Tuesday, 18 February 2014

A country walk in Villena, Alicante: Vía Verde del Chicharra - Cabezo Redondo archaeological site - Gypsum Ovens - Villena

Today introducing a very easy track, starting in the "Vía Verde del Chicharra", an ancient railway line recovered for walking / cycling use. It's very affordable for all levels (on the second part of the track I had my 5 years' old nephew as companion).

Beginning of route

At the end of the post you can find a Wikiloc track with pictures, available for download. I had some "technical problems" (low battery) and the final part is not included, but it's very easy to find the way back: just follow the road back to Villena for 2 kms.

There are 2 places to visit during this route: the archeological site of Cabezo Redondo and the Gypsum Ovens.


Cabezo Redondo archaeological site

General view of the archaelogical site

This place used to be a village during the Bronze Age (1700-1200 BC), with an estimated area of 10.000 square meters. Only a small part is excavated.


In this area was found the "Tesorillo de Villena" (Villena's small treasure), which I referred in a previous post. It has 34 gold pieces and can be visited in the Archaeological Museum of the city. Besides, on the site you can see many house structures made in wood and mud, as well as many ceramic remains, bones and graves.


In the Tourist Info Office of the city you can have information on the dates for visits, as the site is not always open.



Hornos de Yeso (Gypsum Ovens)

Hornos de Yeso (Gypsum Ovens)

The 3 gypsum ovens placed on the Cabezo de las Cuevas mountain were part of a local industry in the middle of 20th Century, but they were possibly built in the late 18th Century.


They have not a great historic interest, but I think it's a curious visit. On the place there is information about the production process of gypsum.


GPS Track (Wikiloc)


Bibliography

Villena Tourism Office - +34 966 15 02 36 - www.turismovillena.com

Excavaciones arqueológicas en el Cabezo Redondo. José María Soler, Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, 2005. Link to the source (In Spanish)

Generalitat Valenciana. Consellería de Educación, Cultura y Deporte. Servicio de patrimonio cultural. Link to the source (In Spanish)

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Villena, historic city

In my first entry, I would like to write about my hometown, Villena, on the Alicante province in Spain. If you are driving from Alicante to the inside country, you will be surprised by the vision of the Muslim castle in top of the mountain. But Villena is much more that its castle... Let's have a look:
 
http://comunitatvalenciana.com/sites/default/files/img/imagen/2009/06/11/villena7.jpg
Atalaya's Castle, Villena
Portal de Turismo Comunitat Valenciana
 
Prehistory:
There are archaeological remains from Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic. You can visit the remains on the "José María Soler" Archaeological Museum, placed in the town hall.

Puntas de silexVasija de cerámica neolítica
Silex Arrow (Palaeolithic) and Neolithic Pot
"José María Soler", Archaeological Musem
 
Bronze Age:
One of the most famous attractions of Villena is the "Tesoro" (Treasure), found in 1963. The treasure has a total of 47 pieces of silver and gold, including bowls, bracelets, bottles, buttons and other assorted pieces. All they make a total of 10 kilograms of gold and 600 grams of silver. On the Archaeological Museum you can visit a copy of the "Tesoro", as the original is guarded and protected, due to its high value. To have a better idea of its value, we can have an example: a gold bracelet found in Portugal, and identical to the "Tesoro’s" remains on its design, composition and age, was sold in a Christie’s auction for a total amount of 517,875 British Pounds (about 800,000 Dollars or 626.000 Euro).

http://www.turismovillena.com/eniusimg/enius2/2005/01/adjuntos_fichero_9049g.jpg
Tesoro de Villena
www.turismovillena.com
From the same period, there are several sites, specially the "Cabezo Redondo”, which can be visited one weekend of every month, and in which was found the "Tesorillo" (small treasure) with 34 gold pieces.

 
Antiquity:
Remains of iberian and roman cultures, that can be visited on the Archaeological Musem.

 
Middle Age:
It is especially important the Atalaya's Castle. According to Azuar Ruiz and José María García's historians, built in the end of 11th Century or beginning of 12th by Muslims, and later enlarged and reformed.

The Santiago's church, from the 14th and 15th Century, has very unique columns for its gothic period (picture) 

http://www.nostravalencia.com/cultural/iglesiadesantiago/santiago05.jpg 
Santiago's Church Columns
www.nostravalencia.com
Pictures:


Bibliography:
Tesoro de Villena: 50 años de incógnitas. Ramón Bernabeu. Diario La Verdad de Alicante, 1 de diciembre de 2013.
Historia de Villena, desde la Prehistoria hasta el siglo XVIII. José María Soler. MI Ayuntamiento de Villena, año 2006. Disponible en la Biblioteca Virtual "Miguel de Cervantes".