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Xativa (Valencian dialect) Jativa (Spanish),
Situated on the Cretaceous shelf of El Caroig and leaning on the northern fringe of the El Castell mountain range, Xativa is the centre of a naturally protected area that communicates with its neighbours by means of four bridges. The river Canyoles crosses the area that holds it up like a back bone, following a course that takes it to the river Albaida and, on, to the river Xuqer.
The Palaeolithic remains of La Cova Negra, near Bellus, tell us that even the in those remote times the area was already welcoming and safe and that Xativas roots, despite having suffered the consequences of so many wars and having been shaken by several catastrophes, are deeply buried in the history of the Valencian people. The Iberians in the area founded Saitabi on the mountain range of Vernissa and even coined their own money, allowing them trade with their Mediterranean neighbours. This was until the Roman legions that were making the Via Augusta fell in love with this spot. Saetabis Augusta was for many years a borough under Latin law, as witnessed by many inscriptions and stone tablets that scholars have been able to rescue from the inner core of the city. From then on, the castle built by the Romans and often restored throughout its long history, watches silently, as if ashamed of its modest height of more than 300 metres over the lives and properties of the locals.
Before becoming Medina Xateba, the town went through a dark visigoth period. The church of sant Feliu, built upon an older visigoth church , was the seat of the bishopric.
On the 20th of august, 1492 the trustee Guillem de tovia announced: “today at nine o’clock in the morning , the courier arrived with the confirmed news that our cardinal has been chosen pope under the name of Alexander VI. The Borjas, who became popes Calixt III and Alexandre VI, eclipse with their history and legend the splendour of so many other important native sons: the painter Josep Ribera, the printer Blai Bellver, the stenographer Marti, the singer song writer Raimon, the painter Artur Heras.
The Castle can be found on top of Mount Vernisa, with its towering walls, rebuilt by the Moors during their occupation, separating the town from the Valley. There are actually two castles, the lower castle dates from Carthaginian times. The Queens tower supposidly named after Hanibal’s wife who is said to have given birth to a son here. The larger castle, a mixture of Moorish and Christian infl uences. The watchtower and cisterns are of Moorish origin to which the Gothic chapel of Santa Maria was added, and was built after the reconquista of 1431. The highest point of the castle offers some spectacular views of the town itself.
Goya’s Philipe V Next to the Castle stands the Hermita of Sant Feliu, which had been the site of a Visigothic cathedral. The building was built in the thirteenth century by Jaime I, who conquered the Moors in the area at that time. The interior has a single nave with four massive arches. The walls are adorned by Spanish Renaissance master pieces, and the altar centerpiece showing scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin.
The old quarter contains several wonderful buildings, which itself is testament to the historical richness of Xativa. Monuments including the 15th century Renaissance building, the Collegiate Church at La Seu, built by the powerful Borges family. The former Hospital, Dálarco House, graced by a beautiful door arch featuring the Madonna and Child surrounded by a host of angels.
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