Today, I would like to let you know about Mascarell, that is an enchanting inland hamlet of the province of Castellón which belongs to Nules. It is the only completely walled village of The Region of Valencia, and it was declared Site of Cultural Interest. In this small village there are currently about 210 inhabitants. The name of this place comes from the Arabic language and means “campsite”.
The origins of Mascarell date back to the Middle Ages. King Jaime I of Aragon chosen this area to set up a military campsite together with an existing tower, in order to besiege and to conquerer the town of Burriana. In 1233 this village was conquered and the Muslim population was expelled from this land. Therefore, these people settled down in the army campsite which has been occupied by Christian troops before. So the firts urba settlement of Mascarell was established by Muslims, and thus the origin of the layout of Mascarell street is in the map of this camp. In the XVI century, they were forced to convert to Christianity, consequently they became Moorish. In the middle of this century, Mascarell was owned by the Oliva Counts, and the countess María de Cardona ordered the construction of the wall (1553). Over the years, there were many conflicts between Moorish and Christians, and finally in the XVII century, they were expelled definitely from this land. As a result, Mascarell was almost depopulated, thus this hamlet was annexed to Nules on the 16th of July, 1872.
The wall traces in an almost rectangular shape, it has 620 meters in perimeter and height is about 6 metres. In the center of each façade of the wall, there is set up a tower and you can come across with three access of which, two of them are gates: El Portal de l´Horta where you can see the original gaps of the moorings wooden door, and El Portal de Nules or El Portal de Valencia which is crown with a cross that is made of ceramic tiles. Originally, the wall was surrounded by a moat, but at the present there is an irrigation canal.
Overtimes, in the middle of the XX century, many openings were made by the inhabitants to put new accesses and more lighting for their houses which are attached to the wall. The west façade is the only that is original and there isn´t connected any building in it, neither inside nor outside. In this side of the wall, you can bump into several niches that are devoted to saints or virgins.
When you walk along the Mascarell streets, maybe, two buildings will catch your eye:
- The ancient town hall: it is a built of the XVIII century. Thereis an inscription in the middle of the upper part: “Año 1789 a 25 de agosto 1º del reinado de nuestro católico monarca, el señor don Carlos IV del caudal público de la villa de Mascarell”. It was built by Vicente Gascó (1734-1767), who decorated the interior of the Basilica of Virgen de los Desamparados in Valencia city.
- San Agustín Parish: it was built in the XVII century. The bell tower was built in 1747 and its artistic style is neoclassical. Indoor, you can see this church with a single nave and there are Baroque sgrafittos, which are very similar to those of the ancient Sangre Church (Blood Church) of Nules, that is the current History Museum.
The Patronal Feasts are held in honour of St. Augustine from the last weekend of August and several events are carried out such as streets parties, “Bous al carrer” (free bulls run arround the town) or activities for children. In addition, at the begining of November, the Medieval Festival is held which is amazing. Would you like to feel that you are in the Middle Ages? Here you can discover many crafsman´s stalls, performances, activities for children, animals, knight tournaments, exhibition of medieval weapons, … The first time this festival was held in 2007, and from then on it is held every year.
Mascarell is a cute and quiet hamlet that is located about 2 kilometres from Nules, and if you visit this town during the summer, you could take a dip in the beach which is 10 minutes away by car. Do you feel like discovering Mascarell?