Villajoyosa has something special that makes all those who visit want to return, it offers a rich and varied archaeological and monumental heritage, clean and tranquil beaches, and an excellent climate that makes it a recommended destination any time of the year. The light of a Mediterranean locality, the configuration of the old town, with its small streets that reminisce of the past, its houses close to the port painted in the purest of Mediterranean styles, in bright luminous colors, are the biggest attractions for tourists
The settlement of the municipal area of La Vila Joiosa goes back to the Bronze Age at least (second millennium BC). The hilltop where the old town of La Vila Joiosa stands was a settlement founded at the beginning of the Iberian age around the 6th century BC. There is the reason to believe that this town is in fact the “Alonis” mentioned in classical texts. Excavations in the Poble Nou necropolis, used during 5 centuries of Iberian culture, have provided abundant military and household materials that are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum.The town was one of the Roman cities in the Land of Valencia, probably called Alone; a lot of materials, inscriptions, Roman monuments (like the funeral tower of San Josep) have been founded and most of them are exhibited in the l Museum. During the Middle Ages, the town became depopulated, with the local people taking refuge in the interior due to the decline the constant danger of pirate attacks. At the 8th Century the Levante area was Islamized until the 13th Century, when Admiral Bernat de Sarrià founded the new town “La Vila Joiosa”, that means “Joyful City”, a perfect name to attract new settlers from Aragón and Catalonia.
The town had its own castle, no longer standing, with heavily defended walls that were bombarded and repaired constantly; the walls standing today (16th Century) are fine examples of early Renaissance military architecture. The danger of pirate attacks continued until the 18th century, as demonstrated by numerous defensive towers (Torre de El Xarco, Torre de L’Aguiló).
MONUMENTS AND MUSEUMS.
HISTORICAL-ARTISTIC OLD QUARTER OF THE CITY.
BIC (Asset of Cultural Interest) declared.
The Old Quarter of the town preserves an enviable degree of conservation. Its traditionally seafaring and commercial character has determined its particular architecture, with a distribution and layout typical to the era of the conquest and the re-conquest. In excavations in the area there have been found remains from the Iberian era, of Phoenician or Egyptian origin. The Fortress-Church of the Asunción, in the Historical-Artistic quarter is worth a visit, belonging to the Catalan Gothic style. The streets of Colón and Canalejas conserve buildings of different architectural styles, which range from the XIX and the XX century. Another of the essential attractions are the hanging polychromatic houses above the river Amadorio, which also serve as icon to the town.
OUR LADY OF ASSUMPTION CHURCH. Asset of Cultural Interest.
The Church built in XVI century, belongs to the style called Catalan Gothic, typified by simple decorations.
The Church is one of the three examples of a fortress-church in the province of Alicante. As time went on, some elements from different ages were added such as: Main Front, Purísima Concepción Chapel and the very valuable Santa Marta Chapel, room that was adhered to the original building at the XVIII Century.
Santa Marta Chapel was built under an excellent baroque style which breaks the austerity of the rest of the building. The reason of this concentrated ornamentation is that the image our patron saint is in this chapel. Here we can see two parietal canvases representing two historical periods that nowadays still celebrated:
According to the tradition, settlers of La Vila were attacked by Barbary pirates on July 29th(Saint Marta’s day); they prayed for the saint’s intervention in repelling this attack and ever since then St. Marta has been the patron of the town.
The Miracle of Santa Marta Tears occurred on 8th May 1658.
The apparition of Santa Marta to protect the local people from the attack of the Berber pirates on 29th July 1538.
About the Church it is to be said, that there are two roman inscriptions. One of them is inside the church, and is used as a water holy basin; the other one is outside, making part of the wall in the chapel.
THE WALLS. Asset of Cultural Interest.
The walled enclosure was partially destroyed during the War of Succession, shown by walls incorporated into the older buildings of the Old Quarter of the urban nucleus.
The said walls, built in the XVI century constitute an extraordinary example of preabaluartada defensive architecture. In the Modern Age, new walls were built, from which stand out those of the Poniente and Levante, in the Vauban style or Abaluartada architecture. In the Levante wall, it is possible to distinguish the bastions of straight walls with star shapes, very different to those at Villajoyosa.
The towers that constitute the walled enclosure have a solid circular base with an upper chamber with large cañoneras.
Watchtowers (BIC Monuments): Torre de El Xarco and Torre del Aguiló, destined to prevent the pirate attacks.
San José Tower (BIC declared) of Roman origin, is a funeral edification integrated into a Necropolis. It is being restored now.
What to do:
Take a walk in the Old town, and you will see the typical colorful houses, the Church of Our Lady of La Asunción (Catalan Gothic style) and the walls of Renaissance style.
Visit the “Finca La Barbera dels Aragonés” to find about the historical roots of our beautiful town; and don’t forget to sweet up your life visiting the three Museums of Chocolate of the city.
Enjoy the local gastronomy and choose one of our restaurants to eat the traditional fishers cooking.
Don’t’ forget to try the delicious fish of the bay!
In the afternoon, watch the fishing boats come into the port and attend a fish auction at the fish market.
We can’t forget that Villajoyosa is the city of chocolate, nothing better at the end of the day than a sweet cup of chocolate enjoying the weather and the landscape of the town.
Thanks to the Tourist Office in Villajoyosa for providing the text!