Resorts of Spain - Javea
The Costa Blanca seaside town of Javea lies about 80 kilometres north of Alicante between Calpe and Denia. Located in the Marina Alta district, Javea (Xábia) is situated on a wide bay and is sheltered by two rocky promontories (Cabo de la Nao and Cabo de San Antonio). A popular coastal town, the population of Javea swells from its normal 29,000 to well over 100,000 during the busy summer season.
Enjoying a warm Mediterranean climate, Javea is protected from cold northerly winds during the winter time by the towering Mount Montgó, keeping temperatures mild throughout winter months. Apart from the shelter it gives, Mount Montgó also provides a dramatic backdrop for the town and nowadays forms part of the Mount Montgó Natural Park (established in 1987), covering some 21 km2 and containing some revealing archaeological remains.
Artefacts found in Mount Montgó caves give evidence of human activity in the region around Javea some 16,000 years ago, during the Upper Palaeolithic Era, further settlement is evident from the Neolithic Era and also from the Bronze Age. There have been some fantastic finds from the Iberian Culture including pieces in gold and silver, dating from the 3rd - 2nd Centuries BC. The arrival of the Romans after the Second Punic War (219 - 201 BC) heralded a growth in organised society and various advances in agricultural activity in the area around Javea. Villas (independent houses) were built, particularly in the fertile valley formed by the River Gorgos, and there was a settlement in the area of Playa de Arenal where the fish sauce, ‘garum’ was produced and shipped. After the decline of the Roman Empire, the Romans were replaced by the Visigoths, and although very little is known of their time in the region, there is some documentation suggesting the existence of a monastery (San Martin), though there is no firm evidence to support this.
In the Eighth Century the Moors invaded and took control of the Iberian Peninsular, where they remained until the 13th Century (the Christian re-conquest of Denia is recorded in 1224). The Arabs continued with the agricultural advancement of the area, using expert irrigation systems brought from the arid deserts of the Middle East and North Africa. In the centuries after the Christian re-conquest, the town of Javea was walled and fortified to ward off attacks from marauding barbary pirates, and there is still evidence today of these ancient fortifications.
One of the best known landmarks in Javea today is the impressive fortified Gothic Church of San Bartolomé, dating from the Fourteenth Century (possibly earlier) and officially listed as a Ancient Monument in 1931. Evidence can still be seen of damage inflicted on the church during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), its pockmarked walls reminding visitors of more violent times in Spain’s history. The narrow streets of the old town are typically Spanish, and the fine old houses have interesting examples of traditional wrought iron balconies. Also worth a visit in the old town is the Museo Arqueologico, Historico y Ethnográfico, where visitors can learn about the history of Javea from the Iberian times onwards.
Perhaps the most popular spot for present day tourists to Javea, is the old port and harbour, retaining much of its original charm, it has not been ruined by modernisation, at Javea port you can see fishing boats arriving with their days catch or sit in one of the bars and restaurants and enjoy a delicious local seafood dish. The harbour dates from the Fifteenth Century and it was formerly an important shipping port for the export of raisins until the collapse of the raisin trade in the late 19th Century
The primary beach of Javea is Playa de Arenal, a wonderful sandy beach with a good range of facilities. The beach is backed by a wide promenade, lined with bars, restaurants and shops and is also the location for a popular craft market which is held on summer evenings when the weather is at its best. Javea holds its weekly local market on Thursdays and this is a great place to stock up on fresh locally grown fruit and vegetables. Javea, of course has its fair share of fiestas and celebrations, the main ones being the Moros y Cristianos (Moors and Christians) in July, the Fogueres de San Juan (bonfire festival) in June and the Nuestro Señora de Loreto (with bull-running) in September.
Javea can be easily reached via the N332 coast road or the AP-7 motorway junctions 62 or 63.
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