Alto Mijares, a land with an incredible natural wealth

Alto Mijares, a land with an incredible natural wealth

05 / 02 / 2016

Get to know the 19 towns that will be promoted at the match against Málaga CF

19 localities from the Alto Mijares region will be main features of promotion at the match against Málaga CF at El Madrigal (on Saturday 13th February, at 18:15 CET) thanks to the Endavant Província project. With this purpose, fans can already get to know the charm of each of the promoted localities a little bit better. 

Arañuel

The town of Arañuel is from the Moorish era. It has been populated since 786 of the Christian era, although there were disseminated traces of human occupation from the Iberian era. The town is placed on a flatland at the foot of a hill and made up of narrow and tall houses around the main square, where we can find the Parish Church of the Asunción de la Virgen. The San Roque hermitage, out of the town, allow us to see amazing landscapes.

There are numerous landscapes that we can enjoy all along the municipal area. Arañuel’s scenery is characterised by the abundance of water. We can find natural pools in the river’s vicinities, formed by the numerous meanders that it takes on its journey.

Argelita

In the times of the Reconquest, Argelita was a tower that belonged to Fernando, son of the Zayd Abu Zayd, the King of Valencia who was dethroned by his enemy Zahen, Lord of the region in the XIII century. But the Greek writer Strabo in his book IV, and the Roman geographer Avienus in his poem Ora Marítima had both already written about the place. After the Reconquest, the town was populated by Moors and it became part of the Crown’s territory by 1491. After the expulsion of the Moors (1609), the town became almost deserted. Don Pedro Escribá and Zapata, Lord of Argelita, gave the Town Charter by the 23rd February, 1611. The Barony of Argelita belonged to the Marquis of Monistrol, under the government of Morella, before it belonged to the province of Castellón.

The topography is moderately mountainous and doesn’t surpass 800m in altitude. The weather is Mediterranean, but colder and less humid than on the coast. The town sits at an altitude of 311m, surrounded by mountains and at the shore of the Villahermosa river, which irrigates its fertile fields.

Entering the town by the old barracks, you can go through the tight streets to the Church, the bell tower, and the tower of Zayd Abu Zayd, from which you can see the river and its valley.

Ayódar

The town of Ayódar is set deep in the Alto Mijares region, in the northern part of the Sierra Espadán natural park (Castellón Province). The current population is 240 inhabitants. The town is situated in the southern hillsides of the Peña Saganta, on the left bank of the Chico river. Filled with extensive pine woods, it presents considerable elevations such as the Cerro del Castillo (542m), in whose base is in the town, from Muslim origin. Despite being in ruins, its undeniable architectural value can still be observed.

A walk through the town lets us observe interesting buildings like the Parish church from the XIX century, dedicated to San Vicent Ferrer (Vincent Ferrer) in 1861. With a Valencian academicist style, it is formed by three naves and an apse. Its structure is completed by big Corinthian pilasters and a cupola.

Another important building is the Duke of Villahermosa’s palace, reconverted into private properties. Only one tower from the old castle’s fortress remains.

From the old Dominican convent, which was the spiritual centre of Ayódar throughout its history, only a svelte bell tower built in 1601 remains.

The architecture of its houses are typical of the area with robust and whitewashed houses, transmitting calmness and serenity when walking through the streets, most of which are steep according to the land as further proof of its Muslim origin.

If you want to enjoy the nature surrounding the town, a little walk to the Calvary will almost lead you into the extensive forests.

Castillo de Villamalefa

It is located in the Alto Mijares region, on the hillside of the mountain, which has the old castle at the top. The town can be accessed by the CV-190 from Lucena del Cid. It received the Town Charter in 1242 by the Moorish governor of Valencia, Zayd Abu Zayd, and then passed through diverse estates until its integration in the Dukedom of Villahermosa in 1472. Its economy is mainly based on the agriculture. The Castillo de Villamalefa countryside is mountainous.

Cirat

It is located in the Alto Mijares region, in the valley of the Mijares river. It can be accessed by the CV-20 from the coast, passing through Onda and Torrechiva. Cirat was a Muslim Villa, but its origin was a Roman Villa. After the Reconquest, it belonged to the domains of Ximén de Arenós, and suffered a hard abandonment after the expulsion of the Moors in 1609.

It has a mountainous landscape dominated by the valley of the Mijares, with an rugged geography drawn with cliffs and mountains which are around 1000m in altitude. It has a vast pine woodland and contains numerous springs such as La Salud, Macasta, Lobo, Madroñal, Umbría, Crespo, Costur, Jarica, Carrasca Mitjeta...

Cortes de Arenoso

Cortes de Arenoso is situated in the interior of the Castellón province, in the Alto Mijares region. You can get to this town by the N-234 Valencia road, direction Teruel, by the diversion to Rubielos de Mora (in the province of Teruel), or by the road CV-192 through Onda and Alcora. The history of Cortes de Arenoso goes back to the Ibers, Romans, and Arabs. It belonged to the Barony of Arenós. The town was reconquered by Ximén Pérez de Arenós, lieutenant of James I. In its amazing settings, we can find some of the most important pines woodlands and Pyrenean oaks of the Valencian Community. At an altitude of 1704m in the Cabezo de las Cruces, and at 840m altitude in the town itself, this area has humid and continental weather.

Espadilla

The town of Espadilla is located in the southeast of the Alto Mijares region, around the valleys of the Mijares and the Chico rivers, in the influential area of the Sierra de Espadán which belongs to the community of Espadán-Mijares. It has a surface of 12.04 km2 and an altitude of 294m.

The municipal area is very rough in its southern part and especially on the banks of the Chico river, with many elevations separated by ravines. It has widespread woods in which pines and junipers in the higher zones of the mountains, and the orange trees, elm trees, carob trees, and olive trees in the irrigated zones are the predominant species. The most important peaks are the Cueva Negra (829.72m), where the geodesic vertex can be found, built in October 1947, the Tuno (654m) on the Fanzara limit, Ereta (766m), Peña de la Mula (827m), and Peña Saganta (723m), located in the centre of the municipal area. It has two hiking trails that are not too far in distance and of medium difficulty: Espadilla-Saganta PR-CV 314, which measures 10kms and an average time of 3 hours and 30 minutes; and the new PR-CV-386 “Camino a la Cueva Negra,” 12.5 km long and taking an average time of 4 hours 45 minutes to complete. The beauty of the landscapes on these trails together with the comfortable temperatures are an incentive for any lover of exotic and beautiful places. Espadilla stands out over a spur of the mountain range at the right of the Mijares river.

Fanzara

Situated in the Alto Mijares region, it is located at 11km from Onda by the CV-194, following the Mijares river course. Founded primarily by the inhabitants of the Castellet (castle set deep in the top of a mountain of the municipal area) shortly after 1238, the castle was donated to the Archbishop of Narbona, as were other lands of Valencia. It seems that previous to this date, it was occupied mainly by Moors, which lived in Fanzara for a long time and left innumerable traces of their past.

In order to get to know the town, you must go up to the Santo Sepulcro hermitage, visit the church, and walk through the old town to the spring and the washing place. It is also recommendable to walk through the streets, surprising for their winding forms.

Fuente de la Reina

It stands out in its history because in 1348, the queen Leonor of Portugal died in this town. In the XVIII century, it formed part of the lands that belonged to the Count of Villanueva. In its urban tour, we can find the streets Blas and Solanar, which have houses hanging over the cliff of the Graja, and corners of the Placeta and Arrabal streets. Its topography ranges from an altitude of 800m to the 1,081m and has Mediterranean and continental weather. The territory of Fuente de la Reina is mountainous and abundant in vegetation.

Ludiente

The town of Ludiente is located in the Alto Mijares region at 431m above sea level. The valley of the Villahermosa river, together with numerous mountains, provide its prominent landscape full of vegetation. Its municipal area presents an rugged and varied territory with a huge quantity of ravines and slopes produced by the differences in altitude between the town and its mountains, most of which surpass an altitude of 850m; like Atalaya, La Casica and Herrerías. The centre of the town preserves the Muslim design and it is conditioned by the topography of the area, which results in narrow, tortuous, and rising streets. Its population is mainly distributed into four centres: Ludiente, Giraba de Arriba, Giraba de Abajo and Benachera. It has a long stockbreeding and agricultural tradition of which the fruit and vegetable plantations stand out; such as almond trees, olive trees and grapevines. The service sector has gained importance over the years.

Ludiente has a magnificent area to practise hiking through with its touristic routes and uneven surfaces and has great ecological value. Walking on these trails, you can observe the richness of its flora as well as its fauna, in particular the Spanish ibex, wild boar, European roe deer, deer, vulture and eagle.

Montán

Montán is a little town in the Alto Mijares region that sits in the foothills of the Sierra de Espadán. It is especially attractive because of its natural environment, where there are many springs. The town appearance follows the typical typology of the mountain towns of Castellón and the south of Teruel, with steep and narrow streets flanked by whitewashed houses which run into little squares and threshing floors, by which you can enjoy a relaxing walk. In its landscape we can find springs, ravines with lush vegetation which also include ideal cascades and wells if you want to take a swim, natural settings in the surroundings, trails…

Montanejos

This town of Arabic origin was born when the Alquería de Abajo and the Alquería de Arriba were integrated in the Castle of Montán. The Alquería and Montanejos were inhabited by Moors until their expulsion in 1609. The old town preserves the typical whitewashed houses from the Arabic tradition. Likewise, we can also find an interesting circular defensive tower and the church of Santiago Apóstol (XVII - XVIII).

Its natural settings attract many nature and adventure enthusiasts. The mountains walls are explored by people from all over the world, fans of speleology, climbing, hiking, bungee jumping… All of which form this attractive tourist offer that is Montanejos.

Puebla de Arenoso

The municipality of Puebla de Arenoso belongs to the Alto Mijares region and covers a land of 42.7km2. Puebla de Arenoso is at 626m above sea level and has even higher areas in its surroundings. The town is at a distance of 77km away from Castellón, 110km from Valencia, and 70km from Teruel. Its total population is 209 inhabitants, and it is divided in the cores of Puebla de Arenoso, Los Calpes, Los Cantos, and La Monzona. The history of Puebla de Arenoso and the masías (country houses) of the area have their origin in the castle of the Viñaza, later known as the castle of Arenós.

The town is formed with the typical grid form of the towns founded after the Reconquest, and in most of the houses, there is a semicircular arch giving them a medieval touch. In the four urban cores the characteristic buildings of the region can be observed. In its centre, the Plaza de la Iglesia (square of the church) is found, which is the only one with a triangular form in the Valencian Community. In this square the city hall and the parish church can be found, of a Renaissance style from Castellón.

Toga

The founding of this settlement is attributed to the Goths, later occupied by the Moors and reconquered by King James I. It has been a stately home and a stage for battles as the Carlist Wars (1836). From the main road, we can enter through the Arco de San Antonio (San Antonio Arch), following this street and turning left, we can find the main street with the City hall on the left. If we continue through this street, at the end we can find Plaza de la Iglesia (Square of the Church) on the left hand side and Plaza del Toro (Square of The Bull) on the right. Down from the church is the spring, the palace and the mill. From Plaza del Toro, we can go to the Portalet, the modern part of the town and the Paseo de San Juan (San Juan promenade).

In a meander formed by the Mijares river, the valley joins the end of the Sierra de Espadán to the south, and the Macizo de Penyagolosa (Penyagolosa massif) to the north. 200m above sea level, Toga has mild and healthy weather.

Torralba del Pinar

Although recent investigations seem to have found evidence of Roman inhabitancy, the first record in which Torralba is present is the Town Charter of Daroca (1142), and another signed by the Muslim king Zayd Abu Zayd, in which he commits to give the lands to James I of Aragón and to convert to Christianity. On the other hand, in the cathedral of Valencia there is the will of Fernando, the Christian son of Abu Zayd, in which he leaves the castle of Vialeba and Torralba to his heirs.

However, despite the Christianisation of its lords, Torralba del Pinar kept its Moorish population until their expulsion (1609). Two years after, the town, now belonging to the barony of Ayódar, was repopulated with Christians.

Others consider its foundation to have taken place in the XVI century, when it belonged to the barony of Milá d’Aragón.

It is a fortified town with a circular floor which had a solid rampart and a major central tower. The foundation of the town, according to its toponymy, was before the time of the Moors, but their long stay there left their traces in the old town. It can still be appreciated its wall-surrounded part: architectural traces from the medieval era (IX, XIII), confused in the existent hamlet except by some visible loopholes. According to the tradition of the town, the tower was dismantled and its blocks of stone were used in the construction of the new church in the late XVII. It is also necessary to mention the castle, of Arabic origin and probably built between the X and XII centuries, in which diverse remains of the wall incorporated in the rocky walls surrounding the hill over which it was built can be appreciated.

Torrechiva

Situated in the Alto Mijares region, on the left river bank, it can be accessed by the CV-20, the road which connects all the towns on the valley of the Mijares river. Of Arabic origin, a little urban population centre grew under the protection of a defensive tower at the shore of the river. It formed part of the Dukedom of Villahermosa, and by means of its urban trail we can walk through the typical Arabic streets of the town and discover the traditional architecture of the towns of Castellón.

Vallat

Located in the Alto Mijares region, it can be accessed by the CV-194 from Fanzara, after taking a diversion on the CV-20. The Muslims built this little town, which belonged to the Dukedom of Villahermosa, next to the Mijares river. After the expulsion of the Moors (1609), the town went into decline, but this ended few years later.

In its old town, we can find the typical architecture of the region, with interesting alleys in which the Casa Abadía and the parish church should be highlighted.

Villahermosa del Río

Villahermosa del Río sits on a hill, at 730m above sea level, immersed in an area full of wild mountains between the valleys of the Carbo and Villahermosa rivers. It was under the dominin of Zayd Abu Zayd, who gave the Town Charter in 1234 to a group of Christians. It later belonged to the estate of Arenós, and John II of Aragón made it the head of the Dukedom of Villahermosa after many rebellions by Juan de Villahermosa and its descendants throughout the XV century. In the War of the Spanish Succession (1707) the castle, as well as the town, were destroyed. During the Carlist Wars (XIX c.), it was the head quarter of the Carlists and housed what was likely to have been the first printing press of Castellón.

It is placed at the foothill of the northeast part of the Penyagolosa peak (it’s the town which is closer to it). It is the starting point of numerous paths and roads, which use the breaches in order to get into the mountains, creating a perfect network which facilitates access to the diverse country houses and to all the wonderful corners of the area.

Villanueva de Viver

Villanueva de Viver is a town of the Alto Mijares region that resides in the northern part on the border of the Teruel province (Aragón). You can access it from the A-23 road, linking to the CV-207; or by the CV-20, once you pass Montanejos, linking with the CV-207.

Fuente la Reina and Caudiel are its bordering towns in the province of Castellón, and San Agustín in the province of Teruel. At present, it has 60 people registered in the town. At the beginning of the XX century, it was named “Villanueva de la Reina” because it is told by the tradition that it belonged to a Moorish queen. It pertained to the bishopric of Segorbe since its foundation, as can be seen in the maps of the Observaciones de Cavanilles at the end of the XVIII century.

There are vestiges of an Iber village in one of the hillsides which separate the ravine that passes near the town. We can find religious monuments such as the parish church, dedicated to San Francisco de Asís (Francis of Assisi), and the hermitage of San Martín. The main civil monument is the city hall, of a great architectural value. Other interesting places are the spring of San Roque and the ravine of the Maimona.

The town festivities are celebrated in honour of San Martín and Santa Bárbara from August 20th to 25th. There are many acts during these days, such as the fair of honey and agricultural products, release of heifers and Toro embolado (a bull with fireballs in its horns), the “encierro” for children and bands and DJ shows.

There are three rural houses (hotels) associated to the Cooperativa Turismo Rural Sierra Espina (Cooperative of rural tourism of the Sierra Espina). Casa Leonor is a restored old farm house, and Casa Plaza is formed by two apartments located in the town hall square.

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