Sanctuary of Mary Magdalene
Arguably one of the more picturesque towns in the whole of
Provincial Alicante, the town of Novelda is famous for being known as the
Spanish capital of marble. Novelda is the centre of the Spanish marble
industry, and it is easy to see why. There are many exquisitely decorated
marble buildings. Marble is not the town’s only stock in trade, however, as
Novelda is also known for its saffron fields and vineyards.
A lot of 17th-century architecture is dotted
around city plazas. The church of San Pedro and the magnificent city hall are
both perfect starting places for a nice walk around the streets of Novelda.
Of course there is plenty of ever so slightly modern, in
comparison at least, architecture here. Which brings us quite nicely to a
the Sanctuary of Mary Magdalene
The Sanctuary of Mary Magdalene, in Novelda of Alicante,
was constructed as part of a larger project by one D. Jose Sala Sala, something
of a modernist engineer and a resident of Novelda and disciple of the great
Antonio Gaudí. Gaudí's influence is clearly visible in every detail of this
sanctuary. Because of this influence, it is listed on the European Modernist
tourist route. The shape and the materials used the construction (all of which
come from the area) stand out the most.
Construction of the building started sometime in 1918.
Construction of the structure was completed in three stages and everything was
completed shortly after the Second World War in 1946.
At the front entrance to The Sanctuary of Mary Magdalene,
there are a pair of 25-metre towers that are topped with prominent crosses. The
towers are completed by the cupola and high arches. The decorative motifs that
adorn the building can have their roots traced back to the baroque and
mediaeval eras, as well as nature itself. These influences can be seen
throughout the exterior of the structure.
The interior of the building is made up of a central
chamber that is flanked by two rooms. Over in the apse, you will find the chapel
of St Mary Magdalene, Patroness of Novelda. Behind the altar, waiting for you
to discover it, is a stunning painting that has been attributed to Gastón
Castelló (a well-known artist of the time, 1903 – 1986).
Maintenance and restoration work is an ongoing and almost
constant enterprise. Possibly one of the most famous features of the whole area
is the “marble organ”, which is made from 100% marble. The marble organ is the
biggest of its kind in the whole world. In recent years, a great deal of effort
has been put into making this truly amazing pipe organ fully operational again.
There is a lot to see in the region of Alicante as a
whole, as well as in Novelda, so it could be well worth your time doing some
wider exploration. After all, you will be experiencing one of the most
beautiful locations in the whole world – you may as well make the most of it.