The Sanctuary of Santa María Magdalena is a beautiful ornate Catholic Church located in just outside Novelda Town (near Alicante), Valencia, Spain.
Coordinates Map: https://goo.gl/maps/hQijtfcSrzM2 Usage: Worship Catholic Church Diocese: Orihuela-Alicante Construction: 1918-1946, Valencian Modernism architectural style (Gaudi) Architect: José Sala
“The most beautiful things I have seen in a very long time. Absolutely lovely. So worth the visit with friends and family. All enjoyed the experience. “
It was built from a project designed by the novel engineer José Sala Sala, 1 2 with a certain inspiration in the modernist style of Antonio Gaudí. Later the construction was executed by the masters of works Noveldenses Ceferí Escolano and Antoni Amorós. It is a very unique and outstanding work within Valencian modernism.
The building bears a distant resemblance to the Sagrada Familia of Barcelona by Antonio Gaudí. It has a jug shape, symbolizing the jug that the Saint brought as a balm to Jesus. This original form is also unique in the world.
Its construction, begun in 1918, required three phases (one of them paralysis), to terminate the work in 1946. Different resources were used to finance the works, such as the Zarzuela lyrical galas in which the director intervened orchestral Asterio Mira, the Nortenden baritone Eduardo Mateo-Quirant and his wife, Josefina Landete (both parents of Paloma Mairant), among others.3
On the main façade there are two 25 m lateral towers. of height culminated by a stony cross, which is also found in the dome and on the upper arches of the façade. Decorative motifs have antecedents in the medieval, baroque styles and in nature itself. These influences led the author to combine pebbles from the Vinalopó River, polychrome tiles, red bricks, masonry, etc., which are reflected throughout the exterior of the building.
The interior of the sanctuary is composed of a rectangular central nave with two attached side spaces; At the end, in the apse, is the dressing room of Santa María Magdalena, patron saint of Novelda, and behind the altar you can admire a beautiful painting attributed to Gastón Castelló. Since the late twentieth century is planned and is proceeding slowly to the incorporation of an organ built entirely in marble, work of the innovative organ maker and artist Ivan Larrea, who will become the only one in the world with these characteristics.
The Sanctuary of Santa María Magdalena of Novelda is the place that many couples choose to get married and baptize their children. It is a place with a lot of history for the Noveldens since here the election of grapes that will accompany Santa María Magdalena in the procession of July 22, day of the patron saint is also celebrated. It is also interesting to note that, for several years, they lived in a building next to the Sanctuary, the Dominican Sisters. Three years ago they went to another region of Spain. In the place where they lived, a hostel and a thematic centre are being set up.
VIDEO TESTIMONIALS : Hondon Villas. Irana Davidson talks about her experience buying her Hondón Valley home through Hondon Villas.
What was the main reason you chose the Hondón Valley? We actually fell in love with the village to start with (Hondón de los Frailes). We sat at the 28 Restaurant and we looked down the village and we saw it had everything we imagined we wanted.
Why would you recommend Hondón Villas? The name “Hondón” being associated with Hondón Villas seemed a natural choice. As I said before, we were never pushed into looking at any property. We looked at properties that we chose. And when we decided on the property we wanted it then became a real hand-holding process.
Not speaking Spanish it (the buying process) became quite daunting. But everything was basically done for us. We were taken to the notary. We were given real good advice. And once we had bought the house it was more hand-holding.
Anything we needed, whether it was to do with the property or not I could contact Maureen and she’d say “Right, OK, fine. We’ll sort it!”
And we felt we were looked after. They were more friendly than a lot of places we went to. We were not pushed into looking into anything, it was what we wanted to look at.
How do find the social side of Hondón? I think the first social event I went to, I was invited by Maureen from Hondón Villas. She invited me to the Ascot Ladies Day which was fabulous because at the time Charlie (my husband) was away in Scotland for a wee while so it was a fantastic way for getting to know people.
You do feel like you can walk through the village and people will speak to you. You can go for a coffee and someone will speak to you. … we rescued a dog and you get to know people through that. I find it very social here.
We get asked about restaurants and bars available in the Hondon Valley areas. There are plenty to choose from in Nieves, Frailes, La Romana, Abanilla, Fortuna and the surrounding areas. Here we list bars and restaurants for Hondón de los Frailes.
There are Hondon restaurants and bars to suit all pockets / budgets. They do change owners and menus on a regular basis so we advise you ask locals or call the restaurants direct. Or you can check out Tripadvisor (or similar) for more up-to-date reviews. As we all have different tastes and expectations we shy from full reviews, ask around or better still go and make your own mind up…. But is is important to show support for local trade after all. Use ’em or lose ’em.
The most established is Restaurante Veintiocho 28 in the main Frailes plaza, opposite the Town Hall). At the time of writing, 28 is owned and run by Simone and Marcus and boasts plenty of outside sunny seating, a shady canopy (from the sun and the odd rain shower), a small inside bar and larger a-la-carte restaurant.
The menu is varied British / international. Open most days for breakfasts, drinks, lunch and dinner with many specials, “Sunday Roast”, snacks and full 3 course dining “menu-del-noche” . It is well regarded as a clean and friendly catering establishment with food to match. It attracts all nationalities of the area (British, Dutch, Spanish, etc …). They have a 28 Facebook page. They also cater for special occasions and parties.
Infinity: The new kid on the block. Formerly a tea shop, this one is on the main road CV-845 through Frailes and currently run by local residents Jay and Natalie. You can dine inside in pleasant clean surroundings. At time of writing they are open selected evenings and Sunday lunches. Call 622956544 for full details and menus.
La Buena Vida: (2019 this now has limited opening or special event catering). This opened about 8 years ago as an Italian themed restaurants but is now more international cuisine now with full a-la-carte dinner menu, “menu-del-noche”, early birds, “Sunday Roast” and chef’ specials. This is located just off the main plaza in Frailes and has an ornate decor and plenty of inside seating with a greetings lounge. The atmosphere is relaxed dining and smart casual dress code. They also cater for special occasions and parties.
The same owners of La Beauna Vida also run “The Irish Bar”. El Nuevo Valle: This popular plaza bar and snack restaurant is in the main plaza opposite the church. They serve drinks, inside and out, with a fast-food snack menu all week and specials for steaks, pizza, Chinese and the Brit classic “Fish n Chips”. They also offer a large screens sports area which doubles as a meeting / party room and live music venue.
Caramels: This Spanish run and recently refurbished bar is popular with all nationalities. It is mainly a bar with some outside area at the back for music / food if pre booked. They are predominantly a drinking establishment with sports TV, bandit machines and a pool table. This is on the main through road in Frailes, near the garden centre CV-845.
Pepins: Another well established Spanish owned bar and occasional restaurant. they also do Tapas and snacks. This is often used by local social groups as a meeting place, bingo, quizzes, etc. A friendly and welcome bar and popular with Spanish workers at breakfast and lunch. This is on the main through CV-845 road in Frailes, near the grocer’s shop / lottery shop. Tipsy Terrace: The new kid on the Frailes block… built from an old house at the end of the main street it has a varied menu and personality of its own. Breakfast, snacks and dinner menus available. They also do private functions.
Tipsy Terrace: The new kid on the catering block. Situated near the garden centre end of the main street. This is the largest bar, restaurant and events establishment in the village with a sunny courtyard and outdoor bar. Well placed for families or large parties. They offer a very varied menu from tapas, snacks and meals from breakfast to dinner. Open most days all-year-round. Website: www.tipsyterrace.com
El Fogon del Friars: The largest venue, Spanish run and just out of the village as you head out towards Barbarroja / Macisvenda on the CV-845. This has a large car park, shaded terrace and large restaurant inside. There is a large courtyard to the back that is used for larger events / music. It is popular for breakfast and lunchtime “menu-del-dia” but evening menus and events are only occasional. The food is typical local Spanish / tapas.
Punjabi Virsa: The locals have been wanting an Indian restaurant for a while and now we have one. It is at the quieter garden centre end of the village plaza, near Tipsy Terrace. It’s already proved popular with mixed reviews in the early days but is now well established and offers a wide variety of spicy dishes. The also offer a menu del dia as lower prices than the evening meals.
La Finca Restaurant, Hondon Valley. They offer about 100 typical Indian dishes in clean surroundings. The large dining area is inside with the kitchen and bar to the back. They also offer an early bird priced menu of three courses with poppadoms and drinks included. A magnificent façade, garden and terrazzo is in the middle of a new build development. Converted into a B&B, bars and restaurant this has the look of an old Spanish hall but with all the mod-cons. It has had a chequered history with many owners trying to make a go of it. As we write it is run by Dutch & Spaniards and seems to found its niche in Spanish food and culture with live music and value menus. Being so large it can cater for large parties, events and fiestas. The opening times and days vary and they tend to have limited opening days in the winter so please check before you go.
VIDEO TESTIMONIALS : Hondon Villas. Sue and Dean Savage tell us why they would recommend Hondon Villas… We are pleased to be the first local Hondón agent to use Video Testimonials… watch out for more soon.
Dean: I think because you don’t feel pressured into buying something. And you know that you are being looked after. We’ve looked at lots of houses before we came to this one and the one thing that I felt when we were with other agents is that they were working for the vendor. But with Maureen we felt she was working for us as well. We’d been to other agents who we told what we wanted but they still took us to other properties that were no where near what we wanted, just because they wanted to show somebody that the agent was taking us to their house.
Where as with Maureen she just showed us… she was working for us and was honest with us. She’s say, ‘That is not right for you’ or ‘yeah, ‘I think this one is’. That’s why I would come back (to Hondon Villas) and use Maureen again.
SUE: “You just felt safe. That is the word I would use. You felt actually safe in her confidence”.
Sue: Because we were in Maylasia, everything had to be done through Hondon Villas. Maureen made that really easy and helped us with moving in, what was left in the house … actually, the whole package. And you just felt safe. That is the word I would use. You felt actually safe in her confidence.
Dean: And picking up from that, when we did arrive (in Hondon) the after sale package was really useful and helpful. Actually meeting us at the house with the keys to make sure we happy and OK. And whenever we had a problem, Maureen and her team have been on the end of the phone. So all we had to do was give them a call or walk into the office and nothing was too much of a problem.
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Learn more about Hondón Villas… We are into our 5th year as a member of the AIPP which sets out professional conduct and ethics for Real Estate agents globally.
We are the only Hondón agent to win the Business of the Year for the whole of the Costa Blanca.
We have two local offices in the main village plazas for Nieves and Frailes of the Hondón Valley. We are local and employ local people who know the area well.
We list and sell more houses than any other Hondón agent in the area. We lead and they try to follow.
Maureen Cook, the owner and director, has more professional experience in Real Estate and financial services than any other agent for miles. She is trained and been rewarded for sales targets and competency at a corporate level for over 30 years. She prides herself on being honest, fair and giving personal service. She lives and breathes property!
As real estate agents for the area we like to know the general trends and demographics of the Hondon Valley area. Well, the Spanish Institute of National Statistics (INE) and the Alicante government publishes annual figures on the population (births, deaths, marriages, migration, etc) of it’s towns and cities. E.G. this page is for Hondon de las Nieves published 29 Jan 2019.
http://documentacion.diputacionalicante.es/4hogares.asp?codigo=03077 or you can do your own reports on the www.ine.es website <
Figures here are based* on the Padron registrations, however experience suggests that the figures will not be wholly accurate (lower) as many of the foreign influx do not register or forget to re-register on the Padron, particularly when changing address.
So using the Hondón de las Nieves figures (rounded up/down for ease) as an example for 2018 we can see that Nieves village had nearly 2,500 people on their Padron. The Padron register suggests that the overall population has decreased a few % over the last 3 years but again is that due to inertia of signing the Padron, deaths or some migration away or maybe less influx of foreigners / Brexit? There are some clues in the figures but no reasons given.
Age Span: It may come as no surprise that over 50% of these Hondon residents are over 50 years of age. Nieves has 5 people over 95 but less that 200 are under age 19.
Sex Span: The spilt of male (1,256) and female (1,218) is slightly in favour of men for this Hondon village.
Nationality and Birth: Nearly 1,600 people were born in Spain. Nieves has a 98% European population with about 900 as Extranjeros (foreigners). That number is down on other years. Why?
The figures of country split I looked at seem to omit the Dutch and Belguique. However, some working out would suggest that the Brits, Dutch and Belguique make up most of the foreign population in Nieves. But there are also a few German, French, Italians from the EU but about 40 Russian, Asian and South Americans amongst the population.
So Hondon de las Nieves is about 36% foreigners according to these recent stats. Which seems lower than most people would guess. What do you think?
Historically, the European influx was strongest after the 2008 crash! 2012/2013 shows the highest EU populas to number about 1,420. However that is a total but per year. e.g. in 2007 235 foreigners arrived but 2017 (ten years later) that was down to 79. It would appear we lost about 500 foreigners between then and 2018? From a real estate view point that would suggest there is lees of the property pie to serve which contrasts with our sales records over the last 5 years! We’ll try to puzzle that one out later.
Well now we know at least some basic population facts for Hondon de las Nieves… we’ll look at the Frailes figures soon. It’ll be interesting to compare Frailes with Nieves. Thank you for reading.
*NOTES: Any figures here are interpreted from the official INE stat’s and only for general interest, rounded up and not for re-publication or official in any way. it’s also worth noting that most of us regard the area as the Hondon Valley which includes many small towns and villages as a population so the Nieves stats cannot reflect the true picture of the valley or does it?
Novelda is about 25 minutes from the Hondon Valley and 20 minutess from Alicante airport. It is often overlooked by foreign visitors which is a shame as it has a long history and significance for the local community and culture. Particularly for industry (agriculture and building), the local economy and historic architecture. Watch the video or visit The Novelda Tourist site for up-to-date information.
So, in the Middle Ages, Novelda had two population centres, one on the hill of La Mola (there’s a castle & triangular Keep there) which was eventually abandoned to make way for the current location of the city we know today.
Novelda’s geographical location is in the Vinalopó corridor. This, has made it an important industrial and exporting town in the area. Its main economic activities are focused on: A) the manufacture and processing of marble and natural stone which is extracted from the quarries of the district. It’s common as you drive in the area to see the marble factories and lorries with huge blocks of marble. And B) the packaging and commercialisation of spices (especially saffron), condiments and infusions. C) the cultivation of grapes, the uva embolsada for wine and eating. The Novelda grape farmers use an innovative “paper bag” technique to delay the grape harvest until winter, being these the typical grapes that people consume around Christmas and the New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Sanctuary of Santa María Magdalena.
Undoubtedly, any travvler to Novelda should make a visit to the premier building in the area: The Sanctuary of Santa María Magdalena.
This religious building was built from a project drawn up by the novel engineer Don José Sala Sala who imbued his project with the Catalan modernist style. Its construction, begun in 1918, required three phases, to complete the work in 1946.
In the main façade there are two 25m high lateral towers, culminated by a stone cross, which is also found in the dome and on the upper arches of the façade.
The decorative reasons would have antecedents in the medieval styles, baroque and in the own nature; influences that led the author to combine pebbles from the Vinalopó river, polychrome tiles, bricks, reddish colors, masonry, etc., which are reflected throughout the exterior of the building.
The interior is composed of a rectangular central nave with two attached side spaces, that is, an original base with the shape of a glass of ointment, a container with which, according to the Christian tradition, Mary Magdalene anointed the feet of Jesus Christ. In the background, in the apse, is the dressing room of Santa María Magdalena, copatrona de Novelda, and behind the altar we can admire a beautiful painting attributed to Gastón Castelló.
Novelda architecture is know for it’s Modernism design history, being an embellishment of arty and excessive shapes and curves with soft and delicate waves, where flower and vegetable elements are found. The Casa-Museo Modernista is a good example of this and well worth a visit. Here and around the town you will see this in sculpture, painting, printing, literature, music and other artistic spheres.
The local society developed towards a landowner upper class with their riches, political and social levels, the benefits obtained via the local agriculture, commerce and financial activities. With that wealth came ever more fancy building and decoration.
Curiously, in this town we find three of the best examples of the Modernist style in the Valencian areas: The Casa-Museo Modernista (24, Mayor St. – website here), the Centro Cultural Gómez- Tortosa (6, Mayor St.) and the Casa Mira (San Vicente St.), being the last one a private house and not open to visitors.
Well seems that the Hondón area is getting better known and it’s residents are keen to show you what they are doing and what is going on here in the Hondón Valley…. many people have uploaded their videos of local fiestas, events, concerts, markets, bars and restaurants.
If you search HONDÓN on YouTube there’s quite a lot of videos to see (of varying quality and interest). Look out for the ones about the local fiestas in the local villages of Hondon de las Nieves, Hondon de los Frailes, La Canalosa, La Romana and Aspe.
Well at least the Noel Edmonds TV quiz of the same name was entertaining and understandable! As for Brexit? Well we are still nervously waiting to fully know how Brexit will affect us Expats in Spain. Although a lot of positive bulletins have been confirmed, all we can do now is watch the news and keep as up-to-date as possible.
Yesterday Jan 31st 2019 they broadcast live via Facebook on the latest Brexit news and answered many questions from concerned people. it was very informative and well presented, albeit an hour long. Well worth a watch as it should answer common concerns or point you on to further information. Login to Facebook to see this here: https://www.facebook.com/BritsInSpain/
Living In Spain Information
The British Embassy are also making a lot of information available to Expats in Spain via their “Living In Spain” series of articles on the UK Gov website: www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-spain . This includes useful information about residency, driving, healthcare, tax and working and so much more. You really should read and bookmark this site if you are already or wanting to be an Expat in Spain.
So check out the official information British people moving to and living in Spain need to know.
A local Dutch man called Jan has diligently been recording lots of local festivals and events for years to help the community and promote the area … like this one from the 2013 CorreFocs Firework Fiesta in Hondon de las Nieves.
His excellent work can be seen on YouTube but he now has his own video website “Hondon Home TV”. It is very good indeed and shows many a fiesta and social event for the area and well worth a look.
So well done to Jan and thank you for your excellent community spirit.