Benissa is one of those hidden treasures to be found on the Costa Blanca. You need to find the car park at the back of town, get out of your car and start your journey.

* Report by Karla Ingleton Darocas, Hons. B.A. (c) no part of this text or photographs may be reproduced

In the main square stands one of the city's 20th century buildings, which is the pride and joy of the inhabitants. It is called Iglesia de la Puríssima Xiqeta.

For those of you who do not know the Valencian language, the translation directly means "Church of the Pure Girl". Since all cathedrals are dedicated to the Virgin Mary, we can guess who this "Pure Girl" must be!

For students of architecture: It is a real Gothic cathedral, but in neo-Gothic form.

Construction began in 1902 and ended in 1929 and the result was due to the financial efforts of the people of Benissa.

The neo-Gothic style aims to revive the mediaeval Gothic architecture. Philosophically, the revival has a thematic root in a reaction against the "industrial revolution" and accepts mediaeval society as the golden age. Who knows if this is the reason Benissa chose this revivalist style over another, such as the Renaissance, but here it is now in all its rejuvenation.

Many of the external decorative elements are purely Gothic, such as the pinnacles, which look like small towers on the edge of the building, and the crown.

In typical Gothic cathedral style, the Puríssima Xiqeta with its two bell towers reaches for the sky.

The whole is held up by a series of buttresses that support the rectangular, three-nave structure.

The rose window is centrally located on the front of the façade, below which is a blind arcade consisting of a series of arches that have no actual openings and are applied to the surface of the wall as a decorative masonry element.

One of the most exciting features is the octagonal crown, because eight is a strong and magical number, which in turn is crowned by pinnacles. The eight panelled Gothic windows illuminate the stunning dome in the transept, which is a unique symbol of the divine music that resounds in the church during ceremonies.

As with all Gothic designs, the pointed arches are the key element. From the main portal of the church to the nave flanked by a prominent arch leading to magnificent white sexpartite vaults (ribbed vaults divided into six bays by two diagonal ribs and three transverse ribs).

The lancet windows are tall, narrow windows with a pointed arch at the top. The name "lancet" was given to these windows because of their resemblance to a lance.

The video below tells the story of the altar and the relic that guides the Church's mysterious traditions. It also shows some impressive aerial views of this cathedral and some of the painted polychrome sculptures.

Resource Books written by
Karla Ingleton Darocas 
and published by