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The present location of Villena, has its origin in the Castillo of the Watchtower, around which the Arab town was developed. This one extended around the present church of Santa Maria, old mosque purified by the Christians after Christian Conquista. In certain way, this missing mosque had to constitute the civic center of the Arab population.
The Arab suburb lacked walls, because according to texts, the city was sent to surround once dominated by the Christians, already in half of century XIV. Throughout century XVI, the walls, along with the castle, were object of successive repairs. The Christian city arises near the present church of Santiago, being the Arab population as a suburb of first.
Of century XVI to the XVII the population undergoes a noticeable splendor when reforming and to extend the two churches. The city is developed, on the one hand, in the skirts of the Mountain range of Villa - raised streets, irregular apples, whereas the true nucleus and singular of the city are located in a zone more level than it has as main axis the high street. At the end of the XVIII, with a city or without walls, the expansion leans in the ways of Sax, Yecla, Caudete or of the Plateau, advancing towards territories of work, which brings about an urban the more spontaneous growth, centered, essentially, towards the west.
The construction of the line of Madrid-Alicante railroad, in the middle of century XIX, conditions the expansive freedom, forcing to a growth that still in our days, is developed timidly towards the north and towards the south. to urban image of the Villena of the XVIII she is the one of an extended population that ascends by a hill dominated by the tower of homage of its castle. Between the houses of the old city they excelled three towers: those of the churches him Santa Maria and Santiago and the call popularly “Tower of the Orejón”, place where the Municipal Town hall met in the Middle Ages. At present that image can acquire knowledge from the stop of the tower of homage of the Castillo of the Watchtower.
The old quarters of Villena were declared Historical-Artistic Monument in 1968.
Castillo of the Watchtower
Built by the Arabs towards century XII, Artistic Historical Monument” in 1931 was declared “.
It consists of two fences without pit crossed by round buckets, with the addition in the external one of a polygonal enclosure of four fronts, fortified with buckets in the vertices.
The tower of homage is of squared, raised plant with walls of three meters of thickness and consists of four bodies: both first of tapial almohade, and both rubblework superiors, constructed in the middle of century XV by D. Juan Pacheco, second Marquess of Villena.
The covers of the two first stays are formed by vaults almohades of intercrossed arcs, of exceptional importance for being, as those of the neighboring castle of Bihar, oldest of their style in Spain. In the capping small towers flown to the Portuguese-Castilian style emphasize some.
El Castillo of the Watchtower, that until century XV coexisted with oldest of Salvatierra, was scene of diverse fights, as much in the days of Carlos I, during the rise of “germanized” the Valencians, as in the course of the War of Succession that enthroned to the Bourbons, or, already in century XIX, during the War of Independence against the French, that flew the two superb above-mentioned vaults almohades.
Arciprestal church of Santiago
It began to build itself in century XIV, although its present aspect data of century XVI. One is one of the more important gothic-Renaissance sets of the Valencian Community.
Their plant of three ships and its columns torsas, similars to those of the markets of Valencia and Majorca can be considered typical of Gothic the Catalan, although they acquire a greater monumentalidad here.
At the end of century XV, with patronazgo of the illustrious villenense family of Medina the extension begins that will include all the century XVI, introducing at this moment the Renaissance elements more outstanding of the church as they are, the access door to the sacristy and the classroom to capitulate, the baptismal font and the two windows of first stage of the tower, all this of tradition Murcian and attributed to Jacobo Florentino and to Quijano. They emphasize on the foot of the altar the rest of the grate worked in 1553.
In the outer face of the wall of the apse two brands to a distance were recorded that correspond with the measurement of tahúlla. The church was declared National Historical-Artistic Monument in 1931.
Church of Santa Maria
It was risen on one old Muslim mosque in century XVI to convirtir itself the church of Santa Maria or the Rabal.
It has a single ship, that seems to become the three when perforating itself inner abutments. Its polygonal head does not own girola, and their groin vaults unload in pillars back-to-back semicolumns that take to engravings Renaissance reliefs.
The Renaissance can also be observed in an inner door that it gives to the sacristy, being an element more of this style than it is represented in the monument and the city.
The facade is framed by a baroque porch, whereas the tower, exempts in two third parts of its perimeter, is compared to the one of Santiago.