History

La ruta del Santo Grial en Castellón y Valencia
2 June, 2017 / ,

La Ruta del Grial recorre las tierras de Aragón y de la Comunidad Valenciana, emulando la antigua ruta que debió de seguir la reliquia desde San Juan de la Peña hasta llegar a la ciudad de Valencia. E invita al visitante a desplazarse a diferentes puntos de la geografía valenciana relacionadas con el Santo Grial.

La ruta entra en la Comunidad Valenciana por el municipio de Barracas, situado a unos 1.000 metros de altitud en un altiplano montañoso. Le sigue la población histórica de Jérica, rodeada por un impresionante paisaje mediterráneo de montaña. Continuando por el río Palancia se llega a Segorbe, ciudad que cuenta con un monumental patrimonio civil y religioso.

En dirección a Valencia, la localidad de Serra ofrece al visitante productos de artesanía: dulces y embutido tradicional. Y en El Puig de Santa María se encuentra el Real Monasterio, declarado Monumento Histórico-Artístico Nacional en 1969. Por último, cabe destacar la huerta valenciana que acompaña al visitante por los municipios de L´Horta Nord, entre ellos Massamagrell y Alboraya, hasta llegar a la ciudad de Valencia.

La Asociación Cultural “El Camino del Santo Grial” (www.elcaminodelsantogrial.com) colabora en la vertebración de la ruta y ofrece siempre magníficas atenciones a los visitantes.

Texto de: Ana Mafé, doctoranda sobre el Santo Cáliz.

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Holy Chalice’s description
1 June, 2017 / ,

In the late 1950s, the Archbishop of Valencia’s Cathedral commissioned Antonio Beltrán, Professor of Archeology at the University of Zaragoza, to doresearch work on the Holy Chalice. His main conclusions are recognized in a publication which can be acquired at the Cathedral’s Museum.

In the report, it is noted that the chalice is composed of three parts:

  1. A vessel of semi-precious agate stone on top, dating from the fourth century BC. and I D.C.
  2. A central part carved in gold, made in medieval times.
  3. And a base, at the bottom, realized around the 10th century by an oriental workshop, also set in gold and precious stones.

The goblet that, according to tradition, was blessed by Jesus, corresponds only to the upper part; a fine cup of agate stone about 3mm thick. Therest are parts that were subsequently added.

Text by: Ana Mafé, Holy Grail Phd student.

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The Holy Grail Route in Castellón and Valencia

Is the Holy Grail in the Cathedral of Valencia?
1 June, 2017 / ,

Route

According to oral tradition, the most important historical relic of Christianity is in the Cathedral of Valencia. It is the Holy Chalice blessed at the Last Supper. The sacred vessel that, in the order of chivalry’s collective imaginationfrom medieval literature, would give origin to ‘The search of the Holy Grail’

There are numerous documents that have been giving clues that the Chalice of Benediction, which Jesus used at his Eastersupper, is guarded somewhere. Not only do we refer to the literature about the search for the Holy Grail, but to the thousands of artistic images that have represented it throughout all Christendom.

So why do we say that the sacred goblet that is in the city of Valencia, in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santa Maria, is the Holy Chalice?

Towards the 33rd year of the Christian era, one Easter night, Jesus celebrated an ancient rite in Jerusalem. The disciples who accompanied him claimed that something extraordinary had happened in that celebration.The cup of benediction contained more than wine.

The death of Jesus, a few days later, created a moment of confusion for all. However, the direct example of his words: “Do this in remembrance of me”, became the necessity to repeat the ritual of the Last Supper. It meant following his mandate.

According to oral tradition, this same cup remained in Jerusalem until Jesus’ Roman disciple, Simon Peter, took it to Rome; capital city of the Roman Empire in which he began to preach the teachings of his master and to celebrate the Easter rite in the houses of patricians and Romans. Later, the sacred vessel would pass from Pope to Pope, just as they also passed prayers and blessingsto each other.

The Roman emperors would soon look upon this new religion with suspicion. In AD 258, Valerian, an emperor declared bankrupt,ordered the persecution of Christians to death and tried to appropriate all their wealth.

Pope Sixtus II, before being arrested and martyred, asked his deacon San Lorenzo (Saint Lawrence) to distribute all that he had in his possession to Rome’s poor. San Lorenzo, of Hispanic origin, did so. He divided everything, but took pains to guard the Holy Chalice.

The sacred vessel, together with a letter where he explained everything about it, was given to a small entourage that left for Huesca, its native city in Hispania. There it remained in custody until, in the year 712, the Saracen conquest led the bishop of Huesca to seek shelter in the Pyrenees.

After stayingsafeguarded in various places in the area, finally, between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries, the Holy Chalice remained protected in the Benedictine monastery of San Juan de la Peña, located near the city of Jaca, in the Kingdom of Aragon. A neuralgic point on the Jacobean Route, where the most important European kings and nobles passed through on their way to Santiago de Compostela.

In that epoch, Christian kings fought for sacred relics in Jerusalem. And it was then, when the sacred vessel guarded in thePyrenees fortress monastery became the much sought after Holy Grail of theorder of chivalry’s collective imaginationfrom medieval literature.Beingthat there were countless noble and Christian monarchs who wanted to obtain this piece for their royal collections.

But the Holy Chalice would not pass into royal hands until 1399. After multiple requests to the prior of the monastery, the king of Aragon Martin the Human took over the sacred vessel through a swap, attesting to it a notarial document. He offered the monks a magnificent golden chalice and, in return, took the cup of benediction to Zaragoza, where it would remain, forming part of the Royal Treasury, until, in 1432, King Alfonso the Magnanimous moved his court to the city of Valencia and ended up requesting monetary aid to the council of canons from the Cathedral, to be able to cope with his contentions.

Before a notary, the monarch’s brother left in pledge all his Royal Treasury and, as the king never returned the loan, since then the Holy Chalice remains in the custody of the city of Valencia’s Cathedral.

At present, the Holy Chalice is displayed in the chapel that bears its name, on a shrine in the form of a heart, made of gold, which enhances its beauty even further.

It is a unique opportunity to see this treasure that, in medieval literature, the knights of King Arthur’s court sought with passion and heroism. A unique opportunity to contemplate the Holy Chalice of Jesus’ Last Supper in person, during the month of the year in which Valencia celebrates the Corpus Christi festivity.

Text by: Ana Mafé, Holy Grail Phd student.

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Six centuries producing silk in Valencia
3 May, 2017 /

The Silk Road

The silk industry consolidated in Valencia during the 15th century, since then the city’s craftsmen and its fabrics are a world reference

The Silk Road began from the East to the West in the second century BC, but it would not be until the VI century when the Byzantine Emperor Justinian would consolidate his own silk industry in Constantinople, after two monks delivered him, hidden in their sticks, butterfly eggs and mulberry leaves, thus revealing the much-guarded secrecy of silk production.

Much later, at the end of the first millennium, Al-Andalus would become the first region of the European continent where silk worm breeding would be massive. At that time, it was known that there already were silk craftsmen with private workshops in Valencia.

More than 600 years dedicated to silk

The expansion of mulberry cultivation in the XIV century, after the fall of the cereals’ prices and the increase of the demand for silk, transformed the agricultural landscape of the old Kingdom of Valencia, created after the Christian conquest.

But it was the arrival of hundreds of Genoese silk dealers to Valencia what introduced the art of weaving “velluto” or silk velvet, the one that would lead the silk industry to reach a long period of splendor.

A map of Valencia from the XV century, exhibited in the “Museo del Colegio del Arte Mayor de la Seda” (Museum of the College of the Greater Art of the Silk), shows two neighbourhoods directly dedicated to the production of “vellut” (silk velvet, in Valencian) and silk in general. At the end of the 1400, there were more than 2,000 “velluters” artisans in the city.

The strength of this industry, which led to “La Lonja” being nicknamed “de la Seda”, would be consolidated until the XIX century, thanks to the adaptation, not without difficulties, to the tastes of the French fashion which began to look towards Lyon in the XVII century. The same French town where, a century later, the mechanical engineer Jacquard would create a revolutionary system for weaving, which continues to be in force these days.

Finally, the industrial revolution and other factors such as the pebrine epidemic, which devastated the mulberry plantations in the late XIX century, led Valencia to boost other economic sectors such as citrus. However, silk production in Valencia remains alive. The “Espolín”, woven with silk threads of more than one colour, in contrast to Damascus, is one of the treasures that is still preserved by the Valencians in their regional costumes. Without, therefore, having stopped producing Damascus, more economical but also pretty, nor silk velvet, like the one that makes the only “velluter” that, for now, maintains the tradition in Valencia: Vicente Enguídanos.

 

Discover the Silk Road you can do in Valencia in:  http://www.heyvalencia.com/en/valencia-the-silk-city/

The Borja, a universal Valencian family
2 May, 2017 / ,

The Route of the Borja

The Route of the Borja is a unique experience that traverses the splendor of the most universal Valencian family of Europe in the XV and XVI centuries

The Borja family (The Borgias) has left a deep mark on universal history. Since their Valencian origins, the Borja had a decisive intervention in all spheres of power, both political and religious, and became nobles, princes, patrons, advisors to kings, popes, and saints. A powerful lineage wrapped with ambition, intrigue, legends and mystery.

Calixto, Alejandro, César, Lucrecia, Francisco… A family that contributed to generate a great legend and the universally known as the myth of “Los Borgia”. Its time is the Renaissance, that of great art and the new humanistic culture, it is the era of discoveries. The Borja advanced to modernity, modern was their idea of power and the manner of exercising it. With them Renaissance art and an impressive historical, cultural and artistic heritage came into Valencia, which still lives today in an exciting route of fine arts with more than 600 years of history.

The Route of the Borja

The Route of the Borja is a unique experience that traverses the splendor of the most universal and powerful Valencian family of Europe in the XV and XVI centuries. To traverse its path is to stroll through an exciting show of art, landscape, history and culture.

In the city of Valencia, the route of the Borja reveals its exuberance in San Nicolás church, with sumptuous paintings already known like the Valencian Sistine Chapel. In the Cathedral, the Borja Popes built the majestic chapel of San Pedro and ordered the exquisite Renaissance frescoes of the angel musicians, admired throughout Europe. In the chapel dedicated to San Francisco de Borja you can admire two excellent canvases by Goya. The living trace of the Borja also passes by the family residence, Palace of Corts Valencianes and by the University.

Xàtiva and Canals are the cradle of the Borja. In Canals, the Tower of the Borja, the place where Pope Calixto III was born in 1378 is conserved. Situated just opposite is the Oratory that formed part of the palace complex. In Xàtiva, the birthplace of Rodrigo de Borja is conserved in a beautiful square. The artistic heritage is also exhibited in the Collegiate Church, the churches of San Francisco and San Pedro, where Alexander VI was baptized, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Palau, Santa Clara convent, Santa Ana hermitage and the impregnable castle, an imposing vantage point and testimony of history.

In Gandia, on the Mediterranean Sea shores, the Ducal Palace is an admirable architectural complex and the most distinguished Borgiano monument.The majority of the Borja Dukes and their descendants were born here, among them San Francisco de Borja in 1510. The Salon de Coronas (Crowns Hall) and the Saint’s Oratory stand out while the Gold Gallery hypnotizes the visitor with its beauty. In Gandia the mark of the Borja imposes itself in the Collegiate church, the Santa Clara convent and the University.

This fascinating route also passes through Albaida, where Luis Juan de Milá and Borja’s nephew took up residence and began to raise a fortified palace that rises proudly in the town center. Another highlight is the Sanz palace, located in the village of Vallés. The route combines monuments, heritage, rich gastronomy and beautiful landscapes, such as the surroundings of Castelló de Rugat where the Ducal Palaceremnants are preserved.

Llombai was a barony acquired by Cardinal Rodrigo de Borja for his son Pedro Luis. Here, one can contemplate la Iglesia de la Santa Cruz (the Church of the Holy Cross),integrated in the convent of the Dominicans. Llombai celebrates a historic recreation known as “Mercado de los Borja” (Borja’s Market) which receives hundreds of visitors.

The Borja route also leads us to two monasteries, authentic rural cathedrals of art and seclusion, such as San Jerónimo de Cotalba in Alfauir and Santa Maria de Simat de la Valldigna.

Source/Written by: Agència Valenciana del Turisme.

The last Cathars
30 March, 2017 /

Route

D’ací a 700 anys el llorer florirá!
In 700 years the laurel will blossom!

A t the beginning of the fourteenth century, the Valencian Community hosted the first great European exodus, that of the Cathars or bons homes who, persecuted by the French inquisition because of their Christian orthodox beliefs fled from the South of France, crossing the Pyrenees and more than six hundred kilometers to take refuge in various municipalities of the Valencian Community region.

Now, almost 700 years later, we can relive this great adventure, making an extraordinary journey into our more unknown and exciting medieval past through the lands and legacy of these first refugees, who brought their traditions and culture with them.

The diverse settlements of Els Ports and the Maestrat, like Morella or Sant Mateu and, also the city of Valencia were their main dwellings, contributing greatly to its medieval splendour.

This route links the territories of the French Midi, Catalunya and Aragon with the the Valencian Community and allows us to relive an important episode in our history and the experience of those who had to flee their lands in search of a new life and freedom.

 

“I am the king! And darkness came to Occitania and the light went to Valencia”

Persecuted and harassed, numerous Cathars (“pure” in Greek) fled from the region of Toulouse, Carcasonne and Albi in Occitania, to the new lands conquered a few years earlier by King Jaume I, whose father had died in the battle of Muret for defending the rights of vassalage and its population, largely composed of Cathars.

The Cathars were integrated into the society that welcomed them and they notably influenced the development of key economic sectors for the Valencian Community such as livestock, textiles, Gothic architecture and medieval art, boosting the remarkable commercial and cultural expansion of Valencian regions in the late Middle Ages.

 

Els Ports and the Maestrat, the new country of the Cathars

This route from the French Midi towards the south, utilised the historic Roman roadways, medieval paths and, above all, the cattle transhumance routes that were exploited for their displacements. A visit to various localities of Els Ports and Maestrat, such as Morella or Sant Mateu will allow us to observe the legacy of those Cathars who settled in these lands.

The last Cathar Guillem de Belibaste affirmed that “Morella will be the new Jerusalem” as he discreetly settled in Morella, between the narrow streets of the old Jewish quarter and the Plaça dels Tarascons, still perfectly recognizable today in the urban framework of this town.

 

The last Cathars

In Sant Mateu an important Cathar colony existed that used to meet in the Mauri family home, coming from the small Occitan village of Montaillau. Its memory is latent in places like the walk that surrounds the town wall, dedicated to one of the Cathars who lived there.

Following this route, we can see the same landscapes and monuments and we might also feel the whisper of its singular history.

 

Agència Valenciana del Turisme

“He who does not remember his history, is obliged to repeat it”

Seven hundred years later, the visit to the medieval precincts of cities like Morella, Catí, Sant Mateu or Peñíscola, or to emblematic places in the Valencian city, like the Lonja or the Cathedral, will allow us to discover traces of the cultural historical legacy of those who, persecuted for their beliefs and convictions sought hope for a better future in the lands of the Valencian Community.

Source/Written by: Agència Valenciana del Turisme.