Xátiva is the capital of the region of La Costera. Declared to be a Historic-Artistic Site, the Neanderthal skull found in Cova Negra dates from 30,000 years BC. Birthplace of the painter José Ribera “el españoleto” and of Pope Borgia Alexander VI, it suffered a dark moment in its history at the hands of Felipe V, who, after victory in the battle of Almansa in the War of Spanish Succession, ordered the city to be burned, changing its name to San Felipe. In memory of the insult, the portrait of the monarch hangs upside down in the local museum of L’Almodí. The city preserves a wealth of artistic heritage to be discovered: the Renaissance collegiate church; the hermitage of San Félix, the oldest in the city (it is said to have been a Mozarab temple and that Jaime I rebuilt it); the church of Sant Pere, where Alexander VI was baptized, the Royal Hospital, which still preserves its original Renaissance façade intact; the palaces of the Marquis de Montortal and the Marquis of Alarcó. And the fountains: San Francisco, which is baroque; Trinidad, which is Gothic; and the Neoclassic fountain with 25 jets. Most outstanding, with 30 towers and four fortified gates, is its enormous castle, the result of the fusion of an Iberian-Roman fortress and a later Arab one. Running down from the castle are the walls which until the 10th century enclosed the Roman city. A second wall was added later which took in what today is the historic quarter.
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