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Hermitages and churches

The stones here speak, because they are a part
of our past and a part of our present.

La Vall de Gallinera

Església de Sant Francesc de Borja. La Carroja

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.

The Church of Sant Francesc de Borja in La Carroja, La Vall de Gallinera
The Church of Sant Francesc de Borja in La Carroja had been annexed to Alpatró since its creation as a parish in 1535, until 1972 when it became an independent parish. Inside, it is a small but welcoming building.

The bell tower is located at the foot of the parish temple. It has a square floor plan (except for the third level) and consists of three sections. The first section is elongated and on one side it has a decorative element that simulates stone blocks. The other side has two windows that illuminate the interior staircase of the bell tower, which runs along the inner perimeter until reaching the bell chamber. The first and second sections are separated by a prominent cornice. The second section has four windows with semi-circular arches, which are externally framed by Tuscan pilasters grouped in pairs, with the outer ones occupying the edges. Above the pilasters, there is an entablature that breaks in the centre, where a semi-circular arch is found. The third section is circular in shape and has four windows with semi-circular arches. The tower is topped with a tiled roof and has a pinnacle in the centre.

The bells are mass-produced pieces, a relatively common procedure in the Manclús foundry. This means that they were cast prior to acquisition. They have generic elements (a cross, the manufacturer's mark and a Sacred Heart), while the inscriptions are incised and were added after they were cast, engraved on the surface of the bronze. The smaller bell is dedicated to La Immaculada and the larger one to Sant Francesc de Borja. Both were cast in 1953. (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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