La Vall de Gallinera

Vall de Gallinera is a township made up of eight small villages called: Benirrama, Benialí, Benissivà, Benitaia, la Carroja, Alpatró, Llombai y Benissili. It is in the nothernmost part of the province of Alicante, in the inland part of the Marina Alta, and borders the province of Valencia. Its area covers 53.06 km2, forming a valley which, because of its peculiar orography, is symmentrical and exact and there are some truly spectacular views from there. In addition it is only twenty minutes from the beach. The surroundings are predominantly rural, emphasising the harmony between the mountain and the fields of cherry trees, olive trees, almond trees, carob trees and orange trees. During the different seasons of the year you can see the terraces, maintained by kilometre after kilometre of dry stone walls forming one of the most outstanding ethnological works in a rural setting. The total population of all the villages is approximately seven hundred and the Town Hall is in the village of Benialí.

Traditionally, the economic activity in the valley has been agriculture, mainly the growing of cherries – a product of Protected Geographical Indication -,being, in addition, one of the very first to be collected in all of the mainland, and the olive, from which a high quality oil is extracted, although currently the services sector is more prevalent due to the rural tourist boom which has led to the establishment of numerous casas rurales, restaurants and other businesses related to the manufacture of traditional products.

Description

The Vall de Gallinera is an area which offers natural landscape resources in a place of captivative beauty. Of particular note in the area are the numerous natural water springs to be found throughout the valley, some of which have been converted into traditional washplaces of high ethnological value. Also worthy of note are the eight villages, whose charm invites us to walk through their narrow streets where we can observe first hand the authenticity of their inhabitants.

In addition, the valley boasts an extensive historical and cultural heritage, particularly the cave paintings which have been declared a World Heritage site. There are also two castles which used to guard the entrances to the valley, Gallinera Castle also called Benirrama Castle, and Alcalà Castle, also known as Benissili Castle, whose origins date back to the 11th century and which, in the 13th century, were home to Al-Azraq, the famous Arab prince considered the standard bearer of the resistance against King Jaume I’s Christians.

The most famous and representative topographical element of the Vall de Gallinera is the Penya Foradà which, in the months of March and October, offers us an unprecedented spectacle. It’s the famous solar alignment of the Foradà with the old site of the Franciscan monastery in Benitaia. The solar alignment dates back to 1611, when the Franciscan friars,who built a convent next to Benitaia with the financial help of the Duke of Gandía, wanted to have it built in the exact place where, to coincide with the day to celebrate their Patron Saint Francisco of Asisi (4th October), the rays of the sun would cross through the Foradá and light up the building and maybe also the statue of the saint.

There are also routes and paths across which we can enjoy the majesty of the area, particularly the PR-V 167, which joins the villages of Benialí and Alpatró; the PR-V 43 which, firstly running through the neighbouring valleys of Laguar, Ebo and Alcalà and passing by the Penya Forada, ends at the top of La Safor, 1013 m. high. There is also the Route of the 8 Villages which, starting at the Fuente de la Mata in Benirrama runs through all the villages of the valley on rural paths which join them together, reaching its namesake Fuente de la Mata in Benissili; the path to the cave paintings in Benialí; and the paths which go to the two castles.

The Vall de Gallinera is an enclave of exceptional botanical, faunal and landscape value. It harbours a high heterogeneity of ecosystems, thanks to its varied topography and different microclimates. There are 823 indigenous taxons and 62 endemisms. These natural values have been maintained thanks to the relative isolation of the valley in respect of the dynamic economies of nearby areas.

Cadastral data:

Zone: Date land registry: Value € Area: Pol: Plot: Land registry reference:
La Bastida 05/05/2008 6.000 2.787 m2 7 865 03136A007008650000ZI
Albosc 01/08/2008 7.329 5.863 m2 7 812 03136A007008120000ZA
La Bastida 26/09/2008 2.500 2.269 m2. 7 861 03136A007008610000ZK
La Bastida 26/09/2008 3.000 2.548 m2 7 868 03136A007008680000ZS
La Heretat 13/02/2009 7.300 12.162 m2 7 668 03136A007006680000ZR
La Heretat 13/02/2009 2.700 2.640 m2 7 672 03136A007006720000ZD
Foies de Benirrama 12/03/2010 9.000 5.943 m2 8 209 03136A008002090000ZW
Foies de Benirrama 12/03/2010 3.345 m2 8 207 03136A008002070000ZU

 

Location:

 

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