Chelva is situated in the inland part of the province of Valencia. It has a population of about 1,460 inhabitants. The origen of its name is a Roman word, “silva” whose meaning is jungle. This lovely village was declared Place of Cultural Interest in the Historical Complex category, because it keeps up four districts of different cultures that inhabited this land:
- The Arab quarter of Benacacira: it was built in the 11th century. It consisted of a fortress which is currently part of the Palace of Viscounts. Also, it preserves a gateway that is San Cristóbal. In this district you come across with the Hemitage of La Soledad which was built in the 17th century and its artistic style is Baroque. It was built on the first mosque of Chelva.
- The Moorish quater, el Arrabal: the Muslims of Benacacira were expelled by the Christians and they were forced to be baptized, they settled down outside the walls, forming a new neighbournhood. Here, you can discover three important squares with significant buildings such as the ancient city hall (the 16th century) and hermitage of Loreto (the 14th century).
- The Jewish quarter: its access is next to the ancient city hall through the gateway of Azoque. This district preserves the original pattern.
- The Christian quartier: it is the last expansion area of Chelva in the Medieval times. It is located in the lowest part of the village. It streets have names of occupations: Las Ollerías ( the potteries), Las Moreras (who collected blackberries), El Tinte ( the tie-dye),….
There is another interesting quarter, El ensanche. This expansion was in the northern zone of the main square. The most remarkable building of this district is the archiepiscopal church, Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, which was declared an Site of Cultural Interest in 2006. Its façade is Mannerits style with four levels where are represented four classical architectural styles (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite order).
These pictures were extracted from Wikipedia
If you like hiking, I recommend you the Water Route because it is a mixture of culture and nature. The starting point is the main square and then you could visit the three most important quarters. Later, you might go out of the town and you could find the Tuéjar river, some remains of old Arabic flour and water mills, an old power plant, and the most impressive building is the Roman aqueduct of La Peña Cortada which is one of the four main aqueducts of the Iberian Peninsula. You will be able to walk through it. This monument belongs to the municipality of Calles. Another beautiful place is La Playeta to swim in summer, because here there are waterfalls and havens of calm waters.
One of these pictures were extracted from Mundo x descubrir
In addition, on the outskirts of Chelva you could visit:
- La Torrecilla: 1km north from the town. In this side, there was an Iberian settlement between the 4th century and 1th B.C. Later, the Almohads built the fortress at the end of the 12th century. In the 19th century, the current tower was constructed.
This picture was extracted from Restaurante la aldea
- Convento de San Francisco: it was built in the 14th century and nowadays it keeps up the cave of the hermit monks. Its church is Gothic style inside, while its façade is Renaissance style. At present, this building isn´t a convent but now its purpose is a place of workship.
This picture was extracted from Mapio
- Santuario de la Virgen del Remedio: it is set at the foot of the majestic mountain peak of El Remedio. It is situated at a distance of 5 km from Chelva. Here, it keeps the image of the Patron Saint. In the 19th the citizens built a guesthouse for pilgrims beside the sanctuary.
This picture was extracted from Rutas para todas las edades
The patronal feasts are held at the end of August and another important holiday is San Antón which is celebrated around 17th January. On this day, the inhabitants light bonfires all over the village.
If you want to discover Chelva, it will only take you 50 minutes to arrive by car from Valencia city.
Do you feel like coming here?