The Santa Lucía hermitage sits on top on the tallest hill in Javea’s town limits.
At 163m above sea level, The Santa Lucía hermitage offers panoramic views across Javea and out to the Mediterranean. On a clear day you can make out the islands of Ibiza and Formentera shimmering in the distance.
But the Santa Lucía hermitage is not just a popular spot for dog walkers, joggers and sunset gazers. Twice a year, it opens its doors and reveals a few of its many secrets.
Photo credit: Javea.com
The Hermitages of the Reconquista – Santa Lucía & Santa Barbara
Besides the San Bartolomé church in the old town of Javea, there are remains of 10 other religious chapels and buildings called ermitas or hermitages.
Four of these are known as the ‘hermitages of the reconquista’, only three remain still standing, and only one is still a religious building dedicated to its patron saints – the Ermita de Santa Lucía y Santa Bárbara.
These hermitages are so-called because they were built between the 14th to the 15th centuries, just after the Moorish rulers of this part of Spain capitulated to King Jaime I of Aragón.
Santa Lucía – the patron saint of sight
Santa Lucía was a Christian martyr who was killed after refusing to offer a sacrifice to pagan gods of the time. She was tortured and refused to renounce her Christian faith.
She became the patron saint of sight and the blind, due to various stories about having her eyes gouged out and still seeing or due to the Latin route of Lucía being Lux or light.
Javea locals have been visiting the Santa Lucía hermitage for hundreds of years for the feast day and festival of Santa Lucía as well as to pray for help from sight-related illnesses.
The Santa Lucía hermitage itself
The Santa Lucía hermitage in Javea is a small construction, with an arch made from tosca stone at the southern entrance and an altar to the north. There are decorated tiles with a painting of Santa Lucía holding eyes on a dish in her hand.
The building once had an original 15th century bell, but this is now in the archeological museum in the old town of Javea and a replacement installed. The bell only rings once a year on the 13th December to celebrate the Santa Lucía festival.
The Santa Lucía festival is also the only day of the year when the icon of the saint is paraded around neighbouring streets.
The only other date when you can see inside the church is during the Xàbia Jazz festival, when the final concert is often played at the hermitage.
How to get to the Santa Lucía hermitage in Javea
The Santa Lucía hermitage is 163m above sea level, and it’s a steep but short climb to the top.
There are two routes to arrive at the summit. The first departs from just above the Plaza de la Constitución in the old town of Javea. A winding, rocky trail takes you up the southern side of the hill.
A second route departs from the northern side of the hill. You can drive down a dirt road and arrive at the base of a small concrete path and wooden rail. This route is steeper, but much shorter overall.