Ermita de Santa Llúcia
The Ermita de Santa Llúcia sits atop the conical hill of Tossal de Santa Llucía, a 164 meter summit affording spectacular views in almost every direction. This look-out point offers one of the best locations to photograph the nearby mountain of Montgó, rising dramatically to the north-west, while on a clear day you can see the island of Ibiza, over 90 kilometres away! Such a field of view has made it a valuable, easily defensible site for centuries.
History of La Ermita de Santa Llúcia
The chapel of Santa Llúcia was built in the 15th century in the style of the ‘conquest chapel’ which was typical of the time as Christian invaders migrated from the north, pushing out the Moorish population to settle upon the newly vacated lands of southern Spain. It is one of the oldest chapels in the area, built upon a hill that was used for thousands of years for defence as well as religious worship.
Evidence has been found to suggest that people were already living on the hill more than 4,000 years ago. During the Roman occupation of these lands, it was utilised as a perfect look-out point due to its superb command over the bay of Jávea and the long valley of San Bartolomé.
This hermitage is perched on top of one of the municipality’s highest peaks. This small chapel, located 163 meters above sea level at the foot of the Montgó, is owned by the municipality. Only once a year, on December 13th, does the bell ring. The new bell was built in 2004 to replace a 15th century bell that was considered one of the region’s oldest. This old bell is now on display in the Soler Blasco museum’s ground floor.
Inside La Ermita de Santa Llúcia
It consists of a single rectangular nave with a gabled roof and a central arch of Tosca stone. The building would receive several additions since its original construction, including the adjacent rooms which were added in the 18th century, the latest addition to this historic site.
Once you get there, the building is entered through an arched doorway of Tosca sandstone and the interior is divided into two sections separated by a tall Tosca sandstone arch with the altar and the images of Santa Llúcia and Santa Barbara at the far end. Above the gabled roof there is a single bell but it’s not original. The 15th century Gothic bell was replaced in 2004 and now resides in the Soler Blasco Municipal Museum in the heart of the historic centre. The bell rings once a year on December 13th, the feast day of Santa Llúcia when the faithful make a symbolic pilgrimage up to the chapel for a special mass and a procession of the images around the outside of the chapel.
Climb To La Ermita de Santa Llúcia
There are two routes to climb up to the chapel. The main route is a winding narrow path up the eastern slope, about 500 meters in length, which affords some great views as it climbs up to the top of the hill. A longer route winds through the Barranco de Santa Llúcia to the urbanisation Nova Xàbia, where an easier but longer route takes the visitor to the top.
The hermitage remains closed all year except the day of its holiday, but that will not keep you from visiting it. It is a unique moment because its bell resonates across the valley and into the streets of the nearby town.
Following a gradual climb of just a few meters, the route winds steeply through the trees for the next few hundred meters before becoming a little gentler as it begins a broad zig-zag up the hill. The blue-domed Ermita de Santo Cristo del Calvario, which can be reached by a small path that climbs up the hillside and is a choice for the return journey, is located across the ravine. The rough path soon meets another set of signs, and through the trees above, the white-walled Ermita can be seen. After turning left, the final steep climb to the top is along a concrete road.
Views From La Ermita de Santa Llúcia
Of course, the best feature of the Ermita de Santa Llcia is its panoramic views of the surrounding area, which include views of the Mediterranean Sea as far as Ibiza on a clear day, as well as the impressive Montgó mountain towering behind it.
The chapel’s most appealing features are its harmony and tranquility, as well as its spectacular panoramic views in all directions. The blue waters of the Mediterranean fill the big bay of Jávea stretching between the Cabo de San Antonio to the left and the Cabo de San Martn in the distance, as seen from the famous blue-domed chapel of El Calvario. The town of Jávea spreads along the coast in between.
The high mountains of the interior can be seen to the west, looking inland, where the Moors who once lived and worked in this land fled during the Christian reconquest. The big valley of San Bartolomé, the Marina Alta’s greenhouse, is in the foreground. Then, as you walk around the perimeter path through the forest, an incredible view of Montgó, an iconic sight of Jávea, emerges.
The view of San Bartolemé’s valley is breathtaking. The path emerges from the woods on the other side of the chapel and rejoins the main path as it proceeds around the chapel.
Routes To And From La Ermita de Santa Llúcia
For the return journey, there are two choices. The quickest choice is to retrace your steps and descend along the same direction, but a circular route can be completed by following the path that zig-zags down the hill’s northern flanks. A rough but wide track leads to a road at the bottom of the descent before the tarmac suddenly ends in a cul-de-sac and the path meanders down the wooded ravine.
As the Ermita del Santo Cristo del Calvario church, perched on the hillside before you, comes into view, the path becomes a gentle stroll. A narrow steep track leads up the hillside to the blue-domed church about 200 meters before the return to the start of the climb, and this is a choice to take since it provides a great view of the hill of Santa Llcia. Otherwise, proceed back to the broad olive tree.
Photo Gallery: La Ermita de Santa Llúcia, Javea.
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