Oropesa del Mar, Valencia, Spain

Oropesa del Mar is a typically Mediterranean town, 86 km north of Valencia, on the Orange blossom coast. It has a good climate, beaches of fine sand, cliffs, the picturesque old village.

The first remains in the area, found at Cau d Én Borras, date from the Stone Age. Roman literature mentions strong contingents of Iberians along this part of the coast. During the Middle Ages, Oropesa del Mar belonged to the Hospitalar Knights, whose castle was later taken by James I in 1233. Due to frequent attacks by Barbary pirates, common along the whole Spanish coast, Pedro I the Antequera commissioned a defensive tower to be built on the coast, which was later rebuilt by Felipe II and given its present-day shape.

To the north of Oropesa Cape are the long sandy beaches of Les Amplaries and Morro de Gos, which run down the south side of Bahía de la Concha, and end at the seafront esplanade. Between the Concha beach and the last foothills of the Sierra de Oropesa is a modern marina with 670 berths. To the south, the coast changes to cliffs and coves flanked by pine trees and Mediterranean shrubbery. Here you will find the quiet beaches of Bellver and Renegá.

The Sierra de Oropesa hills contain the town, and give protection from north winds. There is a coastal plain where oranges and market vegetables are grown, with almonds and olives and muscatel grapes growing on the slopes rising behind the plain.

The medieval layout of the original village can still be seen. The upper part of the town contains the ruins of the castle and walls dating from Moorish occupation. Here too is the parochial church of the Virgin, with 18th century examples of tiling from the nearby town of Alcora, and a 16th century image of the patroness of the town, the Virgen of Patience. Also in the plaza is an Ethnological Museum, occupying the original town hall and showing local customs.

On the coast is the Torre del Rey, or king´s tower, in a Renaissance style and is the sole surviving example of 16th century military architecture. Other defensive towers such as the Sant Juliá or the Dona towers, called colomeras, or dovecotes, remind us of Oropesa´s former battles against attack from the sea.

Always ready to have a fiesta, here you can enjoy on July 25th the feast of St James, and on the first Sunday in October is the festivity in honor of the patroness, the Virgin of Patience. The name of this feast comes from the story of the icon, which was partially destroyed in the 17th century by pirates and was only restored after a patient wait of many years, hence the name of the Virgin of Patience.

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