31st October 2014
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.
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'.
is a riurau?
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.
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".
May 2014 a new tourist attraction called "La
Ruta dels Riuraus" was launched (click here
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.