Regions & Cities
The Northern Costa Blanca Region, Part 2
By Kenn Walters
Jun 1, 2004, 03:42
Denia, the capital of the Marina Alta, is a modern cosmopolitan city offering both visitors and residents a range of services. It owes its current importance to its being the historical city of the region, a city that was known in medieval times as the Marquesado de Dénia. Its name derives from the Latin name Dianium which is the origin of the name given to its inhabitants, the 'dianenses'; Daniya was its Islamic name. The city experienced its period of urban and cultural glory when it became an independent Taifa following the division of the Caliphate of Córdoba during the 11th century. The historical centre of Denia contains the symbol of the city, its castle. The commercial centre is located in the calle Marqués de Campos and the adjacent streets. The modern port area contains one of the most important ferries to Ibiza and Mallorca, with Ibiza just 2 hours away by fast ferry. Dénia is a coastal city located to the north of the province of Alicante and has a 20-kilometre coastline, made of small, beautiful coves. To the north there are the fine sandy beaches of Les Marines and Les Bovetes and the shingle beaches of Les Deveses and L' Almadrava (shingled) beaches which are craggy and rocky; to the south is the Les Rotes beach. Though the beaches are long, they are not enormous and generally appeal to family-type tourism. The mild temperature, the annual average being 18ş C, means that it is a pleasant place to stay. A monument was erected to the climate in the eighties. Dénia is close to the sea, though some of its most characteristic features, such as the Mongó and the Natural Park, are situated on the border between Dénia and Jávea. In the surrounding area there are Gothic hermitages from the period of the Conquest and caves where potholing is carried out.
Gata de Gorgos
Gata owes its name to the Gorgos River, also called the Jalón, which passes through the village before arriving at Jávea. The village has traditionally been associated with agriculture and esparto craftwork. The production of objects made out of esparto and palm is the source of wealth and prosperity; the village is located at the crossroads with the N-332 and the regional roads leading to Jávea and Dénia. Crafts shops display their products on the streets, and sometimes the highways, to the surprise of curious visitors, and make a picturesque sight. The houses, white with ivory lintels, give the village its regional character. The Church dates from 1535; the same year the village became an independent municipality from Dénia.
Jalon and Jalon Valley
In 1472 the Moors living in Jalón sent a selection of wines to the Valencian Court and negotiated with traders in Jávea the sale of a product which in time would become the base of Marina Alta's economy: raisins produced in the traditional 'riu-raus'. Jalón's wines belong to the 'denominación de origen' of Alicante and raisins are still produced in small quantities. Today Jalón is the capital of the Pop valley and is a lively city with craft shops, wine cellars, restaurants and other establishments offering a range of services to tourists. Each Saturday a large flea market is held in the area of the Azud that specializes in antique furniture.
Jávea is located in the northern section of the province of Alicante, between the capes of San Antonio and La Nao. The Cabo de Nao separates the bays of Valencia and Alicante and is the westernmost point of the Valencia's coastline. Frequent attacks from marauding pirates forced Jávea's inhabitants to settle 2 km from the coast in a walled town - these walls remained standing until 1877. The enclosure formed by the former walls now forms Jávea's historical centre, which is situated around the Gothic Church of San Bartolomé surrounded by whitewashed houses with iron grilles and lintels made out of golden porous 'Tosca'clay. In this area the Ayuntamiento, the Food Market, the Cultural Centre, the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology and the Chapel of Santa Ana are all located within easy walking distance. The marine and port area, known as the Aduanas del Mar, is located 2 km from the old town centre and is the place to see the Church of Our Lady of Loreta, constructed in the shape of a keel. The Arenal area, with the Costa Blanca's only National Parador, contains Jávea's most popular beach -the Playa del Arenal - and is reached by following the road that runs parallel to the Playa del Benissero. Jávea has a 20 km coastline that stretches from the Cova Tallá to the Cala de la Granadella. There is an interesting mixture of beaches with soft sandy beaches (Arenal beaches), small, shingled beaches bordered by pine trees which are suitable for diving (Granadella beaches), and naturist beaches (Ambolo beaches). There are also small coves: Portichol and La Sardinera. A more traditional Jávea is found inland with riu-raus and orange groves that are protected from the harsh continental climate by the natural barrier formed by Montgó, which extends to the north of Jávea and serves as a border between Jávea and Dénia.
Teulada was a village populated by 52 old Christian families and dedicated to growing Muscatel grapes and raisins. The villagers built a beautiful late-Gothic church in honour of the patron saint, St Catalina.Prehistoric man, the Iberians and especially the Moors (Benimeit, Benimarco and Alcasar are rural sections of Teulada) all left remains in this coastal area. Teulada became a walled village that was located slightly away from the coast for fear of Berber pirate attacks. As the village was near the coast, it was also a fishing village. Today both agriculture and fishing have given way to the tourism industry. The parish church, the hermitage of the Divina Pastora, the defensive tower, which rises over the Playa de la Ampolla and known as the Moraira Castle, are all architectural features of note. After the green fields covered in vines and riu-raus (traditional drying houses) we arrive at the Port of Moraira, a large tourist centre. Here there is a 8-km coastline with fine sandy beaches and transparent water, including L'Ampolla, Platgetes and Del Portet beaches. There are also small coves such as L'Andrago, Punta Estrella, Cap Blanc and La Cala. The most famous beach is that of La Ampolla, located next to the castle. The San Vicente Ferrer Cooperative produces excellent award-winning wines with its Teulada grapes - i.e. the Marina Alta White and Muscatel. The Marina Alta White is made with Muscat grapes, which gives it an aromatic and fruity taste and, even though it is a white wine, it is very sweet. The Muscatel is made with Muscatel Romanao grapes, which are considered one of the best varieties of grapes in the world, and the taste of the wine is reminiscent of the grape. Both wines can be purchased in the wine cellars.
Back to Part 1 for information on Altea, Benissa and Calpe.
For more information on the region, please don't hesitate to contact Globus Estates.
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