The idea for the exhibition was triggered by the gift to the Museum of the collection of scale drawings and photographs of local British resident Michael Stephenson. Over a period of many years he and a colleague studied the numerous castles, towers and fortifications, mostly in ruins, which are perched on the mountains of the Marina Alta. They drew plans of the buildings they found, carefully measuring the layout of the walls to prepare accurate scale drawings. They also took valuable photographs of a heritage which is gradually disappearing through the ravages of time.
This exhibition features twenty-five castles, towers and watchtowers from the Islamic period which are preserved in the mountains, hill-sides and plains of the Marina Alta. This rich and little-known heritage mostly dates from the final centuries of Islamic rule, although a few were begun just after the Muslim conquest of Spain in the eighth century.
The structure and function of these fortifications differ from those of the feudal castles established after the Christian conquest by James I, although many of them were taken over and adapted by the Christian newcomers seeking to control a mountainous, newly conquered territory occupied by a majority Muslim population. They provided support and symbols of power for the new feudal order.
Among the rural Islamic castles and fortifications hidden in the Marina Alta and described in the exhibition are those of Xàbia, Serella, the Jálon valley, the Vall de Laguar and Murla, Ocaive, Ambra and the Vall de Gallinera.
The inauguration will take place at 19.30 on 26 June, followed by a short talk by local restoration expert Josep Ivars Pérez. There will be an opportunity to visit the exhibition and refreshments will be served in the Museum patio.
The exhibition will be on display in the Museum of Xàbia until 30 July