domingo, 19 de mayo de 2013


This sounds like a long and complicated blog, but we will only touch essentials trying to make sense of the relation among Xátiva, socarrats and the Borjas.

XÁTIVA:  Has its origins about 100,000 years ago during the Neanderthal period, being the last ones of that species before their extinction.  In that same location the Iberus created a "castro" or settlement called Sae Tabis where the Castle of Xátiva originated.  The Romans also constructed other areas of the castle, but the walls and terraces are from the Islamic period.  This period was one of cultural and economical splendor and the city was called Shatiba.  Most notably were the water canalizations of the city, the construction of the walls of the city and of the castle and very especially paper.  Xátiva originated paper in Europe. This time of splendor lasted until around 1244.  Its inhabitants are called "socarrats" (meaning burnt) because the city was burnt by Felip V.  
 Typical street of Xátiva

House where Rodrigo Borja (Alexander VI)
was born in Xátiva

 Castle of Xátiva with its walls
 An antique car in el Paseo de la Alameda
An old pharmacy
 The main entrance door of the Old Hospital
    The cathedral or Seo

SOCARRATS:  These are fired clay tiles covered with a white kaolin base and generally painted in red (Fe oxides) and black (manganese).  Their origin is typically medieval, although, a similar technique was used in Iraq and other Arab countries hundred of years before.
There are three basic types of representations on the tiles:  .religious  .magic  .social
...religious:  crosses and inscriptions like koranic verses
...magic:  Fatima's hands for protection and chimeric figures like the Butoni (a popular monster in Valencia)  heraldic symbols and satiric scenes
They were used mostly for construction and ornamental purposes, but also to do public announcements.
LUZ MINERVA visited Xátiva in search of socarrats with our own designs, which seem to blend perfectly well.

And of course, couldn't help paying attention to the Borjas as our hotel was right in front of the house where Rodrigo Borja (Alexander VI) was born.

BORJAS:  Noble family originally from Borja, town in Aragón, that later were established in Xátiva, Valencia.  It originated with Alfons Borja.  This family was very influential during the Renaissance and having settled in Italy their name was italianized to Borgia.  Rodrigo Borja was born in Xátiva and later became Pope Alexander VI, father of Cesare, Juan and Lucrezia Borgia.  His uncle Callixto was also a pope before him.  The Borja family has been considered the first great criminal family in history, being their most prominent figures Rodrigo Borja (Alexander VI), Cesare, Jofre, Juan and Lucrezia.  They were a very powerful family not only in religious and political matters with popes and cardinals abounding and their corruption, cruelty and murder legendary, but also were excellent patrons of the arts helping artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Pinturrichio, Beneto, Tiziano and El Bosco.
Borgia family

Rodrigo Borja (Alexander VI)

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