BENISSA HAS A NEO-GOTHIC TREASURE

Benissa is one of those hidden treasure towns that resides on the Costa Blanca. You must find the parking lot on the backside of the town, get out of your car and begin your journey.

* Report by Arts Historian and Educator , Karla Darocas, Hons. B.A. (SpainLifestyle.com)
* Copyright Karla Darocas 2018* (no part of this text or photos may be replicated)



On the main square is one of the towns' 20th century monuments that is the pride and joy of its townsfolk. It is called, Iglesia de la Puríssima Xiqeta.

For those of you who are new to the language of Valenciana, the translation directly means, Church of the Pure Girl. Since all cathedrals are dedicated to the Virgin Mary, we can extrapolate who that "Pure Girl" must be!

For architecture students, it is a real Gothic cathedral but in Neo-Gothic form.

The construction started in 1902 and ended in 1929 and the result was due to the financial efforts of the Benissa townsfolk.

Neo-Gothic styles seeks to revive medieval Gothic architecture. Philosophically, the revival has a thematic root in a reaction against the "industrial revolution" and accepts medieval society as the gold age. Who knows if this is the reason that Benissa picked this revivalist style over another, say the Renaissance, but here it is now in all of its rejuvenation.

Many of the external decorative elements are pure Gothic like the pinnacles, which look like small spires around the edge of the building and the crown.


In typical Gothic cathedral fashion, Puríssima Xiqeta strives towards heaven with its skyward reaching duel bell towers.

Keeping it all in place are a series of flying buttresses holding up this rectangular, three nave structure.


The rose window takes a central location on the front of the facade below which is a blind arcade composed of a series of arches that has no actual openings and that is applied to the surface of a wall as a decorative masonry element.


One of its most aspiring features is its octagonal crown, eight being a strong and magical number, again topped with pinnacles. The eight Gothic paneled windows provide illumination to the stunning ceiling dome in the transept that displays a unique symbol dedicated the divine music produced in the church during ceremonies.






As in all Gothic design, pointed arches are the key element. From the front portal of the church to the nave that is flanked by a striking arches leading up to glorious white Sexpartite vaults, (rib vaults divided into six bays by two diagonal ribs and three transverse ribs).


The clerestory lancet windows are tall, narrow windows with a pointed arch at its top. These windows acquired the "lancet" name from their resemblance to a lance.



The video below tells the history of the altar and the relic that guides the mysterious traditions of the church. It also shows some impressive aerial views of this cathedral and some of the painted polychrome sculptures.



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