Javea Itinerary - Xabia

The itinerary which will let us know the urbanism and history of the medieval Vila of Javea starts where the Porta de la Mar one of the three accesses which its wall had, was raised.

In 1244 Dénia capitulated in favour of King Jaime I, and Pere Eiximen Carroç, who directed the conquest of the navy, carried out the division of this zone. But the repopulating was slow and little effective until the Musulman revolts of Al-Azraq in 1279 did not end.

The first documental news that speaks of Javea comes from King Jaime II fruit of the need of reinforcing the lands of the south, since the XIV century begins labelled by two conflicts: the war with Castille from 1396 and the razzias of the people of Granada with the aid of the Mudejar population of the kingdom. This King maintained a policy of fortifications and in his documentation he describes some elements of the primitive nucleus of the Vila. It was a small enclosure closed by an adobe wall with loafer towers. One of them probably that of En Cairat seems to have formed part of a previous construction an Islamic farmhouse.

The wall went along the streets Sor María Gallard, Primicies, Major and Roques. In the interior he peaks of another tower of a church and of houses.

The growth was slow and in 1333 the first bad year a period of recession started. In 1397 the title of VILA with a Council and district was granted, but it continued forming part of the County of Denia.

The XV century began with the recovery and the increase of the population, with a clear reflection in urbanism. The primitive enclosure was insufficient and the walls were demolished to open new roads carrer Nou or to take advantage of it in the construction of new houses.

The division of the Vila was effected and the new plan of the walls with the doors of La Mar, of Sant vicent or of the Ferreria and of Sant Jaume or of the Clot.

The central nucleus was occupied by the local oligarchy with important constructions. A clear example is the Palace dels Sapena, Lords of Benitatxell and of Lluca. On its ground floor the great doorway with a Roman arch has disappeared – similar to the one which is conserved in Nº 47 Major Street but it maintains the gallery of carpanel arches as well as the double windows with three lobes, although the small columns of the mullion have nor been preserved. It corresponds to the typical constructions of the civil gothic.

The rest of the Vila was inhabited by the már menor. The houses were conditioned by the previous division into long narrow plots. The façade consisted of a door with a Roman arch with keystones worked in sandstone and on the upper floor, a thresholds window or a conical arch of reduced dimensions with a edge of worked sandstone or a double window. This type of manufacture or some of its most characteristic elements continued being used until the first part of the XVII century.

The growth of the population and the instability due to the assaults of the Berber Corsairs, which had been continuous from the XV century, made it advisable to enlarge the fortress. In 1513 the works of the great nave with internal buttresses of the Church of Sant Bertomeu directed by Domingo de Urtega began.

Of a gothic Isabelline style, it presents a unique nave with lateral chapels between the buttresses, following the Mediterranean model. The dome is of crosspieces and the decorative elements which it presents are scarce in the interior, as well as in the exterior, where they concentrate in the two front pieces. A watch tower with belfry functions and the old sacristy were raised.
The set is finished with battlements and it has loopholes, windows for the mortars and two objectives perfectly, to defend the population and to cover the religious needs of the people. The Esglesia of L´Oreto was also constructed in 1515 near the Porta de la Mar, where a small garden is currently found.

Another need when the pest outbreaks were relatively customary, was covered by the hospital, of which only the chapel of Santa Ana is conserved. It seems that Javea was not very affected as the demographic data which we have demonstrates. In 1510, there were some 930 inhabitants – the greatest population of the region- and a century later it reached 1.800 inhabitants. The greatest preoccupation of the monarchy in the XVI century was the Moor issue, a problem which finished in the reign of Philip III with the expulsion of the Moors in 1609, lessening the population of the interior valleys of the region. The Palace d´Antoni Banyuls member of the court of which its superior gallery with clear Castilian influence stands out, belongs to this era.

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