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HISTORIC HERITAGE

THE HISTORIC CENTRE

This is located at the bottom of some little mountain buttresses, and follows the traditional array of urban centres of Muslim origin, which have conditioned the morphology of the urban layout with their sinuous and narrow streets. Until the 19th Century, Potries was a walled town; a wall protected the population and the entrances and exits of the town were closed by a series of gates, which were demolished in 1862. Our municipality still preserves the authenticity of a typical, predominantly rural settlement, where most of the buildings display the classic typology of traditional rural houses in our country, with a ground floor, where the entrance for the cart can be located, which defines the internal distribution of spaces, the inside patio area, and on the upper floor, an attic for the storage of farm produce.
The streets of Potries conceal interesting and unique buildings which can be discovered during a walk:

The Town Hall

This is located at 26, Boamit St., and is a magnificent example of 17th Century stately architecture evident in the rural areas of our country. At the beginning of the 1980’s, an accurate restoration made the conservation of this building possible, in addition to conserving some particularly important elements, such as the wrought iron grilles placed at the façade, the remarkable ceramic tiles or the beams that have preserved the original wood existing in the house. The ornamental elements typical of the late Renaissance and the quality of the materials used in its construction allow us to place it chronologically, and associate it with the rich, ruling classes of that time. However, the only historic fact that is documented is its transfer to Town Hall, at the end of the 19th Century.


L’EsglÉsia Parroquial dels Sants Joans

The Sants Joans Parish Church
The parish church of Potries was established at the end of the 16th Century. Before this, the construction was a Moorish rectory which belonged to the municipality of Oliva. The church represents the typology characteristic of the religious architecture of that time. The Latin cross ground plant inscribed within a rectangle with central nave; the lateral chapels, the flat crossing, and the belfry which occupies the space of the first chapel on the Epistle Side. It is believed that there were at least two intervening works which extended the church on the Gospel side. The first was carried out at the end of the 17th Century and the beginning of 18th Century, which mainly affected the lateral chapels, extending them, and covering them with a cupola, as well as the façade, which was shortened and given a mixtilineal profile, both in keeping with the Baroque style of the period.

The second extension, carried out during the first quarter of the 19th Century, includes the construction of a new chapel, dedicated to St. Blaise, at the crossing level, with a Greek cross ground floor with a cupola resting on top of scallops and a lantern. Its architectural conception evokes the classicist trends determined by the San Carlos Academy in Valencia.

The Santíssim Crist de l’Agonia hermitage

The hermitage is located at the summit of a small hillock, 137 metres high, situated to the southeast of the town. This site, due to its environmental and landscape value, is considered worthy of official protection, under the Subsidiary regulations of Potries.


A steep path, bordered by cypresses, where the Calvary is situated, facilitates the climb from the urban town to the hermitage itself. The path is paved and terraced, however it occasionally shows signs of a terrible state of repair. At the upper part, the path diverges and curves to arrive at a semicircular spot, located in front of the chapel building. This place is surrounded by a masonry veranda made of calcareous stone tombstones at its upper part, which forms an actual balcony overlooking the orchard offering magnificent views.
The hermitage, as we know it today, was built in the middle of the 19th Century. However, before this date, there was a small construction which housed the image of Christ, transported there after the death of the original owners in 1799.

The design of the hermitage is the result of an academic education and is the work of the architect Carlos Spain, who was the municipal architect for the city of Valencia. From the architectonic point of view, it can be categorised within the neo-classicist trends, of radical attributes, existing during the first half of the 19th Century. It was built under the dictate of the San Carlos Academy, although already incorporating the new architectural languages that began to appear within the Valencian architectural environment. The construction lasted until well after 1861. It was during that year that the Town council decided to transport the figure of Christ to the church, in order to finish the hermitage’s main chapel.

The ground floor of the building consists of a square of 15m. per side, where several parts can be distinguished. On the one hand, the temple itself, which occupies the central area, and two annex premises which are longitudinally incorporated at the sides of the temple. Its ground floor is a Greek cross inscribed onto a rectangle, with north to south orientation, the transept arms are flat, there are several lateral chapels, a space behind the transept and an atrium or lobby at its foot. The lateral bodies present an L-shaped ground floor, with a patio at the rear. The space on the eastern side is compartmented and adapted into the house of the hermit.
Outwardly, the aspect of the hermitage is robust, softened by the distractions created by the architectural volumes visible from the outside, which correspond to the original distribution of the inner spaces. The façade is of a simple and elegant neoclassic conception, divided into three parts, related to the division of the ground floor of the building. The entrance, of a segmented opening, articulates a Tuscan order of double pillars, with intercolumn spaces perforated by stylised segmented arch hollows. The façade is finished by means of a triangular pediment, with a blind oculus at the spandrel and crowned by a small steeple with the bell.
The absence of ornaments, which are restricted to the main section or to the inscriptions found on the upper floor, must be pointed out. However, the symmetric layout of the openings lightens the robustness of the façade and creates a delicate mixture of solid areas and openings, of lights and shadows.

The atrium or lobby, which precedes the temple, is a small quadrangular space of 5m. per side, where the actual location of the accesses to the lateral parts of the building should be pointed out as well as the ceramic tiles which pay homage to the characters related to the hermitage, and which were made during the commemoration of the centenary in 1954.


On a small scale, the interior of the temple, an area of pure simplicity, reproduces, the architectural models of the purest radical academic classicism. The Ionic order of pillars set on pedestals articulates the elevation plant.

A simple entablature of a continuum plain frieze surrounds the perimeter of the temple, and at some points is disrupted by boxes, which act as commemorative headstones with Latin inscriptions, of evident classical connotation. The naves are covered by a barrel vault and supporting arches and at the intersection of the nave and the crossing there is a cupola consisting of an octagonal base placed on top of piedroits. The choir is placed at the foot of the temple, and stretches to the two lateral chapels. Small steps allow the lateral chapels to connect to the crossing arms, and these with their wide accesses in the shape of chapels, lead to the space located behind the main altar.

The graphic architecture dominates the decoration. This is mainly pictorial and is restricted to the main chapel and the piedroits of the cupola. In addition, it must be pointed out that the original polychromy as applied to the altars, pillar shafts and supporting arches, which greatly singularised the architectural concept of the inside of the temple, was altered by an unfortunate redecoration carried out during the 1980’s, which somehow alters the global view of the temple in its original sense.

The paintings are works by Luis Téllez-Girón i Belloch. He uses the fresco technique. At the piedroits he represents several biblical characters inscribed into ovals: Jeremy, Daniel, David and Isaiah. On the high altar, adapted to the semicircular shape of the chevet, the transfiguration of Christ is represented, whereas the image of the Holy Father appears at the intrados of the vault, inscribed into an oval. It must also be highlighted that at the high altar there is a central vaulted niche which hosts the image of the Christ of the Agony, a magnificent polychrome sculpture which dates from the 18th century.


The Àngel Domínguez pottery

It is the last testimony to the important earthenware activity of the municipality, of a way of living and working which constitutes a key part of the cultural legacy of our ancestors. It is situated at 6, Cup Street, in a sector within the urban centre where several potteries were established. In particular, there is evidence of five productive industries active within this sector at the beginning of the 20th Century, although in the municipality there were a total of 18 industries.
The house does not display any special features with regards to construction techniques in comparison with the surrounding buildings. This structure is characteristic of the urban architecture of la Safor. It was probably built at the end of the 18th Century, and consists of two floors, with two sections, and a patio inserted between these.

The ground floor, with two bodies and an access in the shape of a flat arch served as the living quarters. The upper part is a clear room, raised by means of pillars and blind arches, without internal separation and with a very high cover and a gable roof.

The part destined for the living area has a surface of about seventy square metres, and the area dedicated to the art craft activities is of 150 metres.
On the ground floor the areas between the first and second supporting walls provide the living area for the family, whereas the area between the second and third supporting walls and the upper chamber, together with the patio or the adjacent covers, are the area allocated to production.


On the patio, which is long and narrow, the deposits for decanting the clay were placed. At the left hand side of the patio, the workshop has a small room, with access from the inside space and from the patio, where the pre-prepared clay was stored. An adjacent covered area was used to store the wood to fuel the oven.
The area between the second and third supporting arches on the ground floor included the potter’s wheels and the grinding and refining mill for the oxides, needed to apply the glazing to the pieces. The varnish was applied in the chamber, whereas a system of wall-mounted shelving guaranteed the process of drying and storage of the produced pieces before their baking.

The oven, placed at the end of the patio, and separated by a flat cover, is of a vertical draught, with structural elements built from bricks or held together by clay mortar.
The lower oven or fire room has an access opening with a barrel vault. The inside area, of rectangular shape, presents a bench and a hollow at the middle to collect the ashes. A sieve separates the two superposed rooms.
The inside of the upper oven cannot be seen, since the access door is filled. On the vault, the flue controls the firing.
During the first years of the last Century, this oven was used by three workshops: the pottery owned by Àngel Domínguez, and the two neighbouring potteries, belonging to Simeón Tarrazó and Fernando Domínguez.