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martes, 14 de noviembre de 2006
Sorry about the missing images. Work in progress.
Architecture Remains
When the village was founded in 1274, Vila-real preserved just a few remains of historic interest from previous times. Among the most importants, the Roman irrigation channels network (3rd Century) that starts near to the Virgen de Gracia Hermitage, which best preserved part is known as "Les Argamases"; and the small waterduct "els Arquets".
 

Main square -Plaa de la Vila-From the foundational period, we still have the old hipodamic "Plaça de la Vila" -Village square-, which forms an arched square with a strong middle-age flavour and where four different arch types can be seen. On the corner of this square to San Jaime street a building can be found that originally was the old "Hostal del Rey" -King's Hotel-, given to the village in the 14th Century by king Pedro el Ceremonioso. There are some remains from the middle-age defence walls, for example the "casa de l'oli" -oil mill house- in which inside the walls structure and characteristics can be seen, and the tower "Torre Motxa" in the southeastern corner (rebuilt around 1424 and recently restored in detail) which is the most important remain from the village defence elements. Attached to this tower, a small grille can be found, part of the water closed evacuation system from the middle-ages. From the 13th Century, build up due to a permission from king Jaime I to Pere Dahera, is the "puente sobre el rio Mijares" -bridge over the Mijares river- in the surroundings of the Santa Quiteria Hermitage.
 

The only remain from the 16th Century is the front wall of the old "iglesia de la Sangre" -church of Christ's Blood-, build on old jewish houses ruins and where the original half-point arch with some images about Jesus' Passion are visible.

Religious Monuments
The monumental "iglesia arciprestal San Jaime" -Saint James vicecathedral church-, dedicated to apostle Saint James, was build from 1752 to 1779. Its shape, following the baroque style and designed by the carmelitan monk Jose Alberto Pina, was finished with neoclasic ornaments. It has three wide naves, with the typical crossing and abside, all at the same height. The side chapels, between the supporting walls, are covered by aristed vaults. The naves' ceilings are canyon-shape vaults. In the crossing of the main axis there is a vault build on a drum wall. The bellfry is an octogonal tower in a corner of the main front wall, and was risen in 1682, when the old middle-ages church was build.

The painter Jose Vergara did the ornaments on the vaults at the end of 18th century, using as lei-motiv Santiago martyrdom. This painter also made the fresh paints on the Communion chapel. The "Vía Crucis" was painted by Bernardo Mundina Milallave. On the side naves there are paints from Vicente Castell, representing the Bautism and Resurrection of Christ, the Eucharist Consacration and the local Corpus Christi procession at the end of last century. The altars, decorated in the 19th, have sculptures by Amoros (St.James), Ortells (Veronique, the Saint Sepulcre), Ponsoda (Mother of the Rosary), Pedro Gil (St.Lorenzo, La Divina Aurora), Llorens Poy (Virgen de Gracia) and others.

The church has an important Museum in which, among other valuable liturgic pieces, we can find:

  • a gothic altarpiece showing the Salvation , good example of the so-called "paste" style, signed by the italian studio of Paolo di Santi Leocadio.
  • six panels by the same author pertaining to the big altarpiece from the old middle-ages church main altar. These show scenes from the live and miracles of apostle Santiago (predication, judgement, martyrdom,batle of Clavijo, etc.)
  • panel by Juan de Juanes (around 1570) with an image of Saint Vicente Ferrer in the miracle of the three ships.
  • gothic keeper by Francisco Cetina (dated 1480), built on goldfilled silver.
  • silver glass with symbols about the Passion and relicary "Lignum Crucis" on goldfilled silver, made by valencian silverworkers.
  • cup on silver-punched style from mid 16th on goldfilled silver.
The "capilla del Cristo del Hospital" -Christ of the Hospital chapel-, last remain from the old sanitary building, conceded by the foundational king to the village, has an interesting baroque decoration. Built in the first quarter of 18th century, it is composed by a single nave with a canyon-shape vault. The priestry is ornamented with golden carving angels, garlands and medals, keeping a copy of the old crucifix, with a strong sentimental value. The building is today a nuns monastery from the Dominique religious order, who preserve an important painting collection in their cloister areas.

In the "convento del Carmen" -Virgin Mary of Carmen convent-, now home of a Franciscan monks community, a beautiful cloister from the manierist style -mid 17ths- can be visited. The church, raised up on the old Saint Barbara and Saint Blas chapels, is build as a single nave with an elevated chorus place. It retains decorations in its small vault dated first half 18ths and some interesting altarpieces in the side chapels. The Communion chapel, located at the rear of the main altar, has a peculiar oval shape, completely covered by a bid vault.

Other monuments.
Monument to guitar artist Francisco TarregaSeveral squares around the city are adorned with sculptures. Jose Ortells did some of them , as the one dedicated to Jose Polo de Bernabe (landowner and citricultor) in the Saint Pascual square, the one "to the Vila-real'ers died in all wars" in the Ortells square, the one to the guitar composer and player Francisco Tarrega in the Bayarri square, as well as a medalion in the front wall of the Farmers Savings Bank in the main square and the sculpture finish on the Valencia Savings Bank building in the Main street.Monument to the Vila-Real's farmers -al Labrador-Vicente LLorens Poy has authored the monuments to King Jaime I in the Main square, and the one dedicated to the Vila-Real's farmers -"al Labrador"-, sited in the Labrador square. The Townhall building keeps several pieces of artistic interest, as a big wall painting from Catalan that reflects all our local symbology, or the middle-ages panel, assigned to Maestro de los Perea, showing the images of Saint Agueda and Saint Lucia, originally located in the old chapel of the Hospital. This can be visited in the Townhall Meeting Room. The city also owns an important painting collection composed by works from Vicente Castell, Fernando Bosch Tortajada, José Ortells, Sarthou Carreres, José Gumbau, Gimeno Barón, and other local artists.

Pea Espaa - Caja de ValenciaThe "ermita de la Virgen de Gracia" -Virgin Mary of Grace Hermitage- is a very representative building for the mediterranean popular architecture. It has an important sample of Middle-Ages, Renacentist and Baroque ceramics within its ethnological Museum that includes an archaeology section. Also interesting is the small oratorium that keeps an image of our Patron Virgin Mary of Grace, with a full baroque decoration.

The economical expansion of the city at the beginning of this century allowed several private initiatives with regard to architecture. Therefore, we can now appreciate some samples of the eclectic or rationalist style in private houses along the Main street, or in some other buildings as the Valencia Savings Bank and the Peña España pub, also in the Main street, or the old "Real Cinema" teather. Also peculiar are several orange stores around the Railway station built at the beginning of the 20ths. 

 
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