Environmental, Historical and Landscape Interpretation.
- ENDEMISMS + CALA BLANCA
The Segway tour starts from the Cala Blanca car park. The scenic value of this coastal area is proportional to its botanical value. Among the rough stone rocks, we find the world’s only population of Limonium rigualii, exclusive to the Xabiera coast. The genus Limonium is cultivated for gardening and decoration, and you are sure to have seen this dry-looking flower that lasts for many years in perfect condition. DETAIL OF A BOUQUET AT THE END OF THE VISIT.
The Cala Blanca is the only cove in the area that is formed by white marl with intercalations of sandstone and limestone 13 million years old, corresponding to the middle of the Miocene. In the picture you can see the aspect of the marls in Cala Blanca where they are very well exposed. There are actually three small rocky coves, but they are known in the singular.
The main feature between the coves is the rock that separates them but at the same time unites them and is where access is given on foot. The hole in the rock is one of the many attractions of this corner. There are even two tunnels dug to connect the three coves.
Although the “algae” accumulate here, the bathers are aware and understand that “Posidonia maritima” is the endemic aquatic plant of the Mediterranean and is responsible for the crystalline colour of our waters; it also helps to maintain the coastline during storms.
The rocky silhouette that juts out into the sea is “Cap Prim”. A part of the cape has been successfully excavated, where a grain of “Triticum monococcum”, the oldest wheat in the world, was found, proving the existence of a settlement as far back as the Bronze Age, 4,000 years ago.
As a curiosity: Did you know that Matías Prats spends his summers here? It is not difficult to find him enjoying the sunset on the promenade.
Recommendation: for snorkelling you should wear booties or trainers, as the coastline is very rocky and with waves it can be dangerous. This cove has no lifeguard or lifeguard service.
- SECOND MUNTANYAR
The Second Muntanyar has been modified by mankind for thousands of years. The Romans took advantage of the channelling of the sea water to extract salt and use it in their daily life. This 1.7 km long beach is also known as the “Séquia de Noria” and has a fairly low occupancy rate during the summer season, despite being semi-urban due to the proximity of the housing estates.
Along the coast from Dénia to Xàbia there are deposits known as “piedra tosca”, which corresponds to the marés of the Balearic Islands. They are sandstones that correspond to beach deposits and old fossilised dunes, formed by very bioturbated calcarenites, that is to say, with numerous perforations of organisms that used to live on the beach (like sand worms that left tunnels in their path).
From the viewpoint of “La Séquia de la Nória” we can see the channel excavated over the “toscar” that facilitated the entry of seawater to the salt pans that no longer exist today but still give their name to the area behind it: El Salinar.
This exploitation, linked to the fishing factory in Roman times, was modified in the late Middle Ages, when the waterwheel was added, a mechanism with a large vertical wooden wheel that supplied the flow of seawater necessary to obtain the optimum level without having to wait for the tides.
The Cabo de San Antonio lighthouse can be seen opposite.
- PUNTA DEL ARENAL VIEWPOINT
From here we can see Punta del Arenal, a place that takes us back to the second half of the 1st century B.C., when an extraordinary commercial settlement developed in the north of the current Arenal beach, now known as “caleta del ministre”, of which a large excavated raft has been preserved, known as the “Baños de la Reina” (the same as in El Campello and Calp) although some people know them as the Baños de la Reina Mora, and in reality they are much older, from the Roman period, but we have the bad habit of assigning to this last culture that inhabited the area the authorship of all the archaeological remains that surround us.
From here we can see the promenade dedicated to David Ferrer, the renowned tennis player from Xàbia, where there are plenty of bars/restaurants and entertainment venues.
The views of the Montgó are also special and worthy of mention. I’m sure you’ve seen the stone giant from a different perspective. Seen from the side it looks like an elephant but seen from the front from here, it shrinks and looks like a huge rock. According to legend, the inhabitants of Xàbia are known as “desculats” (assless) because the sailors, fed up with seeing the silhouette smaller than their neighbours, got together and tied a big rope to tie up the massif and turn it upside down. All the neighbours from land and sea began to pull with all their might, until the rope broke and they all fell to the ground on their asses, leaving them all unhinged.
From here we can see the Parador Nacional de Turismo, the next stop will be from there, where the well-known Cala del Ministre is located.
- FIRST MUNTANYAR
Like the Segon Muntanyar, this area is known for being the quarry of rough stone. We can still see the cuts that the master stonemasons made to carve the pieces that would later be used in construction, either for churches (such as the Church of San Bartolomé in the centre of Xàbia!) or for stately homes. In the church in the centre of the village you can see different marks or signatures corresponding to the companies or work crews.
In the Ministre Cove we find centuries of history:
The production of salted fish and fish sauces may have been the main economic activity of the fishing factory discovered in Punta del Arenal. The importance of the salting activity carried out by the Romans has become clear with the discovery of deposits excavated in the rock and connected to the sea where fish entrails were deposited together with abundant salt to obtain the precious ‘garum’ which, packed in jars, was distributed throughout the empire.
But… who was the minister after whom the cove is named?
The cove owes its name to the Minister of Finance of the Franco era (between 1957 and 1965) Marinano Navarro Rubio.
It is said that in the basement of the Finca San Rafael (which is the name of the house in question) there are Roman cisterns that were emptied and covered with a roof, thus becoming a private museum within the family estate that very few have visited.
Access to the cove was blocked by the installation of a fence that Costas forced to remove. The last strong storm, Gloria, wreaked havoc on the construction. As far as we know, the family continues to spend the summer.
We continue towards the port, now along the cycle lane on Avda del Mediterraneo. Since last year this promenade has become one-way and vehicles are not allowed to park on the beach itself, which favours bathers and the beach bars that set up their terraces during the summer season.
To access the Port, we have to cross the River Gorgos over the new Triana Bridge.
The first viaduct, with a beautiful stone structure and a coat of arms of the town, was inaugurated in 1861. The creation of the bridge was of great use in the 19th century. It made it possible to carry rough stone from the Muntanyar quarry to the other side of the river.
– Years later, the floods of 1931 and 1932 severely damaged the original bridge, which was demolished in 1949, after the construction of an alternative bridge in 1936. The second bridge lasted only a few years: until the great flood of 1957.
The bridge was erected for the third time in 1963 with a concrete base, but the floods, storms and constant waves caused irreparable damage, so in 2020 a controlled demolition was carried out to install the new bridge. Will this fourth bridge be the definitive one?
- LA GRAVA BEACH
We stop before the Gravel Beach in front of the Cable House, an important building. It was built in 1860 to house the telegraph station that linked the mainland with Ibiza by means of a submarine cable!
In the mid-19th century, the urban landscape of the Aduanas neighbourhood was defined by the sultana warehouses and the humble fishermen’s houses that had been built. It was at that time that the establishment and development of the telegraph network began in the country with the first installations of submarine cables.
Xàbia’s proximity to Ibiza and the suitability of its bay made it advisable to install the station where the submarine telegraph cable would reach. Construction of the Casa del Cable (Cable House) began.
The cable between Xàbia-Sant Josep de Sa Talaia (Ibiza) broke down quite frequently until it stopped working for good in the 1950s. Nowadays, after refurbishment, its rooms are used for exhibitions and conferences with incredible views!
Finally, we will observe the life in the port: from the yacht club to the fish market, the bars and restaurants… there is even a cinema in the port, which can be considered a small town within Xàbia. The colours of the sea are incredible, the great Valencian painter Joaquim Sorolla spent a summer in the houses behind the port. He fell in love with the colours of Jávea and told his beloved wife Clotilde, with whom he would return years later to his beloved Jávea:
“Jávea is sublime, immense, the best thing I know for painting. It surpasses everything. I will stay a few days. You were here for two months – Joaquín”.