but this has long since disappeared.
"One of the main natural
tourist attractions of the Jávea coastline are the exceptional panoramic views
which can be seen from fifteen viewpoints which have been meticulously prepared and
signalled for your enjoyment and contemplation. They all comprise the "Xŕbia Scenic Viewpoints Route",
exclusive enclaves near the Mediterranean Sea
where nature has created a landscape which will captivate all the visitor's
of the best ways to experience the natural beauty of
Jávea's coastline is by visiting the official viewpoints
which have been selected for their outstanding panoramas.
begin in the north with ELS MOLINS, the remains of several
windmills which overlook the town and are often mistaken
for castles or watchtowers. To the south, the stunning
high cliff landscape of Cap Negre and Cabo de la Nao
can be admired from a number of viewpoints.
Mirador Challenge is a medium-distance endurance walking
competition that links all fifteen viewpoints in an
exciting walking route. Read
more about the challenge here.
of Montgó has a modest
height of 753m (c. but its proximity to the sea provides a significant
visual impact on visitors and it has become an almost sacred symbol of the
Marina Alta region.
Parque Natural del Montgó was inaugurated in 1987, just
over 2,100 hectares of protected flora and fauna. There
are over 650 species of flora, some of which are rare
enough to be found only on the slopes of the mountain.
The Bonelli's Eagle, one of the most endangered species
in Europe, might be spotted in the skies above this
protected area whilst the Peregrine Falcon and European
Eagle-Owl can also been seen. On the ground, there are
wild boar, rabbits, badgers, foxes and weasels along
with several species of lizards and snakes.
mountain itself can be climbed, most popularly from
the east where a path winds its way up the steep face
before a medium scramble up the eastern ridge brings
the eager walker to the summit of Montgó. The view can
be quite stunning in all directions; the Balearic island
of Ibiza can be clearly seen nestling on the horizon
to the east whilst the mountain of Sierra Aitana, the
highest in the Alicante province can be spotted to the
south. To the north, the huge Bay of Valencia sweeps
away into the distance whilst the deep ravines that
once protected (for a few years) the unfortunate
Moriscos from forced expulsion carve into the mountains
to the west.
to view our Walking in Jávea page.