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Hermitages and churches

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La Vall de Gallinera

Església de l'Assumpció d'Alpatró

The 18th century is of great importance since most churches were built at the beginning of this century, when the crisis derived from the expulsion of the Moorish population and the adaptation period of the new settlers were a thing of the past. During the 20th century, two new parishes were created in La Vall de Gallinera: the parish of Benialí in 1961 and the parish of La Carroja in 1972.

During the Spanish Civil War, a large amount of artwork, images and altarpieces were lost. The bells also disappeared, probably melted down to make ammunition. The current ones are of recent origin.

The most common typology of churches in La Vall de Gallinera is that of a rectangular single-nave layout, with side chapels between buttresses, usually covered with a barrel vault or a ribbed vault (Benirrama, La Carroja, Alpatró and Benissili, the latter one being very small). In some cases, slightly more complex designs were created, such as that of Benissivà, which is marked by a Latin cross floor plan with two domes; or unique ornamental features appear, such as the Neo-Gothic elements of Benialí.

Alpatró’s Església de L'Assumpció, La Vall de Gallinera

The church is dedicated to La Mare de Déu de L'Assumpció, although the patron saint is Sant Marc, and it is the largest temple in La Vall de Gallinera.

Inside, the Baroque style main altar stands out. A side chapel preserves burnt fragments of the old image of Christ that had disappeared during the Civil War. Just to the left of the entrance door, where the baptismal font is located, there is an 18th-century altarpiece that was restored a few years ago, regaining its original beauty.

The most prominent feature of this temple is the bell tower, built in 1825, with a square floor plan and three sections. It is located on one side of the parish church. The first body has simple shapes and the walls are smooth except for the corners, which are built with ashlars. Above this, there is an entablature that shows alternating triglyphs with flowers and a cornice that separates the first and second sections. The second body has four windows with a semi-circular arch (one on each side), which are framed by Tuscan pilasters on the outside; the pilasters are located on a base, with the outer ones occupying the edge. Again, an entablature and cornice, like those of the previous body, separate the second and third sections. The third body has two levels: the first has windows with a semi-circular arch framed by mouldings from the height of the impost. It also has diagonal arches, with windows similar to these, and Tuscan pilasters. The pinnacle is circular in shape and has windows similar to the ones described above. It is topped by a tiled roof with a cross and central finial.

There is a set of four bells. The ones dedicated to L'Assumpció (the large one) and Sant Marc (the third one) were made by the workshops of Manuel Roses Vidal in 1940. The one dedicated to Christ (medium-sized) and La Immaculada and Santa Anna (small one) were cast in the foundries of Manclús in 1991. Of these, the two from 1940 have chains and ropes that allow for them to be rung from the base of the tower. The one dedicated to Sant Marc is broken because it has a fragment of the lip missing and also has a crack. All of them have tied clappers, except for the one dedicated to Christ, which is not rung. On the other hand, in the choir of the parish church, parts of the old wooden trusses are kept, as well as their ironwork. (1)

(1) Torro i Abad, J. (1986) Església i moriscos a la Vall de Gallinera (1578-1583). Aspectes econòmics de l'enfrontament. 1er congrés d'estudis de la Marina Alta.

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