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The project will last six weeks and use hand-crafted materials

Friday 31st October 2014

javeamigos.com | JAVEA · RIURAU D'ARNAUDA

The Riurau d'Arnauda will soon become a new covered space in Jávea which will be better prepared to host social and cultural events as work began to install roofing on the structure which sits amongst the trees in Parque Montaner just about the Plaza de la Constitución. Local builder Manuel Olivares has started work this week and will be using recycled materials for the wooden beams and tiles as well as hand-crafted bamboo wattles to create a final product that is as close to the original as possible. The project, which is scheduled to take six weeks, which include the installation of external environmentally-friendly lighting and an electrical system to provide lighting inside during activities.

Mayor José Chulvi and councillors Paco Torres (Works) and Antonio Miragall (Heritage) visited the site on Thursday to check on the start of the improvement work which has a budget of 84,539 euros of which 50% has been provided by the 'Agencia Valenciana de Turismo'.

What is a riurau?
The riurau is almost unique to the Marina Alta region where the primary industry was once the production of raisins which would be imported across the world and in particularly to Great Britain. The structures afforded the necessary space to store the bamboo mats on which the scalded grapes were being dried.  Usually facing south, the buildings were used to protect these mats from rain or overnight dew and varied in size according to the proportion of harvest of grapes. The industry decreased at the beginning of the 20th century, affected not only by competition from other countries such as the United States but also by a plague called phylloxera which destroyed most of the vineyards. The riuraus were no longer needed and many fell into disrepair or became extensions to the adjacent house, providing a cool shaded area protected from the summer heat.

The Riurau dels Catalá Arnauda was built in the second half of the 19th century and was originally located between the town and the port. At 56 metres long with thirty arches, it was · and indeed remains · one of the biggest riuraus in the Marina Alta but as the landscape of Jávea changed, it became under threat from urban development after the land of which is stood was subdivided into building plots. Despite its deteriorated state, the 'Riuraus Vuis' heritage association deemed it worth saving since their were very few remaining examples of its size and stature. With the blessing of the Catalá family, owners of the structure and once one of the regions major producers of raisins, the Ayuntamiento de Xàbia arranged for its preservation with the help of some 90,000 euros from the 'Plan Zapatero' fund which was set up to boost economic activity and in 2009 the riurau was moved piece by piece to its current location in Parque Montaner. At the time, mayor Eduardo Monfort said that the project had "saved an architectural piece that is a sign of identity for Jávea and region".

In May 2014 a new tourist attraction called "La Ruta dels Riuraus" was launched (click here for more information) which guided the visitor through the production and sale of raisins in the Marina Alta region. Jávea was one of the main driving forces behind the campaign which links twelve municipalities in the area and aims not only to promote this distinctive architecture but also to offer the visitor the chance of enter the unique world of moscatel and raisins as well as the fantastic local gastronomy. Other towns included in the route include Gata de Gorgos, Jesús Pobre, La Xara, Ondara, El Poble Nou de Benitatxell, Pedreguer, Teulada and Benissa as well as Xaló, Lliber and Parcent in the Vall de Pop.

javeamigos.com | JAVEA · RIURAU D'ARNAUDA

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