Nestled along the Mediterranean coast, the picturesque town of Altea is renowned for its charming, narrow streets, stunning sea views, and vibrant arts scene. But amidst this quintessentially Spanish setting lies an unexpected spiritual landmark: the Russian Orthodox Church, also known as the Church of the Archangel Michael. This architectural gem, unique to the Costa Blanca, offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into Russian culture and spirituality. In this article, we’ll delve into the history, architecture, and significance of the Russian Church in Altea.
Also read: 16 Things to do in Javea
A Brief History
The Russian Orthodox Church of the Archangel Michael in Altea was inaugurated in 2007 as a result of the collaborative efforts of the local Russian community, the Spanish municipality, and the Moscow Patriarchate. Its construction was financed primarily by Russian businessman and philanthropist, Vladimir Solovyov, who sought to create a spiritual haven for Russian expatriates living in the region.
An Architectural Marvel
Designed by Spanish architect Miguel Angel Crespo, the Russian Church in Altea is a remarkable example of traditional Russian ecclesiastical architecture. Its distinctive onion-shaped domes, which are covered in gold leaf, stand out against the Costa Blanca’s azure skies, creating an eye-catching landmark that can be seen from miles away.
The church’s exterior is characterized by its white plastered walls and ornate wooden carvings, which are typical of Russian religious buildings. Inside, visitors are greeted by a beautiful, hand-painted iconostasis – a traditional Orthodox screen that separates the nave from the sanctuary – adorned with religious icons and vibrant frescoes. The church’s interior also features a rich collection of Russian religious art, offering a visual feast for art enthusiasts and those interested in religious iconography.
A Spiritual Oasis
The Church of the Archangel Michael is not only an architectural marvel but also a spiritual oasis for the local Russian community and visitors alike. It serves as a place of worship, where regular services are conducted in the Russian Orthodox tradition. The church’s serene atmosphere offers a tranquil space for prayer, meditation, and reflection, providing solace and spiritual nourishment to those who visit.
Cultural Exchange and Community Outreach
Beyond its religious significance, the Russian Church in Altea plays a vital role in fostering cultural exchange and understanding between the Spanish and Russian communities. The church regularly hosts concerts, exhibitions, and cultural events that showcase Russian art, music, and history, enriching the cultural tapestry of Altea and the Costa Blanca.
In addition, the church is committed to community outreach, providing support and assistance to those in need. Through charitable initiatives and social programs, the church seeks to make a positive impact on the lives of both the local Russian and Spanish communities.
Getting to the Russian Church in Altea from Javea
The trip from Javea to Altea is straightforward and offers several transportation options. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get to the Russian Church in Altea from Javea.
The most convenient and flexible way to reach the Russian Church in Altea from Javea is by car. The journey covers approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) and takes around 45 minutes, depending on traffic.
- Head southwest from Javea toward the CV-740 road.
- Continue on the CV-740 for about 10 kilometers (6 miles) until you reach the N-332 road.
- Turn right onto the N-332 and follow it south for approximately 22 kilometers (13.7 miles).
- Take the exit toward Altea/Callosa d’en Sarrià/CV-755 from the N-332.
- At the roundabout, take the second exit onto the CV-755, following signs for Altea.
- After about 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) on the CV-755, turn right onto Calle La Mar (CV-746).
- Continue on Calle La Mar for approximately 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) and then turn left onto Avenida del Mediterráneo (N-332).
- Drive for about 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) and then turn right onto Camino del Algar.
- In roughly 1 kilometer (0.6 miles), you’ll find the Russian Orthodox Church of the Archangel Michael on your left.
By Public Transport:
If you prefer public transportation, you can take a combination of buses to reach the Russian Church in Altea from Javea. The journey may take approximately 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the bus schedules.
- From Javea, take the ALSA bus (Line 160) toward Benidorm. The bus departs from Avenida del Pla (Javea Bus Station) and has several stops along the route.
- After approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes, disembark at Benidorm Bus Station.
- From Benidorm Bus Station, take the LLORENTE BUS (Line 10) towards Altea.
- Disembark at the Altea bus stop, which is located close to the town center.
- From the Altea bus stop, the Russian Church is about a 25-minute walk away. Alternatively, you can take a taxi for a quicker and more comfortable ride.
Remember to check the bus schedules in advance and account for possible waiting times between bus connections.
Whether you choose to travel by car or public transport, the journey from Javea to the Russian Church in Altea offers a scenic route along the beautiful Costa Blanca coastline. Once you arrive, be prepared to immerse yourself in the unique spiritual and cultural experience that the Church of the Archangel Michael has to offer.
The Russian Church in Altea is a unique spiritual landmark that adds a touch of architectural and cultural diversity to the Costa Blanca. Its striking design, rich religious art, and serene atmosphere make it a must-visit destination for those exploring the region. As a symbol of cultural exchange and community engagement, the Church of the Archangel Michael serves as a shining example of the harmonious coexistence of different traditions and beliefs.