Sight Seeing and Museums in Xativa. Xativa Tourist Information
Xativa has plenty to offer; history, modern cafés, bars and restaurants,
commercial centres, theatres, cinemas and parks.
The Castle of Xativa is a famous Spanish castle located in the
city of Xativa near Valencia.
Winter : 10:00 to 18:00
Summer : 10:00 to 19:00
Closed on Mondays
The Castle of Xativa is a famous Spanish castle located in the city of Xativa
near Valencia. It is strategically located on the ancient roadway Via Augusta
leading from Rome across the Pyrenees and down the Mediterranean coast to
Cartagena and Cádiz. If you visit only one castle in the Costa Blanca, make it
the one in Xativa. The fortress looks like a fantasy from the Voyages of Sinbad.
Soaring battlements stretch for almost a kilometre along the spine of a long,
high ridge above its cat’s-cradle streets. After gawping at the view, pick your
way through the castle’s beautiful Islamic gardens – they’re surrounded by a
tumble of historical remnants, including Roman mosaic floors and Crusader tombs.
Xativa castle with its 30 towers and four fortified gateways, must rate as one
of the loveliest in the Valencian Community, not only 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 titivation’s 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.
As Xativa has been involved in many conflicts over the years, the ownership of the castle has changed hands many times with the Romans, the Moorish dynasties, the Aragonese, the Hasburgs, the Bourbons (deposed and reinstated several times), the French under Napoleon, and the Savoys have all taken ownership. It is now owned by the Valencian government.
Museums in Xativa
Almodi museum – The ‘Museu de l’almodi’ is divided into two
sections, archaeology and Fine arts. The first one, besides several ceramic
objects, has a masculine Iberian bust dating back to the IV century B.C. An
Arabic sink, unique in its genre because of its decorative human and animal
motifs, funeral inscriptions and fragments of Roman marble sculptures complete
the collection. In the Fine arts section, the emphasis is on painting, with the
altarpiece of the ‘Transfiguración’ and the ‘tabla de Saint Nicholas y San
Dionysus’, three altarpieces by Cristóbal Llorenç and another three by José de
Ribera, from the XVII century. Visitors can also find the famous portrait of
Philip V, hung upside down for being the monarch who decreed that the villa be
destroyed by fire.
Cova Negra (Black Cave) – The nearby Cova Negra (Black Cave)
revealed relics over 30,000 years old and an intact Neanderthal skull. In the
11th century the Muslims built Europes first paper manufacturing plant here.
After the Reconquista, Xativa became Valencias second largest city. The ‘Cova
Negra’ has the honour of being one of the first Valenaian archaeological
deposits to be found and investigated. The importance of this large cavity, open
to the river Albaida, is in its long history and the good condition of the human
remains. Overlooking the River Albaida, the cave has been found to have housed a colony of neanderthal man during the middle paleolithic period.
Colegiata Basílica de Santa María o la Seo – Santa María or “la Seo”
Collegiate Basilica. A monument that is in an excellent state of
conservation, with a marked Renaissance character about it. It is called La Seu
and has a strong Renaissance character. It was built between 1596 and 1916. The
main entrance is Baroque and the High Altar corresponds to designs by the
architect Ventura Rodríguez. The collegiate church is dedicated to the Asunción
de Nuestra Señora. In its interior is a porch consisting of Roman columns of
pink marble, an elegant Romanesque facade and diaphragmatic arches of
exceptional width. There are also paintings from the XIV to XVI century.
Museo de la Colegita The Collegiate Museum has an important
collection of Sacred Art, and is an example of the historical and religious
importance that the municipality has had. Pictorial pieces exhibited are the
altarpieces of Santa Elena and San Sebastián, Santa Ana and Pope Calixto III.
Religious objects include “la Cruz Mayor” from the XIV century, the Chalice of
Calixto III, the “Lignum Crucis” and a “custodia” from the XV century in gilt
silver, a present from Pope Borja Alejandro VI.
Xativa San Feliu Church
An ancient and beautiful church. San Feliu is in a lovely position on wooded slopes over looking the historic town of Xativa. One of the regions finest religious buildings is amongst the olives and
cypresses below the walls of Xativa’s historic castle. A must for fans of early architecture. This ancient church stands on the site of a 7th century palaeo Christian church.
The present building, one of the oldest in Valencia, was erected in 1269, on the orders of Jamie I, soon after his expulsion of the Moor’s.
It has a single nave, split by four massive arches and architecturally is surprisingly similar to Syrian churches of the same period.
Only rarely used now for services, the church walls are hung with superb Spanish renaissance paintings. The alter piece was commissioned at the end of the 15th century and shows scenes from the life of Christ and the virgin. Flanked by images of saints Cosmas and Damian and , the saint of sore throats The holy water stoup is carved with scenes from the nativity. Along the external walls runs a loggia, its roof supported by Roman columns
Jardin del Beso, which quite literally means Garden of the Kiss. For years courting couples have walked through these gardens and once you are there you can see why with numerous benches as well as a few quiet corners to hide away in. The water features may also help to bring a bring a sense of romanticism. A nice park to walk though as you take an evening stroll. There are also two children’s play parks nearby, the first is just a few metres away behind the old city wall and the second is a very short walk over the road.
Close to the centre of town, the small park in Plaça del Españoleto is named for the 17th century artist Jose de Ribera (“El Españoleto”) and probably provides the best opportunity for small children to have a good play on the swings, slide and roundabout. The trees will provide plenty of shade while you sit on the bench and watch the little ones tire themselves out.
On the western side of town, The gardens at El Palasiet are more given to showing examples of flora as well as having a few live animals on display.