Alpuente is a calm and lovely village that is located in northwest part of the province of Valencia. It was named Altum Pontem by the Romans. At the present, it has a population of more than 600 inhabitants and its municipal area consists of several hamlets, which some of them are abandoned or only contain holiday homes (Almeza, Baldovar, Campo de Abajo, Canaleja, El Collado where El Poyo Castle is located, Corcolilla, Cuevarruz, Las Eras, Hontanar, La Torre, La Carrasca, La Hortichuela, El Chopo, Berandía, Benacatácera, Vizcota, Cañada Seca y Pozo Marín). There is a route of just over 45km, along which you can know some of these amazing hamlets.
This land is known to have been inhabited since the Bronze Age, but its greatest economic and cultural boom was not reached until the 11th century, afther the fall of the Caliphate of Córdoba. Alpuente was located in a strategic place and it was a conflict zone, therefore it were built two fortress (Alpuente and El Poyo castles). This place turned into an independent Taifa Kingdom and that allowed it to mint its own currency. Later on, this area was conquered by El Cid (Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar) in 1089, and many years after, in 1236 this town was conquered by the lord of Javaloyas (Vicente de Valoys Crépy) on behalf of Jaime I, the king of Aragón.
Also, Alpuente was declared a royal city and several assemblies of Reino de Valencia were held in here. After, during the Carlist Wars in the 19th century, both castles were destroyed, so nowadays their remains can be visited . In the middle of the 20th century, as in many other Spanish towns, the population migrated to large cities looking for a better future, and thus Alpuente gradually lost inhabitants.
The Alpuente castle was built in the Caliphate era, and is located on the top of a huge crag that is surrounded by deep ravines. Most of the preserved structures are cisterns, warehouses, defensive elements and living areas. Moreover, from here you will be able to enjoy stunning views.
Next to the fortress, there is the Nuestra Señora de La Piedad Church that was built between the 13th and 15th centuries. The temple consists of a single nave and the entrance is through a doorway with a semicircular arch. Another architectural element that can catch your eyes is the bell tower, which has an octogonal shape and it was a baptistery in the past.
A few steps away from this church, you can find the Aljama Tower that was the main gateway to the city and it is the one that has been best preserved nowadays, even though it is more than 1,000 years old. The name of this tower comes from the Arabic word ŷāma’aʻ that menas “town hall” or “meeting of people”. Originally, there were the Lonja and the Arab town hall in the upper floor. In the lower part of building, you can visit the Salón de las Cortes (an assembly hall), where senior officials of Kingdom of valencia met twice. In addition, you can discover the ancient stables that were later used as dungeons. The building attached to the tower is the beautiful Plenary Hall, that was built in the 16th century, and in which the wonderful coffered ceiling and the polychromise plasterwork can be contemplated. Moreover, until a few years ago, this building was used as a town hall.
These pictures were extracted from mapio.net
Another interesting building you could visit is the 14th century oven of the town, where the Ethonological Museum is located. This oven was working until the last third of the 20th century, and the magnificent Gothic arches have been preserved in good condition thus far. Moreover, you will discover several traditional objects and tools such as: farmer and carpenter working tools, ancient tools to make bread, …
Las Eras is a small village that is located about a kilometer away. Here, you will find La Purísima Hermitage that was rebuilt around the year 1700 , and for some time it was used as a hospital in the late 17th centry. The hermitage is built with masonry and ashlars, reinforced with buttresses. Its access has a semicircular arch and on it you can see the remains of a sundial, and also there is a written tile in which you can read “ hermita de la Purísima”. The façade is crowned with a bell gable without a bell.
Nearby, approximately 2km away, you will find Los Arcos, an impressive aqueduct which was built between the 16th and 17th centuries.s. It brought water from La Nueva and Marimacho springs to supply the population and also to irrigate fields. At the present, it consists of 13 pointed arches, the central arch was reconstructed in the 1980s because in 1880 the Reguero river overflowed and this arch collapsed. Moreover, its importance lies in the fact that it is one of the few aqueducts that can be found in the Region of Valencia, and also it is declared Asset of Cultural Interest.
These pictures were extracted from mapaio.net
If you are a paleontology lover, don´t miss the opportunity to visit the Paleontological Museum. Alpuente is an area rich in archaeological sites, therefore in this small museum located in the ancient Santa Bárbara Hermitage, you will discover a very complete collection of dinosaurs bones and fossils. Furthermore, in Aula de Recuperación you can learn how archaeologists work.
These pictures were extracted from Castillo de Moya
Outside Alpuente you can see on the hillside of San Cristobal the impressive terraced fields from the Islamic period which are still cultivared today. Also, around this area you can find several hiking or cycling routes, along which you will enjoy beautiful landscapes.
If you feel like visiting this awesome village and discover all its attractions , it only takes you about an hour and halft to arrive from Valencia by car.