Xativa Tourist Information
Xàtiva (Spanish: Játiva in former days) is a town of eastern Spain, in the province of Valencia, on the right bank of the river Albaida and at the junction of the Valencia–Murcia and Valencia Albacete railways. Xàtiva is built on the margin of a fertile and beautiful
plain, and on the southern slopes of the Monte Bernisa, a hill with two peaks, each surmounted by a castle Castle of Játiva. With its numerous fountains, and spacious avenues shaded with elms or cypresses, the town has a clean and attractive appearance.
As you approach Xativa, a 40 minute drive west from Valencia, its castle appears to be built on a ridge but, as you get closer you will see that its walls rise up from the town itself. As you wind up the narrow streets of the old town, you get tantalizing glimpses of the castle high
above. Soon you reach the lower walls scaling the hillside, but you continue on a twisting road upwards. Just as you pass a pretty church on your left, you will see the entrance to the Hotel Restaurant Mont Sant, one of the most delightful in the Comunitat Valenciana, surrounded by orange groves and palm trees where once all was barren.
The Latin poet Silius Italicus(101-25BC) in his poem on the ll punic War refers to Saetabis celsa arce, Xativa with its tall castle, so there is proof that a castle exited in Roman times, although a castle stood here in earlier Iberian days. Its strategic value was due t its situation on
the via Augustea that began in Rome and crossed the Pyrenees and travelled down the Mediterranean coast before heading on to Cartagena and Cadiz. The grand structure you see these days standing watch over the town is a mixture of Iberian, Roman and Moorish influences and later Christian fortifications.
Xativa castle with its 30 towers and four fortified gateways, must rate as one of the loveliest in the Valencian Community, not nly because of its historic value but also because of a lot of thought and work has gone into its surroundings. Tinkling fountains, small orange groves, herb gardens that perfume the air, give you a sense of what life must have been like in an important garrison town. (The fountains and gardens
aren’t just modern titivations but were an important part of Moorish culture). What is equally impressive is that, standing on the high tower at either end of the long thin castle, you become aware of just how massive an undertaking it was to build such a structure in such an inaccessible place.
The town below the glowering castle walls is equally steeped in history. It was the birth place of two popes of the Borgia clan. (in those days it was spelt “Borja”) They were Calixtus lll and Alexander Xl, whose
family virtually controlled the papal power for almost two hundred years and sired the infamous Lucretia. It was the first town in Europe to manufacture paper, during the time of the Moorish occupation, and even today in Morocco paper is still known as xativi.
The streets themselves are like a splendid public gallery requiring no entrance fee. Mounted high on almost every wall of the old town, family names linger on in tiled plaques celebrating the lives of the saints.
In your meanderings seek out the Placa del Mercat, a square at the cusp of moving from semi-tumbledown to modern and cobbled with a Disneyesque charm. Set back in a corner is the Posanda del Pescado, its names spelled out in intricate shell like patterning with a fat fish dangling from a chain clenched in a Lions mouth. Its beautifully carved doors and shutters are weathered with years of neglect.
Xativa is also known as an early European centre of paper manufacture. In the twelfth century, Arabs brought the technology to manufacture paper to Xativa.
Xátiva is also only a half hour from the nearest beaches, these being either Tavernes, Cullera or Gandia. Other beaches such as Denia, Calpe, Moraria, Altea or Benidorm take from about 50mins to an hour and a quarter depending on which beach and route is taken. Valencia airport is a half hour drive and Alicante as well as its airport are an hour and a quarter drive.
In the area there are already some British people and a couple of English run bars and pensions (B&B) so you will find some good people in the area if and when you might want to get together.