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Music, poetry, tradition and gastronomy will feature at the opening of the Riurau d'Arnauda

Wednesday 17th December 2014

javeamigos.com | JAVEA ·RIURAU

Renovation work on the great 'Riurau dels Arnauda de Xàbia', one of the largest surviving examples of this typical architecture, has been completed and a special cultural festival will celebrate its re-opening this Sunday 21st December, demonstrating clearly the potential of the construction which stands in the Parque Montaner above the Plaza de la Constitución. Work on extending the roof and installing lights and sound equipment will enable the building to host workshops, exhibitions, live music and other events with the Ayuntamiento to draft a plan to regulate its use by the public.

Councillor Antonio Miragall (Tourism) explained that the opening ceremony will begin with a simple parade with music provided by the Colla Xirimitab's starting at the Ayuntamiento building at 11:30am and it will weave through the town encouraging residents and visitors alike to join it as it makes its way to the forested recreation area above the main square. An official presentation of the renovated building which now has a roof extended along its entire length will feature performances by local groups and associations who will demonstrate the potential of the riurau as a new open-air space for activities and events. There will be tradition dancing from the Grup de Danses Portitxol as well as literary and musical offerings from the likes of local authors Pepa Guardiola, Carme Miguel and Xaro Cabrera, poet Encarna Roselló and the musicians of Xàbia. In addition there will be displays of traditional tools used in the creation of raisins and a video showing the history of the riurau in the Marina Alta and of Arnauda in particular. The councillor explained that the riurau is open to everyone who wants to come an explore this new public space which it is hoped will become a popular social and cultural meeting place in the town.

Mayor José Chulvi expressed his satisfaction with the result of the renovation which began at the end of October - click here to read about the project and view images of the riurau without the extended roof - and used tiles, beams and flat cane section which reflect a traditional finish. The mayor also highlighted the work of the Department of Tourism in developing the project which enhances the value of the architecture of Jávea's agricultural past when it was an important centre of raisin production and subsequent export abroad to countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States. He also acknowledged the role of the 'Riuraus Vives' association "whose work makes politicians aware of the importance of projects such as this" as well as that of councillor Empar Bolufer (Culture) whose department will ensure that children know and respect their past. Author Pepa Guardiola, representing the 'Riuraus Vives' association, acknowledged these projects to convert riuraus into useful public spaces and said that she was "excited" to see the result of the work which has given a new dimension to one of the largest riuraus in the Valencian region.

The Riurau d'Arnauda was built in the second half of the 19th century and was originally located between the town and the port, serving as a covered space on which scalded grapes could be stored on bamboo mats to protect them from the rain and overnight dew. When the industry collapsed at the beginning of the 20th century, the riurau fell into disuse and by the end of the century it was under threat from urban development so a decision was taken to move the whole structure piece by piece to a new location among the trees of the Parque Montaner. This was completed in 2009 with then-mayor Eduardo Monfort saying that the project had "saved an architectural piece that is a sign of identity for Xàbia and the region".

In 2014, the Riurau d'Arnauda formed part of the new 'Ruta dels Riuraus" tourist attraction (click here for more information) which has been designed to offer a journey through what was once the main economy of the Marina Alta region- the production of raisins.

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