Guide to Xativa, a town in the Valencia region of Spain.

Guide to Xativa Spain

Standing on the right bank of the river Albaida in the Costera district of the province of Valencia, the historic town of Xativa has a long and distinguished history. Spanish towns are renowned for their many fountains, Xativa is said to have over one thousand, though this may not be entirely true, you wouldn't want to count them all!

Renowned as an early European centre for the manufacture of paper, this industry started during the Moorish occupation of the town sometime back in the 11th century, the history of Xativa however goes back much further and the fortified castle of Xativa was mentioned by the Latin poet Silius Italicus (101 - 25 BC) in his poem about the Second Punic War. There may have been a castle here during Iberian times and the important strategic location of the area was realised from these early times. Hannibal is said to have watered his elephants in the town during his epic journey and two Borja popes were born in the castle there - Calixtus lll and Alexander VI.

The nearby Cova Negra (Black Cave) revealed remains that are over 30,000 years old and an intact Neanderthal skull was included in the finds. During Iberian times the town, then called Sait, was already an organised municipality, it belonged to an area known as Contestania, it had its own currency and was involved in trade. Situated on the important Via Augusta (Rome to Cadiz) road, it was significant in Roman times and known as Saetabis Augusta, it was involved in the production of fabrics and flax products. Xativa was a religious centre during the times of the Visigoths, it had a bishopric and several bishops signed the minutes of the Councils of Toledo during the sixth century. The first paper mill in Europe was founded by the Moors during the 11th century, though they were shortly to lose control of the town to the Christian king Jaime I, he defeated the Arabs and re-conquered Xativa on May 22nd 1244 after which the town became the centre of a territory comprising some five hundred villages. In 1347 Xativa was awarded the title 'City' by Pedro IV in recognition of its loyalty during the War of the Union. 2 popes were born in Xativa during the 14th and 15th centuries - Calixtus lll and Alexander VI both significant political figures at the time and both belonging to the Borja (Borgia) family. Xativa reached its height of spleandour and cultural importance during the 15th and 16th centuries and the famous Spanish painter José de Ribera (El Españoleto) was born in the town in 1588. Xativa actively participated in the War of Spanish Succession and sided with the unsuccessful Archduke Charles of Austria, rather than the Bourbon Felipe V, who was eventually victorious and ordered the town to be burned to the ground and all its inhabitnats expelled - he renamed the town 'Colonia Nueva San Phelipe' (the town still shows its dissapproval by displaying an upside down portrait of Felipe V in the Museum of Fine Arts!). The name Xativa was subsequently reinstated after representations by Joaquin Lorenzo Villanueva in 1811 to the Court in Cadiz. Xativa was declared a site of Historic-Artistic importance in 1982 in recognition of the richness of its ancient monuments.

Xativa's cultural monuments include La Colegiata de Santa Maria (from the 14th century) in the Renaissance style, La Ermita de San Felix (13th Century), La Ermita de San Jose (18th century), La Ermita de Santa Ana (16th century), La Iglesia de San Pedro (17th century), Hospital Mayor de Pobres (15th to 16th centuries), the La Puerta Gótica de los Trinitarios (15th century), the church of San Francisco (14th century) and of course its castle with remains from various centuries, featuring 30 towers and 4 fortified gateways .

The old walled town of Xativa still retains much of its old world charm and the many narrow, cobbled streets, fountains, pretty little squares and ancient churches add to the flavour.

Xativa has a renovated bullring and Elton John appeared there in a concert in June 2007.

Market day in Xativa is on a Tuesday (from 10.00am), a good place to pick up a gift or two, a smaller market is held on Fridays, there is also a food market held in nearby Genoves on Wednesdays.

Xativa of course has its share of festivals and these include the Fallas (March), Corpus Christi (June), Fira D'Agost or August Fair (August), not forgetting the numerous Christmas and Easter (Semana Santa) celebrations.

Xativa is linked by train to Valencia and can be accessed from the N-340, the A-7 and the AP-7.

For more information on the town you can call the Xativa Tourist Information Office - 0034 962 273346.

Xativa Links: Xativa Map - Xativa Weather


Nearby Places: Denia - Moraira - Calpe - Gandia - Oliva - Pego - Javea - Guadalest - Teulada - Benissa - Cumbre del Sol - Gata de Gorgos - Els Poblets

Attractions: Gallinera Valley - Penon de Ifach - Algar Waterfalls - Caves of Canelobre - Fuentes de Algar

Golf Courses: Oliva Nova Golf - Ifach Golf Club - Real Faula Golf - Spain Golf

Related: Alicante - Murcia - Valencia - Alicante Weather - Alicante Transfers - Builders