The history of Javea centres around the lookout towers for warning of attacks from the sea and the large number of settlements. A history that has left a legacy of plentiful monuments that can be seen today, mainly in the town itself.
The first documents that mention Javea
date from the 9th century during the reign of Jaime II. In 1397 it was established as a burgh with a council and defined boundaries, although still part of the County of Denia.
Frequent attacks by pirates obliged the inhabitants of Javea to move 2 Km inland and build a wall around the town which remained standing until 1877. This walled enclosure now forms the historic quarter of the municipality.The town supported the Bourbon faction during the War of Succession, and was rewarded for this with a concession to export fruit and merchandise. This made the port very busy and it became the main motor of the town’s economy, first through wheat imports and then through the sale of raisins. For many years, agriculture was the main activity in Javea. Wheat, almonds, vines, carob and olives were its major farming produce.
Nowadays, tourism is the main motor of Javea’s economy, as it is for the great majority of Costa Blanca municipalities. Most significant is European second home tourism, which has created expansion of the service sector, particularly the restaurant and catering trades.
Tourism in Javea began in 1969 with the construction of the state-owned luxury hotel (‘parador nacional’), the only one of its kind on the Costa Blanca, located at the end of Arenal beach.
Thanks to its rich history, Javea has a significant heritage of historical monuments most of which are in a good state of conservation. Noteworthy are:
- The Church of San Bartolomé: a building in the Gothic style of the reign of Isabel. In medieval times this church was the main defensive structure and fulfilled both its functions perfectly: to defend the population and to attend to their religious needs.
- Palace of Antonio Bañuls: located in Primicias Street is the palace residence of Antonio Bañuls, member of the Court and major-domo to Felipe III. It currently houses the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography. Here we can admire a magnificent reproduction of the Iberian Treasure of Javea, an outstanding piece being a diadem found in a pottery vessel in Yuca. The centre has eight rooms for permanent exhibitions and two rooms for touring exhibitions.
- Chapel of Santa Ana: small Gothic style building which formed part of the 14th century hospital. Constructed from tuff stone. Its layout is rectangular and divided into three sections. It has a semi-circular arch at the entrance and fan tracery vaulting.
- Municipal Market: located on the site of the former nuns’ convent, the market was constructed in 1946, designed and built to blend in with its location.
- Casa Bolufer: a building with a very austere style. Its facade has a tuff stone finish, the window bars and balconies are of forged metal and the woodwork of mobile wood. It is situated in the church square very near the Town Hall.
- Javea Town Hall: located in the old part of town, built of tuff stone as are all the old buildings in Javea. The Town Hall is in the church square.
- Church of the Virgin of Loreto: one of the more aesthetically pleasing modern churches. Its design is an oval layout imitating the keel of a boat and it is built using materials such as cement and iron.
- “Virgen de los Ángeles” monastery: 160m. above sea level, a monastery of the Order of St Jerome run by one sole monk who carries out all the duties. In July the fiesta of the Virgen de los Ángeles takes place and the monastery receives an increased number of visits.
- Chapel of the Calvario: noteworthy for the combination of geometric shapes crowned by a cupola of Arabic tiles. The chapel was built in the 19th century and houses an image of Jesus the Nazarene.
- Chapel of Popul: on the southern slopes of the Montgó massif, this chapel has the same structure as other chapels built during the re-conquest using tuff stone. It was refurbished in the 18th century.
- Acequia de la Noria: this is a channel excavated out of the rock, some 100 metres long, connecting El Saladar with the sea. It can be reached via the path that goes from Arenal to Cala Blanca.
- Capsades Tower: the remains of the settlement around this tower indicate that there were Muslim buildings in this area in former times. Found in this tower were ceramic shards, iron keys, needles, a bronze awl and a coin.
- Ambolo Tower, Portichol Tower, and Torronel Tower: watch was kept from these lookout towers built at strategic points along the coastline.
- The Viewing Points Route: another of the major attractions of Javea municipality are its viewing points. Between Cabo de San Antonio and Granadella beach there are fourteen viewing points from where to admire marvellous views over the Mediterranea.