The Soler Blasco Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum Javea Details – Video
The seaport town of Javea provides the usual attractions of splendid views and sunny Mediterranean climate, but it also has a very long and fascinating history. Now you can get a glimpse of that history – indeed a broad panorama – distilled nicely in the Soler Blasco Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum.
Seaports have, from time immemorial, seen more comings and goings from more distant and diverse places around the world than any other strongholds of humankind, ever since the first sea-going travelers put oars in the water or raised a sail. In the case of Javea and its port, there is evidence of traffic as early as the seventh century BC. A visit to this museum should be at the top of your itinerary, as it gives a superior insight to the town and its other attractions.
The museum occupies the reconstructed and re-purposed old civil edifice that was built in 1662 by an important local named Antoni Banyuls. He was important mostly due to his association with Spain’s King Felipe III, for whom he served as royal butler; the original building was a palace for his King.
Not surprisingly the museum is part of Javea’s ‘old town’ where narrow streets retain their medieval appearance of arched doorways, lots of ironwork and much of the region’s famous ‘tosca’ sandstone construction so common in ancient and more recent years. With three stories topped by a roofed gallery, the Soler Blasco is warmly inviting from without and absolutely fascinating within.
The first floor exhibits include the works of a local artist, J. B. Segarra Llamas, who died in 1994 at the age of 82. The 32 artworks displayed range from watercolours to charcoal to oil to red chalk and several other techniques. In room V1 you can admire the original gorgeous ceramic floor; its hand-painted green and white tiles (known as ‘mocadorets’) have been preserved in this room only.
On the upper floor the exhibits offer an amazing tale, told in the artifacts that have been discovered along Javea’s coastline. Just this year, in January, the museum’s director Joaquim Bolufer has confirmed the presence of an ink pot that dates from the 6th or 7th century, found in a 1985 archaeological dig at Javea’s Muntanyar site. The pot, which was originally thought to be a Christian incense burner, turned out to hail from a town in Egypt, one known for its many scribes (who all needed ink pots.)
The find is not so unusual, as there is ample evidence that Javea was a busy seaport with thriving trade from all over the Mediterranean. From the 1st through the 7th centuries Javea – or the Punta de l’Arenal was a prosperous Roman settlement that boasted grand villas and even a factory that produced a fish sauce favored by the Romans, known as garum.
Visitors wandering the different floors of this museum will find all sorts of rare and valuable items that have been found in and around the vicinity of Javea, a sort of guided tour through the ages where so many countries and cultures have made their mark, in settlements or in trade. There are also current, temporary exhibits to bring the wanderer all the way forward into the 21st century.
Don’t stop wandering until you reach the roof itself; from there you have one of the best views in all of Javea. From Cabo San Antonio all the way to Cap Prim and beyond, the vista is spectacular. As a significant added attraction, the Soler Blasco has now been ‘translated’ for the benefit of English-speaking visitors.
The work was done by museum volunteers, aided by a local archaeologists to help with terminology, and has been highly praised already by British and American tourists who find the translations immensely helpful.
Best of all, entrance to the Soler Blasco Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum is free. The only days it closes are Mondays (all year), December 25th and January 1st. Visiting hours are from 10:00 am 13:oo and 18:00 to 21:00 every day, (Closed Every Monday) but remember that it closes for ‘lunch’ and re-opens in the afternoon.
Just in front of the museum after walking past the church yu will come across a small section of the ancient city walls which has been partly rebuilt.