Benifato (Guadalest Valley)

Presentation

The small town of Benifato on the Costa Blanca Alicante is nowadays known as the Aitana’s Mountain Door. It is located in the Valley of Guadalest. From Alicante you can access the AP-7 or the N-332 taking the CV-70 in Benidorm.

The municipal term of Benifato limits with the terms of Beniardá, Benimantell, Confrides and Sella.

Description

Benifato is one of the 18 villages that form the region of the Marina Baixa, located on the north of the Alicante province. It is the smallest town of the region, with only 11.9 km2 extension, part of which belongs to the Aitana Mountain. It is 658 m. high on the coldest part of the mountain range. Marina Baixa totals 578.8 km2, of which Benifato represents 2.05%. This region has two distinct agricultural climates: the Coast and the Mountain. Benifato is in the Mountain, located at the foot of the mountain range of Aitana, with 1,558 m. It is the second with its 1,558 m. height in the Valencian Community.

Benifato is located in the well-known Valley of Guadalest, which is formed, in addition to Benifato itself, by the towns of Confrides, L'Abed, Beniardà, Benimantell and Guadalest. The valley is surrounded by the Aitana Mountains, Aixortá and Serrella in an area of ​​116 km.2 and 18 km in length, crossed by the river that gives its name to the valley. The municipal term of Benifato limits with the terms of Beniardà, Benimantell, Confrides and Sella.
 

The history of Benifato

Benifato has its origin in a Muslim farmhouse that after the reconquest remained attached to the Estate of Guadalest and retained its Moorish population (40 families in 1602), until the expulsion of the Moors in 1609 which caused the depopulation. A slow recovery increased the inhabitants in the middle of the nineteenth century to 253, the historical maximum, and after that a slow retreat began to relapse to the current 194 inhabitants

In the 13th century, the Reconquest initiated in the mountains of the peninsular north is in a phase of wide expansion, and the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon spread towards its south its dominions at the expense of the Muslims. In 1245 the Catalan-Aragonesian conquest of the Valencian grounds concludes. Repopulated by Aragon citizens, Catalans, Franks and other Europeans, the former establish in these lands their hard lordship. The Catalans contribute to the commercial and urban development, and to this group we must add the survival of the Muslim world agreed by Jaime I.

Until 1335, the Valley of Guadalest (which historically constituted a single entity) belonged to the Sarriá’s, reverting to the crown, who sold it to the infant Pere, Count of Ribagorza, Jaume II’s son, and from there passed to his son, The first Duke of Gandía, and after the death of the last Duke of Gandía, Joana de Gandia, married to Joan Ramon Folch de Cardona. In 1543 the title of Marquis de Guadaladal (Marquisate from the population of Benifato, too) was created in the person of Sanç de Cardona i Roís de Liori, whose descendant of the same name granted a letter puebla on April 22, 1611. After the death of Isidre Tomás Folch de Cardona, the marquisate will pass to Joan Antoni de Palafox by sentences of 1709 and 1712.

Thus, the shield adopted by the City council of Benifato (approved by Resolution of July 2, 2003, of the Minister of Justice and Public Administrations). It was considered as most significant the honor of the Folch de Cardona, been holders of the marquisate of Guadalest. They were also given a settlement letter in 1611, and taken into account the patronage of Saint Miguel Arcángethe in town, to which the parochial church is dedicated and is organized as follows: "Round point oblong shield. Chopped up. To the first barracks, in azur field, a silver balance. In the second quarter, in field of gules, three well-ordered thistles. To the bell, open royal crown."

Festivities

1.- Saint Pere Festivities
They are celebrated on the first weekend in July. They are known as the festivities of the young, with a more informal character than the patron saint festivities, and where night verbenas take on a leading role.

2.- Saint Miquel Festivities
They are celebrated the last weekend in August. They are the Major Festivities, with night dancings, gastronomic tastings, flowers offering, solemn mass and a procession in honour of the Patron Saint.

3.- Saint Miquel FairIt is an event that aims to promote the crafts and gastronomy in Benifato. It was held for the first time in 2004, and is held on the last Sunday in September. On the occasion of the feast of our patron saint, St. Michael the Archangel, we invite neighbours and visitors to live together during these two days of an environment through which they can immerse themselves in our traditions, customs and landscapes. All this is acclimated with performances of regional music, street animation, gastronomic tastings, exhibitions, falconry shows and many other things.