Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Costa Blanca Resort of Javea

The popular seaside town of Javea sits around eighty kilometres north of the city of Alicante between Calpe and Denia on the northern Costa Blanca coastline. Part of the Marina Alta district, Javea lies on a wide bay and is protected by 2 rocky promontories. A highly popular coastal town, the population of Javea swells from its normal resident population of 29,000 to in excess 100,000 during the hot summer months. Being blessed with a pleasant Mediterranean climate, Javea is sheltered from cold north winds during the winter time by the massive Mount Montgó, keeping temperatures at an agreeable level through the winter months. Aside from the shelter it offers, Mount Montgó also provides a spectacular backdrop for the town and these days forms part of the Mount Montgó Natural Park, covering some 21 square kilometres and containing some significant archaeological relics. Artefacts found in in Mount Montgó caves deep within the earth suggest human activity in the land around Javea some sixteen thousand years ago, during the Upper Palaeolithic Period, further human settlement is likely from the Neolithic Era and also from the Bronze Age. Some fantastic finds dating from the Iberian Culture including pieces in gold and silver, dating from the third and second centuries BC. The arrival of the Romans after the Second Punic War against the Carthaginians heralded the growth of organised society and culture and also certain advances in agricultural activity in Javea. Villas were built, especially in the fertile valley formed by the River Gorgos, and there was a Roman settlement in the area known as Playa de Arenal. After the decline of the Roman Empire, the Visigoths arrived, and although very little is recorded of their time spent in the Javea region, there is documentation suggesting the possible existence of a monastery, though there is no certain evidence to support this idea. During the Eighth Century the Moors invaded the region and took control of the Iberian Peninsular, where they remained until the 13th century. The Arabs continued with the agricultural advancement of the area, using unique irrigation systems brought from the dry, waterless deserts of the Middle East and North Africa. After the Christian reconquest, the town of Javea was walled and fortified to defend against attacks from marauding barbary pirates who sailed these coasts for centuries afterwards, and there is still some evidence today of these ancient fortifications. One of the best known landmarks in Javea is the fortified Gothic San Bartolomé church, dating from the Fourteenth Century and officially listed as a Ancient Monument since 1931. Evidence still exists of damage inflicted on the church during the horrific Spanish Civil War, its pockmarked walls reminding visitors of more violent times in Javea’s history. The narrow, winding streets of Javea old town are typically Spanish, and the old houses boast examples of traditional wrought iron balconies. Well worth a visit in Javea old town is the Museo Arqueologico, Historico y Ethnográfico, where the history of Javea can be learnt from the Iberian times to the present. The most popular spot for present day tourists to Javea, is the old port and harbour, retaining much of its traditional charm, it has not been ruined by modernisation and development. At the harbour it is possible to see fishing boats arriving with their daily catch or maybe sit in one of the harbourside restaurants and enjoy a delicious local seafood dish. The harbour dates from the Fifteenth Century and excelled in the export of raisins until the collapse of the raisin trade al the back end of the 19th Century. The major beach for Javea is Playa de Arenal, a delightful sandy beach with the usual range of facilities. The beach is backed by an attractive and wide promenade, lined with bars, shops and restaurants and also the location for a local craft market which is held on warm summer evenings, a great place to pick up a bargain. There are a good selection of Javea hotels in the town and there is also plenty of privately owned rental accommodation to be found, many foreign residents have chosen to buy holiday homes in the town and also to relocate, Javea villas are a popular commodity and there are always a good choice on the market, for those with a less generous budget apartments and houses are also available in numbers and you should be able to find a Javea property which suits your budget. Javea holds its weekly local market on Thursdays. Javea, of course celebrates numerous of fiestas and celebrations throughout the year, the main ones being the Moros y Cristianos in July, the Fogueres de San Juan in June and the Nuestro Señora de Loreto (with bull-running) in September. The region is blessed with a wonderful climate and Javea weather can be expected to be sunny and dry for at least 300 days every year, making it one of the finest all year round locations in Spain. Javea Spain can be easily reached via the N332 coast road or the AP-7 motorway junctions 62 or 63. You can view a map of Javea here: Javea Map.