Though there is evidence of settlers in the area of Denia as far back as the Neolithic Era, signs of a Greek colony called Hemeroskopeion and remnants of a Roman occupation from the 3rd Century BC, the known history of Denia dates back to the Arab Conquest (8th-13th Centuries). Denia castle was originally built by the Moors during the 11th and 12th Centuries and later extended and re-fortified during the 15th, 16th and 17th Centuries. Denia was re-conquered by the Christians in 1244 during the reign of the Conquistador Jaime I. Denia sided with Archduke Charles
(pretender to the throne of Austria) during The War of Succession and was the first town to proclaim Charles as king of Spain (1705). However after a number of sieges Denia castle was taken in 1708 and the area suffered greatly as a result of the war. Denia became wealthy during the 19th Century due to the raisin trade which grew in importance in the area but was unfortunately ravaged by an outbreak of phylloxera in the early 20th Century which brought the industry to its knees and caused a period of economic decline. This decline continued until the 1960s when tourism began in Denia and the surrounding towns resulting in spectacular growth which has continued to this day. The Castle now houses the Archaeological Museum which outlines the history of Denia. The name Denia is thought by some to be of Arab origin, and taken from the arabic “Daniah” meaning low or near, and by others to be of Roman origin and taken from the Roman temple of Diana.
Modern day Dénia is the heir of very diverse cultures. The Iberian, Roman, Islamic and Christian civilizations left their mark which we can discover by means of its monuments, museums, archaeological ruins and neighbourhoods.
We recommend that you discover Dénia by exploring each of its zones:
Stroll through the city centre, where the main street of Dénia is located, C/ Marqués de Campo, with its terraces, shops and buildings of historical interest. The adjacent streets invite you to explore the Municipal Market, the old Raisin Warehouses, the Square: Plaza del Convento, the Church: Iglesia de San Antonio, etc.
Then walk around the Historical City Centre, where you will find the Town Council, the Church: Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Loreto, the Ethnological Museum, etc.
Climb the steps to the Castle and discover its towers, walls and of course, its Archaeological Museum.
In the exterior, Les Roques neighbourhood will astonish you with its narrow streets and its low level houses.
5th – 1st Century B.C. Iberian Age
Archaeological ruins in Mt. Montgó :
l’Alt de Benimaquía
la Penya de l’Aguila.
1st Century B.C. – 6th Century A.D. Roman Age
Ciudad de Dianium: Centro de distribución de productos procedentes del Norte de África e Italia.
Sertorio establece su base naval en Dénia en el S. I a.C. Durante la 1ª mitad de siglo la ciudad alcanza su máximo apogeo.
6th Century – 8th Century Byzantine/ Visigoth Age
From 552 to 624 A.D., Dénia formed a part of the Byzantine province of Spania, which represents Dianium’s continuity in the Roman world. The Visigoths settled in this zone in the 7th Century.
In the Visigoth age, we highlight the establishment of the Episcopal See in Dénia which reported to the Diocese of Toledo.
8th Century – 13th Century
The Islamic Daniya.
Importance of Dénia’s Port, source of its major urban development: the Dénia Port was selected as the construction site of the new dockyards for the Caliph’s naval fleet.
11th Century: Muyahid seizes control of the Dénia Port’s Navy from the zone’s troops and is proclaimed Emir.
1086 A.D.: Dénia is converted into a Taifa Kingdom.
13th Century – 16th Century
Medieval Christian Age
1244: Christian conquest of Dénia by Pere Eiximen d’en Carròs (sent by King Jaime I the Conqueror)
14th century: King Pedro III of Aragón appoints his cousin, Alfonso of Aragón as 1st Count of Dénia.
15th century: Juan de Trastamara transfers the county of Dénia to a Castilian family: Sandoval y Rojas. In 1487, Diego Sandoval y Rojas is appointed as the 1st Marquis of Dénia
16th Century – 18th Century
1580: Miguel de Cervantes disembarks in Dénia following his captivity in Algeria.
1604: The Nª Sra de Loreto or Augustine Barefoot Nuns Convent is founded.
1609: Expulsion of the Moriscos (converted Muslim Christians).
17th century: Dénia receives the title of city.
18th century: Construction of the Church: Iglesia de La Asunción and remodelling of the Church: Iglesia de San Antonio.
Economic splendour due to the Raisin Trade.
Raisin exports to major European cities.
Construction of the Dénia-Carcajente Railway.
Production of over 400,000 quintales (hundredweight) of raisins by the end of the century.
Early 20th Century: Attack of the Grape Phylloxera pest on the grapevines of Dénia.
Development of Agriculture, Industry and Toy Production
Complete opening of the city’s main street: Calle Marqués de Campos.
60’s Decade: Development of Tourism and the Fishing Industry.