Nules: history, heritage and nature

Nules is located in the province of Castellón, and it is about 20 minutes´ drive from Castellón de la Plana and 45 minutes from Valencia, although you can also get here by train (Nules- La Vilavella station). Near the train station, you can find the Botanical Garden which was designed by Francisco Beltrán Bigorra in the mid-20th century. Here you can discover a great variety of plants, monuments and a children´s play area.

The municipal market is located a few metres from the Botical Garden. It is a Valencian modern architectural style building, that was built in 1934 and it was recently updated. Its stained glass window will draw your attention, and over this you will see the coat of arms of Nules.

Another building that is located very close to here is the San Bartolomé and San Jaime Church. It is a neoclassical religious temple that was built in the 20th century. Why is it such a modern building? On July 7, 1938 the bell tower was blown up and therefore the church was almost completely destroyed. The new temple was built after the Spanish Civil War by the Dirección General de Regiones Devastadas y Reparaciones. This entity was an organization founded in 1938 to direct and inspect reconstruction projects of buildings or infraestructures that was destroyed during the war. It was originally named the Servicio Nacional de Regiones Devastadas y Reparaciones, but when the Franco dictatoroship was established, its name was changed.

Behind this church, you can find the beautiful main square where the town hall is located.

About 3 minutes walk from this square, you can see the Nules History Museum that was founded in 1988 and it was located on the site of the ancient Iglesia de la Sangre (the Church of Blood) that was built end of the 16th century. It´s a late Gothic-style building of a single nave. Moreover, it was the meeting place of the Village Council. Nowaydays, here it is exhibited a great varied content: archaeological remains, works of art and ethnological items.

This temple has been used for different purposes throughout its history, for example during the French occupation in the early 18th century, this church was used a stable and bedroom for the soldiers. At the end of the 19th century it became a school, and in 1932 it was turned into a garage. This building was declared as Assets of Local Cultural Interest in 1998. Next to this ancient temple is the chapel of the Mare de Déu de la Soletat was built between 1757 and 1769 by Antonio Gilbert, who was one of the most important architects of the 18th century in the Region of Valencia.

This religious building is a beautiful example of Rococo architecture. It is remarkable the decoration of the arches, the vault and the dome, as well as allegorical reliefs of four passages of the Virgin ´s life. In the central niche there is an image of the Virgen de la Soledad (the 17th century).

Very close to here, you will find the Inmaculada Concepción church that was part of the disappeared convent fo Barefoot Carmelite Order. This complex was builts thanks to the fortune of the testament which was donated by Pere Just and Francisca Gozalbo. Due to arguments between the administrator of this wealth and the Bishopic, the nuns of this religious order never settled here. Later on, the Confiscation of Mendizabal happened and the convent passed into private hands. The church along with some rooms were transformed into a hostel, others were used as houses, and a blacksmith workshop was set up in the cloister. Throught the firsy half of the 20th century, most of the rooms of the ancient convent were desmolished, but the temple was preserved and oponed for worship. At the present, only part of the church, the sacristy and the original decoration are kept.

Just a few minutes away from this temple, you will come across the Sagrada Familia convent that is an example of Carmelite architecture, it was designed by Fray Josep de la Concepció, who was a friar of the Carmelite oorder and Baroque-style architect, know as El Tracista (the draftsman). The first foundation stone was laid in 1675 and four years later the convent was inaugurated. The church began to be built in 1691 and was completed in 1710. In the middle of the 18th century, the Theology Faculty of the Barefoot Carmelites of the province of Aragon was established in this convent.

During the confiscation of Mendizábal, this architectural complex passed into private hands, which caused the disappearance of most of artwork, books, manuscripts, … At the end of the 19th century the Poor Clares nuns settled in this place and stayed here. In 1976 this convent was sold and the nuns moved to the convent of Onda. Unfortunately, this beautiful complex was desmolished and currently only the church was preserved.

Nearby, you can also find the Medal Museum which is dedicated to Enrique Giner, who was a renowned medal maker, sculptor and painter of the 20th century. It is the only museum devoted to medals in Spain.

It stands on the former site of the ancient San Miguel hermitage that is known as the Fort. In the middle of the 18th century, the Marquis of Nules ordered the construction of this temple to replace the previous hermitage of the 15th century. This building was also built by Antonio Gilabert. Its outer part is hexagonal and inside it is a circular layout.

A curious fact is that this hermitage was occupied by the Napoleonic troops in 1808 and it was used as a small fort. Therefore since then this building was known as the fort.

Nules is surrounded by orange and clementine trees. The flagship product of this land is clementine named Clemenules that is an autochonous variety which arose from a spontaneous tree mutation in 1953. These clementines are easy to peel, have a lot of juice, flavor and are seedless.

In addition, among these orange groves, you can find the archaeological site of the Roman villa of Benicató. It is a luxurious rustic house from the imperial period which was discovered in 1888. A square-shaped peristyle with a circular impluvium ( it is a pond where rainwater was collected) was found and around it there are seventeen rooms, two of them are paved with mosaics decorated with geometric and vegetal motifs.

The municipal area of Nules stretches towards the sea with a coastline of excellent beaches and a small coastal lagoon, L´Estany Natural Municipal Park that has an area of 2.74 hectares. This marsh was included in the Region of Valencia Catalogue of Humid Areas (2002).

Furthermore, a 2-minutes drive away, you can visit several bunkers of the Spanish Civil War that were built next to the Camí del Cabeçol by the Nationalist Faction. It consists of four independent constructions which were built with concrete and stone blocks, some of them were taken from the Nules paviments.

And if you like the Medieval era, you can´t miss visiting Mascarell which is located 2.5km from Nules. It is the only village completely surrounded by a wall in the Region of Valencia and it is well-known for its medieval festival that is held in early November.

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