THE ARCHITECTURAL AND SPIRITUAL GROWTH OF MEDIEVAL XÀBIA

Historically, settlers of many diverse cultures have populated and enjoyed this exclusive spot. The name could very well come from the Arabic "Xibìa", which means "abundant".

Xàbia or Jávea is a Valencian coastal town in the Marina Alta region (Alicante). It has always been a privileged and strategic Mediterranean location enticing ancient Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Christians.



REPORT BY: Karla Darocas, Hons. B.A. Fine Arts (www.KarlaDarocas.com)

MEDIEVAL FORTIFIED PARISH CHURCH
Today, the most impressive structure of this town is the parish church of San Bartolomé.

It is a royal treasure, a Valencian Gothic / Isabelline gem combining exquisite aesthetics with military defensive features like a watch tower, roof top parapet and "murder holes".

For centuries Xàbia was a coastal settlement that fell victim to many threats, attacks and incursions arriving by the Mediterranean sea. In order to combat these assaults and to protect its people, Xàbia developed a defensive style town with strong stone walls, military lookout towers with a beautiful fortress church.

Over the decades, and three major eras of wealth and expansion, Xàbia has preserved some gems of architecture and history. For students and art lovers, Xàbia is a great place to study your History of Fine Arts and Architecture with a focus on the regional Mediterranean history and culture.

MEDIEVAL ERA - BRIEF HISTORY
As with all of the Valencian region, it was the medieval King of Aragon, Jaume I, who in 1244 claimed Xàbia for the Christians and set about the long and unstable process of populating the town. The revolts of Al Azraq slowed down the process of re population.

It was not until 1397 that Xàbia obtained its village title. By this time, the medieval village had grown into a network of narrow streets with a good defensive perimeter wall.
The layout would correspond to the current streets of Roques, Ronda Sud, Sant Josep, Verge del Pilar, Pastores, Príncep d'Astúries and Ronda Nord. 



Within this primitive town there was a fortified tower built on top of a previous Arab tower called the Torre d'Encairat. Close to this tower was constructed a primitive Christian church that utilized the foundations of a captured Arab farmhouse.
Xàbia remained a tiny rural Medieval outpost until the beginning of the 16th century when due to the growth of the community, the walls had to be set back into the new open roads.

PORTALS THROUGH THE FORTIFIED WALLS
The defective portals in and out of the village were marked as the Portal del Clot (1554), Portal de la Mar (1561) and Portal de la Ferraria (1637).

Etymologically, the name of "Clot", derives from the word Cros, which means bottom of the town.

Postcards: JAVEA - ALICANTE - PORTAL OF CLOT - PHOTOGRAPH WITHOUT CIRCULAR AND DIVIDED BACK - Photo 1 - 47899179

"Mar" is sea, so we can derive that door exits in the direction of the sea.

"Ferraria" is a reference to the Cape of San Antonio. In the era of the Roman occupation, the Cape was called the "Promontory of Ferraria", meaning a point of high land that juts out into a large body of water; a headland.

This is where one of the very first Christian Religious Orders from North African, led by Donato Servetian, built a small community to flee persecution. It was called the the Servitano Monastery. A Roman from the Valencian region, a noble woman named Minicea, assisted them in settling up.



TOSCA BUILDING MATERIAL
To aid in the new Christian growth, a building material called "tosca" was introduced. It is a durable, honey coloured sandstone which was excavated from the shoreline and seaside caves.

This rock of calcareous origin was formed in the sand dunes thousands of years ago and has been extracted in this region for several centuries. At the beginning of the 1970s, new environmental protection laws prohibited the extraction of the sand stone.

Església de Sant Bartomeu, Xàbia.JPG

The medieval fortress church of San Bartolomé was enlarged in 1513 with tosca stone blocks.

This reformation work was paid for by the patrons of the village who had plenty of money thanks to their royal affiliations.

Bernardo de Sandoval (1502-1536 ) was the 2nd Marquis of Denia and uncle to Don Francisco Gómez de Sandoval, 1st Duke of Lerma.

Sandoval married Francisca Enríquez y Luna, the cousin of King Fernando. This was a direct relationship with the most famous medieval queen, Isabella and her husband King Fernando.

Both Sandoval and Enríquez have a family shield each above the church's main portals enhanced with floral wreaths to show their patronage.



REFORM AND BUILDER
Under the direction of a master builder Domingo de Urteaga, the fortress church was aggrandized with a large Valencian Gothic nave and apse with three chapels on each side framed by buttresses.

The outside as well as the inside chapels were decorated in honour of Queen Isabella with her chosen style of naturalist flora designs, royal crowns, gargoyles, orbs, pinnacles, ogee arches and heraldic shields of the patrons. The style was appropriately called "Isabelline" architectural design.



In 1931 San Bartolomé was declared an Artistic Historical Monument. Alas, it was badly raided and burned in the Civil War of 1936 and the remarkable altar and other historical relics were stolen or destroyed.

Register to be invited to learn more with SpainLifestyle.com

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
*