The Monastery of Sant Jeroni de Cotalba is a monastic building of Valencian Gothic, Mudéjar, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical styles constructed between the 14th and 18th centuries, located in the municipal area of Alfauir, (Valencia), Spain, about 8 km. from the well-known city of Gandia.
The monastery of Sant Jeroni de Cotalba is one of the most historic monastic constructions in Valencia and located near Alfauir, a village about eight kilometres outside Gandia.
It has its origin in Xabia. In 1374 Pope Gregory XI authorized the foundation of a monastery to the hermit of Xabia, who belonged to the Hiernymite order. The duke Alfonso of Aragon granted the grounds to the building. The monastery was attacked by pirates in 1387. Therefore, the monks feared to return there. For that reason in 1388 Alfonso of Aragon bought the territories of Cotalba from the Muslims, which were more protected and he donated them to the Hieronmyte monks of X?bia. They moved to Cotalba and Alfonso of Aragon founded the monastery in 1388. In 1388 Alfonso of Aragon and Foix, Royal Duke of Gandia, constructed a fortress to protect the monastics from attacks by Berber pirates. Tradition claims Saint Vincent Ferrer preached publicly from the monastery. The father, Pere March, and the two wives of the well-known Valencian medieval poet Ausias March are buried in this monastery.
In the 16th century the monastery came under the protection of the House of Borgia. The Duchess of Gandia, Maria Enriquez de Luna, widow of the duke Giovanni Borgia and daughter-in-law of the Pope Alexander VI, financed the monastery's enlargement such as the upper cloister of late Gothic style or the medieval cistern of the Orange Tree Patio. Later, also Saint Francis Borgia frequented the monastery and his wife, Leonor de Castro, lady and intimate friend of the Empress Isabella of Portugal, spent her last days in it recovering from her ailments, where she died on March 27 of 1546.
Spanish Renaissance painter Nicolás Borrás was so impressed by his stay at the monastery, he asked for membership in the order has his only payment. He was born in Cocentaina (Alicante). He was a pupil of Juan de Juanes. He is one of the best artists of Valencian monastic painting. The Hieronymite monks of Cotalba called him to paint the greater altarpiece of the church. In this way, he entered in the order. The altarpiece consisted in fourteen tables. There was a sculpture of Saint Jerome in the middle. In addition, he made other altarpieces for the chapels of the church and the chapterhouse. Also he produced paintings for different parts of the monastery. He painted four great linens for the stations of the low cloister. However, the only work conserved in its original place was The Saint Supper painted in fresco. It is placed in what nowadays is known as the oil mill, that originally was the dining hall (refectory). He took the habit in 1575, and professed final vows the following year. He passed the rest of his life painting, leaving twelve altarpieces in the church alone, and spent his own money to hire sculptors and builders for the monastery's embellishment.
The Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal sold off the religious buildings to pay state debts. The monks left the monastery August 6, 1835. ln 1843, it was acquired by the Trénor family and remains in their bands until today. The Trénor family has owned it since 1843, although it became a military hospital temporarily during the Spanish Civil War.
In 1994, the monastery was declared as an item of cultural interest (BIC), and is now being restored. The doors were opened to the public in May 26, 2005. The restoration work has been carried out on the area behind the church’s retable and Nicolas Borrás painting gallery. Nowadays, most of the monastery is open to visitors.
The construction of the monastery began in the 14th century and continued though the 16th century, though its current layout dates from reconstruction in the 17th and 18th centuries. The main facade is overlooked by the main and priory towers. The gothic church has a rectangular ground plan with one aisle and chapels between buttresses, as well as Baroque elements from the 18th-century renovation. The most significant areas on the upper floor are the presbytery and the choir.
The bell tower's facade features 17th-century blue and white carvings, and includes the founder's date and name in Valencian. The cloister is arranged in four galleries on two floors encircling a garden. The lower cloister includes arches and vaults in two-coloured Mudéjar style remniscent of the Córdoba mosque. The sala capitular houses the remains of Prince John and Princess Blanche of Aragon, children of the mediaeval Duke Alfonso the Old.
THE COVA DESL RULL
The Rull Cave discovered in 1919 by José Vicente Mengual (Uncle Rull) when to go hunting with his dog following a rabbit, it entered into a hole, which also brought in a ferret to do it out not leaving any. The next day he tried to remove some stones from the hole and found the cave that bears his nickname.
In the sixties, due to increased tourism, "Uncle Rull" open to the public decides renovating some hallways.
Currently owned by the municipality, is conditioned and open to the public from September 16, 1995.
The Cova del Rull has developed in Miocene conglomerates composed of rounded limestone gravel bowling and it covers a silty clay matrix and have a foundation of highly variable calcareous.
At about 100 meters from the entrance of the cave , and going west on the road, a cross-fault to it, put in contact with marl conglomerates facies "Tap " . The massif is affected by subvertical joints and open. The cave owes its existence to both the dissolving action of water on limestone components of the clusters , and your drag action of silt -clay matrix , and which should be added the combined action of erosion and partial subsidence , usually located.
The cave formation is also linked to other factors geological tectonic in nature , such as faults and folds , translated into a fracturing of the rock mass that allows the entry of water and its movement inside of it. Slowly and steadily the water flow has been eroding Cie and widening fractures which has circulated . Under certain conditions of pressure and temperature has been infiltrated water dissolved CO2 from the atmosphere or the existing ground by bacterial action , forming an acid but weak attacks the calcium carbonate of the limestone (insoluble in water ) , becoming calcium bicarbonate (soluble) , which is dissolved and transported by water. A change in existing conditions can reverse the chemical reaction , depositing calcium carbonate in the form of stalactites and stalagmites and releasing again CO2R is apparent that the growth process of the cave is only possible with a continuous circulation of water. If the flow stops , the development of the cave is limited to that caused by subsidence.