In this blog post, I would like to let known some of the hamlets of Alpuente and their interesting attractions.
The first is Almeza that is located approximately 8km from Alpuente. Its name comes from the word “Almecina” that is the fruit of hackberries tree (the scientific name is Celtis Australis). Walking along its streets, you will discover houses more than 100 years old, so they are a magnificant exemple of the traditional local architecture. Moreover, you will find the casilicio dedicated to Virgen de la Cabeza (casilicio is a masonry pillar with niche on top to house a religious sculpture), and aslo very close to here, you will come across the Virgen de la Cabeza Hermitage. It is an elongated and simple building, crowned by a bell gable, besides its access door is flanked by stone benchs and above it you will see a small tile mural where Virgen de la Cabeza is represented. Another interesting and little known building so far is the ancient electric mill, which was founded around 1900 and was in operation until the 1970s. Furthermore, on the outskirts you will find a group of juniper trees that is known as Trabinas de Cañada Pastores, where the main attraction is La Juana, which is about 500 years old, a height of 13 metres and a permieter of approximately 5.6 metres.
The next hamlet is Baldovar that is located 4km away from Alpuente. Here, you can discover several natural water sources, an oven, a public wash house, a winery, and a tele-club among other attractions. The tele-clubs were public stablishment where residents could watch tv, this types of premises were popular in rural area of Spain in the 1960s. In additio, you can visit San Roque Hermitage that consists of a single nave with a rectangular floor plan, covered by a gabled roof. If you look at the façade, you can see a sundial next to the bell gable, and in the ashlar above the rectangular satined glass window, you can read 1867. Perhaps, this date could refer to the year of its construction or an important refurbishment. Inside, you can see the neoclassical altarpiece where is the statue of this saint is kept, and which was made by Villarroya. Moreover, I would like to point out that close to Baldovar a huge sauropod´s skeleton was discovered and today it can be contemplated in the Paleontological Museum of Alpuente.
Approximatley 2km from Alpuente is located Campo de Abajo. A remarkable historical fact of this small village is that Blessed Francisco Pizano (1802-1860) lived here for a few years and he was beatified by Pío XI in 1926. Also, if you walk along its strees, you will find San Isidro Hermitage which was built in the 1980´s, so the Patron Saint of Campo de Abajo is him, and its festivity is held on the last weekend of July .This temple is rectangular in layout with a single nave, large windows on the side walls, a gabled roof, topped with a bell gable and its wavy cornice is inspired by the Baroque. The access is through a semi-circular arch and above it you can see a sign with the name of the hermitage. Furthermore, in the surroundings of this hamlet you can see La Hoz Canyon and a centennial oak.
Other village is Campo Arriba that is located just over 4km from Alpuente. Its main architectural monuments are the fountain and the hermitage of Santa Bárbara. The first is located together a fronton and it consists of four spouts through which water runs throughout the year, and also this saint is represented at the top of fountain. The second is Santa Bárbara Hermitage which was built in the 19th century, in fact the year 1846 is engraved on the keystone of the semicircular arche of the access door. This small and rectangular temple is crowned by a bell gable and cross.
Corcolilla is located north of Alpuente, about 8km away. In the 14th century this big hamlet was known by the name of Corcoliella and it belonged to Ramiro Castroalbo del Cuervo who gave it to vassal of The king of Castilla, and later on, it was acquired by the Alpuente authorities through a payment. Afther, this land was sold to the cleric Pascual de las Cuevas who was in charge of the parish. Nowadays, it is not known when Corcolilla was incorporated into the Alpuente terrotory.
The most important building is the church that is consacrated to Saint Bernabé and the Saints Abdón and Sénen. Inside, you can see beautiful frescoes and a statue of the Virgin of Nuestra Señora de la Consolación which dates from the 13th century. Every 3 years, on the Thursday of the third week of May, this image religious is carried from Corcolilla to Alpuente, where it will stay until the third week of August, when it will be returned to its parish.
In addition, very close to this village, you can visit an ichnits site (fossil footsprints), which is one of the best in the Region of Valencia. It consists of more than 100 footsprints which are of bipedal, theropod and ornithopod dinosaurs of medium or small size. Furthermore, they are concentrated in a small area and they go in different directions of movement, therefore this means that it was an well-travelled territory by dinosaurs.
La Cuevarruz can be found in the north of Alpuente, about 8km away. The peculiarity of this village is that it consists of three quarters, the one is located in the highest part, it was abandoned some years ago. Regarding the other two, one belongs to Alpuente and the other is owen by La Yesa. According to the legend, its name comes from a Moor named Ruz who lived in a cave nearby. Here, you can find a windmill from the beiginning of the 20th century, a covered fronton, a teleclub next to the San José Hermitage which was built in 1745. This impressive temple is crowned by a huge bell gable with two unequal hollows and in each of them there is a bell. Below, you will see a sundial together with the rectangular window and a small ceramic mural where is represented St. Joseph holding the hand of the Child Jesus. On the altar there is an altarpiece where the statue of this saint is kept, which was made by Ignacio Vergara (1715 – 1776), who was a famous Valencian sculptor and one of his most emblematic works is the façade of the palace of Marqués de Dos Aguas in Valencia.
El Collado is at an altitude of 1,150m above sea level and it is located in the northern part of Alpuente, between El Cerro del Castillo (the Castle Hill) and the Buitre flat topped hill. Both in and around the hamlet, you will find several fresh water sources and public washing places. The most important building is San Miguel Arcángel Church that was built in 1868. Inside, you will catch your eye a Gothic altarpiece which comes from the Alpuente church. As you can see, some of its panels are missing, these are currently exhibited in the Diocesan Museum of Zaragonza and in the Johnson collection of Philadephia.
El Poyo Fortress was built on top of a hill and dates from te Roman period. It depends on the Alpuente Castle to control this great strategic territory because both constructions were located the border the kingdoms of Castilla and Aragón. This fortress controlled the Camino Real from Valencia to Aragón (an anciente rotal road) and the north valley of Bailía de Alpuente. Moreover, it played a fundamental role during the Carlist Wars, there was even an academy of Carlist army. At present, only a few remains of the wall are preserved. This building was declared a Site of Cultural Interest.
El Hontanar is a hamlet located about 10km from Alpuente. Here, you can find a public washing place, a teleclub, a natural water source, a fronton and the San Cristóbal Hermitage. This temple was originally the teacher´s house, so it is a tradittional village house with two floors and a double-sided roof, on whose eaves a metal arch was installed as a bell gable with a croos and bell. In the façade, there is a striking ceramic mural where are respresented this saint and the Child Jesus.
Las Eras is also known by the name of Obispo Hernández. It is located just over 1km from Alpuente and near the Reguero Ravine. The origin of this village dates back to the 18th century, when there was an agricultural expansion in this area. The layout of its streets adapts to the orography of the terrain and if you walk along them, you can come across the house where Joaquín Hernández y Herrero (1808-1868) was born. He was the bishop of Segorbe and Badajoz. Therefore, the second name od this land come from his name. In this small village, you can visit , a washing place, a natural water source, La Purísima Hermitage, about which we wrote in the previous post (Alpuente: Prehistory, history and the Present), and El Calvario Hermitage. This temple was abandoned and the worship is no longer celebreted, so a playground was built around it. This chapel has a square plan and its interior is open. At present, it doesn´t kept any sacred element. Also from Las Eras, you can enjoy breathtaking view of Alpuente, La Hoz, La Loma de San Cristóbal, and the terraced Islamic fields.
La Carrasca is located 4km away from Alpuente, and its main attraction is the Hermitage of Santa María Micaela del Santísimo Sacramento. It was built in 1936 although it wasn´t inaugurated for religious worship until 1939, after the Spanish Civil War. Its façade has a curvilinear pediment with a pyramidal pinnacles on each ends and also it is crowned by a bell gable with a vane. On one side, there is a circular sundial that consists of lines, Roman numerals and a black gnomon.
La Torre is a small hamlet surrounded by a juniper forest, and here you can also visit the washing place. Recently, some houses have been converted into rural lodging.
I should let known the other amazing hamlets of Alpuente, but this post is too long. Therefore, if you come to these lands, don´t miss to visit also La Canaleja, and the deserted hamlets such as: La Hortichuela, El Chopo where you can find the Hermitage of Blessed Francisco Pinazo, Berandía, Benacatácera, Vizcota, Cañada Seca, and Pozo Marín.