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Hermitages and churches

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Ermita del Pòpul

The hermitage known as Ermita del Pòpul is located next to the road called Carretera de Jesús Pobre in direction to Xàbia, approximately halfway. The valley where this hermitage is located is called La vall de Sant Bartomeu, and this was the original name of the temple. At an unknown date, probably gradually, it was replaced by the dedication to La Mare de Déu and thus, in the 18th century, it became known as the hermitage of La Mare de Déu del Pòpul, assimilated to La Mare de Déu de Loreto, the image of the latter presiding over the chapel.

The exact date of its construction is unknown, although it should be included in the group of hermitages known as Ermites de Conquesta, and it is thought to date back to the 14th or 15th centuries as one of the oldest buildings in the town. It has undergone many modifications throughout history, especially in the 18th century, when it was extensively renovated and various elements were added. It suffered serious damage during the Civil War and was abandoned until 1972.

It is a building with whitewashed masonry walls and a very low gabled roof. It extends its right eaves to also cover the attached hermit's dwelling, which has latticed windows and a well next to it. The asymmetrical façade opens onto a kind of terrace that precedes a small, tree-lined square. The elegant Renaissance-style doorway stands out under the front oculus, formed by fluted pilasters with straight entablature adorned in the corners with hemispheres.

Inside, a large pointed arch divides the nave, which is covered with a gabled roof supported by a framework of wooden beams. The altar is raised on steps and, to the left, a semicircular arch gives way to the choir room. In the front, the neo-Gothic altarpiece displays representations of Devoció Mariana, Sant Sebastià and Sant Bartomeu. On a stone corbel there is an image of La Mare de Déu de Loreto as well as other objects of worship and various imagery which complete the decoration, including paintings by the artist Joan Baptista Soler Blasco (1920-1984), born in Gandia but closely linked to the city of Xàtiva.

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