Places to Visit and Sightseeing in Ontinyent. Museums in in Ontinyent. Ontinyent Tourist Information
Ontinyent Places to Visit – Sightseeing
Ontinyent has plenty to offer; history, modern cafés, bars and restaurants, commercial centres, theatres, cinemas and parks.
La Plaza Mayor
This stands above an area which is at the foot of the city walls and opens onto the ravine Sant Jaume-Almaig. This has been, since the 16th century, one of the main public spaces in the city which explains why many of the old
historic buildings are situated around the square. The old casa del Consell (town hall) built in the first half of the 16th century presides over the square and still houses some municipal offices, although in the middle of the 20th century it was reformed, to the detriment of its façade.
Llotgeta de Mostassaf
At the end of the 16th century this was built onto the side of the casa del Consell. Some parts can still be seen today although it has undergone significant changes. This is where the castle is built each year during the local Moors and Christians festival.
Situated on the western side of the Vila and built in the 16th century, it was converted into a prison during the following century and then subsequently into municipal offices when the new prison was built in the 18th century.
This shows the original porticoes aspect that the square presented at the beginning of the 16th century. Of particular interest are the decorated walls with renaissance paintings from the 16th century and a relief of the Immaculate Conception from the 17th century.
Palau dels Comtes de Torrefiel
This building dates from the 15th and 17th century and is to the side of the Porxets. It houses the current ayuntamiento offices. Inside there is a magnificent gothic stone portico from the beginning of the 16th century which is identical to that which can be found in Valencia Ayuntamiento, and a stone staircase from the same era which features gargoyles along the base of the supporting pillars.
Convent de les Monges Carmelites
Standing next to the Santa Maria bridge (1942-1953) and alongside the old Biar road, this building dates from the 16th century and is in excellent condition despite the heavy damage sustained by the 18th century church during the Civil War.
Entrance is via the Sant Roc Gate or the Pujada del Fossaret slightly higher up, the Vila is the jewel in the crown of the city and conserves tucked-away, charm-filled corners. From the Sant Roc gate you can access the Palau de la Vila, also known as the Palau de la duquessa d´Almodóvar dating from the 13th century. The palace is situated on the most
exposed part of the old city walls and overlooks what was once the old kingdom of Castella. Raised on the old Muslim ruins and heavily transformed in the 18th century it still conserves medieval fortifications. Due to the extensive renovation work currently in progress, it is not possible to visit the palace at the moment.
The Vila was declared an area of historic-artistic interest in the 70´s and possesses some of the most representative Valencian medieval architecture. It must be remembered that at the beginning of the 15th century Ontinyent
already had a large population, third largest in the area south of the river Xúquer, after Xativa and Oriola. In the quarter around the Calle Mayor, as you walk around, take the time to look around and, particularly above you, at the magnificent façades that have survived the developer´s blindness, and don´t forget to take a glance at some of the little side streets which offer
the unsuspecting visitor unexpected glimpses into what a real medieval Spanish town looked like. Brightly painted frontices, flowers at balconies, doors ajar onto darkened interiors: Enticing, suggestive imagery that make one feel almost like a voyeur. Climbing towards the Plaza de Sant Pere we leave behind the streets with names which hint at history, Cordellat, de
l´Eglésia etc and cross over to the other side of the river. A look over your shoulder will reveal one of the most attractive images of the city; the houses, perching on the foundations of parts of the old defensive wall, appear to almost tumble over themselves and hang precariously over the river Clariano.
Plaza de la Vila
This can be reached by calle Fossaret or via the Plaza Mayor and from here one can climb up to the spectacular medieval fortifications of the Mirador which was the old main gate into the Vila and from the Portal de l´Angel you can see a magnificent view of the city.
The church of Santa Maria and the chapel of the Immaculate Conception
The majority of the building dates from the 14th and 15th centuries and occupies a site that was the location of an old temple which was in turn built over an old Muslim mosque after the expulsion of the Moors. As soon as you enter the church and above the door you can see the sepulchre of Llop Llopis de Vaello, the eldest son of one of the knights who redistributed houses and property in Ontinyent in 1250. Most of the construction dates
from the first half of the 16th century although there are several parts which are considerably older (14th and 15th centuries). The building, during the 15th century, of an apse and the opening of two wings is well documented but the definitive reform took place during the period 1518-1530 and was carried out by Benet Ogre from Lió in France. At this time there were also two pillars built that were a copy of pillars in the Llotja in Valencia.
Halfway through the 19th century a disastrous remodelling was undertaken in the neo-classic style which lead to the ceilings pillars and windows being covered up or destroyed altogether. The renovation which took place in the 70´s restored most of this damage and returned the building to its original style.
The presbytery was built in 1570 and renovated in the 17th century. The sacristy was built between 1580 and 1610 and just below it is the crypt where the visitor can see the (MMMM)
The chapel of the Immaculate Conception (1662-1692) was built almost at the same time as the bell tower (started in 1689) and houses a solid silver image of the patron saint of the city.
Other points of interest in the church are the 15th century notice board, 20th century oil paintings by Josep Segrelles, a magnificent 17th century Florentine Font, a collection of works by Vidal i Tur and Ribalta and 20th century sculptures by Marià Benlluire.
The Santa Maria bell tower is one of the symbols of the city and built over several phases between the 17th and 18th centuries, the construction was begun in 1689 and the second phase was finished in 1745, but the tower was damaged by the earthquake of 1748. The current condition, with iron re-inforcing bands, is as a consequence of a lightning strike in May 1859 which meant the demolition of the top of the tower and a new addition, which was finished in
1880. The spleandour of the tower was accentuated by the demolition of the houses which originally stood at its base. The tower is also famous for housing the oldest bell in the Vall d´Albaida. The Rellotge, which bears the name of Rauxa i Foc dates back to 1563. It´s worth a visit on a Sunday morning to take in the stunning views of the valley and the Mariola, which marks the beginning of the Vall d´Albaida.
Plaza de Baix
If you leave the Vila by the Portal de la Trinitat or from the Plaza Mayor via Porxets you will come out onto this square which has been the home of the market in Ontinyent for more than 5 centuries. The area is known as el Raval and gives onto the northern end of the town and the old Castella road.
Pont Vell (The old bridge)
This emblematic bridge was built between 1500 and 1501 by the master stone masons Pere Ribera from Xativa and Joan Montanyés. It comprises two arches supported by three bastions, the centre one in the form of a boat. The balustrade of the bridge was dressed by using stone from later demolition of parts of the city walls.
The bridge marks a turning point in the communication between parts of the city, as in 1520-1521, the city elders decided to construct the camí dels Carros, from where you can see a magnificent view of the old part of the city. The Tirador dels Peraires was also built in the 16th century and was
where the cloth manufacturers hung out the woollen cloth to dry. A little later on the at the beginning of the 17th century, the caves along the river by the old bridge which were home to the poorest of the city´s families were transformed into what are now the houses along the Cantereria.
Although you wouldn´t know it at first sight, the High street is a medieval road which was the route from here to Albaida and then Gandia. There are still several 18th and 19th century houses standing along the
road, as well as the 18th century churches of Sat Carles and Sant Francesc. There are also some large houses that were minor palaces of noble families from the Vila and which helped the town gain respect from the neighbouring towns and villages. Of particular note are the house of Nadal and the palau dels Maians or the Dukes of Montemira from the 18th century and reformed in
the 19th which now houses the cultural offices of the town hall and the Palau of the Barons of Santa Barbara from 1750 which houses the cultural centre. On a side street from the calle Mayor is the Palau Puig from the 18th and 19th centuries which is home to the Municipal archive and the public library and the Casa dels Cerdà from the 18th century.
The church of Sant Carles Borromeu
The oratory of the Company of Jesus created in 1703 is the origin of the current church. Originally it was a chapel associated with the Jesuits until their expulsion in 1767.
There are four main parts, all very different from each other. First there is the nave and the square belfry which are Barroque in origin and then the additions in 1882 of the sacristy and the chapel for communion. The sides of the nave house six altars each, joined by arches. The predominant style is
Barroque except in the chapel for communion which is in Neo-Byzantine and was finished by the local artist Carles Tormo. Also of interest are the main entrance dressed in stone, the ocular and the window which are in early Barroque from the 18th century. The building has undergone several renovations which have maintained the interior (1951) and the exterior (1942) and the most recent in the 21st century.
The church of Sant Francesc
This is the only remnant of the old Franciscan convent. The order of Francis the observant founded the convent in the Vila in 1573 under the advocation of Saint Anthony and with the donation of the medieval chapel of Saint Anthony from the 14th century on what is now the sight of the Glorieta. The original building collapsed during heavy rains in 1597. Bad workmanship was to blame and lead to the building of another church on the present site which was finished in 1615.
The church consists of a nave and seven transepts and chapels. The building is noteworthy because of its simplicity, and is dominated by high ceilings and arches. The choir is at the back of the church, as is the custom in Franciscan churches in Valencia. The side door is Barroque with plain pillars and is later than most of the construction. Franciscan architecture is characterised by austerity both inside and out.
The church was in a dreadful state by the end of 1845 as in 1835 there had been a redistribution of land and property belonging to the Franciscans. The deterioration of the church was rapid and was accentuated by the poor quality of materials and workmanship. The building was acquired by Joaquima Osca from one of the most powerful families in the city with the economic support of the local people. In the second half of the 19th century the
church was opened again. The damage caused by the Civil War meant that the building had to undergo further renovation which, together with other works carried out in the latter part of the 20th century gave the building its current aspect. The church originally housed some oil paintings by the Franciscan artist Villanueva which were subsequently lost.
The church of Sant Miquel del Raval
The church was built during the 16th and 17th centuries on the foundations of an old 14th century chapel. Its construction was commissioned by the powerful Masonic lodge of Wool manufacturers. The 18th century mural in the nave is worth seeing. The magnificent organ which dates from the end of the 18th century is now in need of restoration.
The Old Quarter El BArrio de la Vila
El Barrio de la Vila, the urban origin of the municipality, preserves multiple remains of walls, towers and fortifications that show the defensive character of the area. In the area closest to the river Clariano, can be found remains of a containment wall, as well as chimneys belonging to former factories and mills that used water as a power source. The charm of
El Barrio is in the small alleys, ramps and atzucacs or blind alleys that, along with the period buildings, both noble and popular contribute an intimate and special beauty to the area.
The Palace of the Duchess of Almodovar
The building, built upon a former Arabic fortress belongs to the Valencian Gothic style. In its interior there is a large foyer with a great arch, the coat of arms of its former owner and a majestic staircase. One of the facades is flanked by two towers, and a covered terrace ornamented with original mocador tiles. The other facade , which faces the Plaza de San Roc, has Gothic architectural elements of great historical importance.
Ontinyent Places to Visit – Museums
Ontinyent has plenty to offer; history, modern cafés, bars and restaurants, Museums, commercial centres, theatres, cinemas and parks.
FESTER D’OTINYENT MUSEUM
Societat de Festers del Santíssim
Crist de l’Agonia
Plaça de Baix, 26
Tel. i Fax: 96 238 02 52
Thrusday and Friday from 18 to 20:30 hours.
Saturday and Sunday from 11 to 13:30 h.
The exhibition divides into several parts in order to cover all aspects related to the Fiestas of the municipality. In this way, for example, by visiting the section that deal with music you can find scores written by local authors of traditional melodies. There is also a large collection of programs and posters that go back years. In the Ethnological section there are typical suits from all of the events that take place, among which are those worn by the processions of the 40’s and 50’s.
MUSEUM OF SCIENCES, CERAMICS AND ANTIQUITIES
School “La Concepción”
Av. Sant Francesc, 5
Tel.: 96 238 01 00
Fax: 96 238 01 20
From Monday to Friday: from 10 to 13 hours.
Saturdays on request
The cloister of the Convent of the Franciscan Monks is home to a complete and interesting collection of vegetable plants conserved in the Botanical Garden. Also there is a collection of Spanish, American, and African fauna with examples originating from each one of these areas, along with pieces of Pre-Columbian art and remains from and the Egypt of the Pharaohs. The facilities posses: a library, a farm and an observatory.
THE ONTINYENT AND LA VALL D’ALBAIDA- (MAOVA) MUSEUM OF ARCHAEOLOGY – Museu Arqueològic d’Ontinyent i la Vall d’Albaida
Edifici Antics Jutjats – C/ Regall, 2
Tel.: 96 291 19 55 o 679 183 851
Monday to Friday from 10 to 13:30 h. and Tuesday to Saturday from 18 to 21 h.
Located in the historical centre of the city, the museum has a large quantity of objects, above all ceramic and stone pieces, from a wide chronological frame that ranges from the Paleolithic period up to modern times. The majority of the collection comes from archaeological excavations realised in the region.