REST OF THE OLD BATHS

Close to Fuente de Los Baños, on the right bank of the river, you can see the remains of what were the old Arab baths.
Two structures differ, on the one hand there is a semicircular limestone, divided into three sections and attached to another square construction with two openings on one of its walls. It is believed that this construction was later by the difference in constructive bill and probably it was a watermill. Also, on the other hand, you can see an extensive network of small canals that carry water.

Both for accessing the remains as to access the Natural Park of the Fuente de Los Baños, you can take a walk along the walkway that runs along the bed of the Mijares River. The trailhead is located close to the Spa building.

Historical context

The Kingdom of Valencia, throughout history, has been the passage of several civilizations and all of them have left their mark on the territory. In this case, we talk about the influence of Islam on the culture. As the story goes, between the XII-XIV Centuries, the lands of Alto Mijares depended on the emir Abu Zayd until the arrival of King James I.

The emir made a pact with the conqueror, became a Christian and gave him vassalage. He also gifted him with the castles of Morella, Ares, Culla, Peñíscola, Segorbe and Jérica in exchange for help with the infighting.

Later these lands will be handed to Pedro Ximenez of Valterra, as compensation for his role in the crushing of the Muslim uprising against Abu-Zayd, in the regions of Mijares-Palancia. The historian and chronicler, Francisco Diago cites in his book “Anales del reino de valencia” (f.362): “ y a la poftre entro en poder de la familia de Valtierra que baxa a efte Reyno, de don Pedro Ximenez de Valtierra que vino a fu conquista y recibió de mano del Rey los castillos de Cafelmontán y Montanejos”. 

 Resto de los bañosBaths Structure

The basic structure of these baths was similar to the Roman Baths:

  1. APODYTERIUM, in this case Bayt al-maslaj (healthy place) was a room that served as the entrance, had a normal temperature and its function was twofold, firstly at the entrance to the room served as a wardrobe and secondly at the exit it served as resting, talk and relaxing.
  2. FRIGIDARIUM or Bayt al -BARID was a cold room, consisting in thick walls by the need to maintain the temperature and steam. Normally it used to be narrower than the other rooms and had a tripartite floor with arches and columns.
  3. TEPIDARIUM or Bayt al WASTAMI was a warm room, with simple floor, usually consisting in one room; it used to be big because it was where the swimmers spent more time.
  4. CALDARIUM or Bayt al-sajun, was a hot area where hot baths were taken. The room was not very big because the average stay in this room was short due to the high temperature.
  5. HEATING system consisted of a boiler that was placed on the furnace; made of firebricks that radiated heat to the caldarium, which was located close to this room. Through an arch and a vaulted passageway, the oven located beneath the floor communicated with the hypocausts, which was a meter high room with pilasters and arches where the air could circulate. Another basic and important element was the water so this type of construction used to be located near wells, springs, fountains, cisterns or through pipes to be heated and taken to different rooms, the water drainage was made using a sump.

THE CHURCH

The parish church of Montanejos is dedicated to St. James, who is the Patron of the town, and was built in the late eighteenth century (1782 -1798) on a previous temple of the XVI Century.

In its cruise dome, supported by four spandrels, it appears the representation of the four Evangelists writing: San Marcos (with his symbolic animal, the lion), San Lucas (who is depicted as a painter of the Virgin) San Juan (with his symbolic animal, the eagle) and, finally, San Mateo (with the angel that inspires him). All these paintings are made with frescoes by Luis Antonio Planes on late eighteenth century. It follows the style that marks the Academy of Fine Arts also called academicism, characterized by classicism, moderation, balance and norm.

The bell tower is provided with three bells, two ancient dating from 1869, one of them is called Maria del Rosario (note SI) and other St. James the Apostle (note RE) and a third in 1914 called Jesus, Mary, Joseph (note MI).

THE HERMITAGE

The hermitage of Virgin of the Helpless is located in the neighbourhood of La Alquería and dates back to the seventeenth century. In the eighteenth century it underwent a renovation that brought the current image, emphasizing its bell tower and its porch.

Its structure is of a single nave, with small side chapels attached to the walls. The Virgin of the Helpless chairs the altar of the presbytery and, on both sides, San Jose and the Immaculate Conception.

Noteworthy is the beauty of the tiles bell tower, dating from the second half of the seventeenth century and early eighteenth century. They are square tiles, with its entire drawing into four parts. It represents a quartered rosette, curved leaves, fruits and caning at an angle.

THE CASTLE

The Castle of Montanejos is located in a strategic position on the top of a hill on the left bank of Montán river and from which you can dominate part of this, the river Mijares, all the plain that is passing through Montanejos, the roads leading down from the area of Cortes de Arenoso and Zucaina and current populations of Montán and Alquería.

This type of defensive architecture played an important social, political and cultural role during the Muslim domination and struggles between the Taifa kingdoms. After the various wars of the time, the castle lost its function, and gradually, was abandoned and deteriorated. This process of ruin was reinforced on many occasions by the reuse of the fortress materials to build terracing, homes and animal pens.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL REMAINS

The remains that can be currently seen are three distinct structures: two towers and a water tank, as well as some sections of wall.

The North Tower is rectangular and has factory with plenty of irregular rubblework mortar. The South Tower is also rectangular and its south wall has a socle of large stone blocks coarsely squared, and finished off by a section of irregular rubblework. The water tank is rectangular with a vaulted roof, made of stones put together with mortar, on top of which the compluvium centre is located.

Descárgate el mapa del Sendero del Castillo y su ficha técnica

THE BRIDGE OF SAN JOSÉ

This bridge of San Jose was built in 1803 above the Montán River, it has structure of three arches and is made of stone. By its interior circulates a small canal that carries irrigation water to La Alqueria, hence its naming of Aqueduct Bridge.

In the middle of the construction two niches rise, on both sides, which have two separate ceramic panels that are representing the Virgin of the Helpless and Saint Joseph. In the restoration of 2008, it was found that the image of the Virgin is a fake that was put in a date after the time of its construction. This confirms the origin of the popular name of the bridge.

THE MILL

On the banks of Mijares you can still see the ruins of the old flour mill of the nineteenth century. Currently, there are taking place different works for restoration, preserving intact the external structure of the building.

The mill was not an isolated element; it was annexed to a pipeline network that allowed the correct distribution of river water throughout the year. Traditional mills used the tolling system, consisting of a payment in kind; the owner of the mill was left with a percentage of the flour obtained in the milling.

From the nineteenth century, appeared new factory mills, incorporating technological innovations and they offered a better product. In the twentieth century the first flour mills were installed, monopolizing all the grain market, so the traditional mills had to close their doors.

THE ARAB TOWER

Of Islamic origin, it is in the middle of the town, opposite the church, integrated into the facade of the old Palace of the Counts of Vallterra. It is a monument stated in the records of Cultural Interest by the Valencian heritage.

It is circular in plan and with cylindrical elevation; it was built with boulders of different sizes from the river. It is currently attached to the old Palace of the Counts of Vallterra. Only the outer master walls remain, since the interiors were demolished.

This type of fortifications also called ATALAYAS were not isolated buildings, but part of an effective network of buildings whose purpose was to control a certain extent of territory. At the head of these networks stood a major castle, called HINS by Muslims that was always built at a point of high altitude and with complex terrain.

 

Dependents of these bastions were other secondary fortifications capable of hosting small garrisons, and among them, in the most strategic points, the watchtowers were placed, SAJRA, which constituted the final element of the whole defensive network.