AMUX members visit restored bells at San Bartolomeu church in Xàbia

The group was guided by the municipal archaeologist and museum director Ximo Bolufer.

On Wednesday 29th May, over 30 members of AMUX and their friends gathered to visit the historic San Bartolomeu Church in Xàbia. The primary aim of this visit was to see the church bells, which had recently been cleaned and reinstalled in the bell tower.

The visit began with a brief introduction by Joaquim Bolufer, the museum director and president of AMUX. Bolufer, known as Ximo, shared insights into the church’s history, explaining its construction by master stonemason and architect Domingo de Urteaga in the 16th century. He noted that the building seemed to incorporate an old Islamic tower and was designed to serve dual purposes: as a place of worship and as a fortress offering refuge to the local population during attacks.

Ximo recounted the church’s tumultuous past, detailing how it had been pillaged during various conflicts, from the War of Spanish Succession in the 18th century to the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century and the Spanish Civil War in the 20th century.

The group then ascended the very narrow spiral staircase of the bell tower, leading to the roof space of the church and its famous “montons”—the domes formed by the church’s vaulted ceiling. It was easy to  imagine how townspeople could take refuge there, using the battlements to hide and defend against invaders below.

The visit culminated in the bell chamber, where the newly restored bronze bells were displayed in their new wooden frames. The thickness of the bronze was striking, and the experience of standing close as the bells tolled was unforgettable. The largest bell, known as Grossa or Bertomeu, had remained silent for 20 years until its recent restoration. Its inscription, “PAX,” serves as a poignant reminder of past and present troubled times.