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A walk through a Mediterranean rainforest

Estubeny sits in an area of profound seclusion and peace, with splendid views and hidden forests. In centuries past it was a Moorish farmstead, and it was resettled in the 17th century.

As soon as you arrive you will be captivated by the beautiful view of the Sellent River from a vantage point overlooked by a large Mediterranean hackberry tree that is almost one hundred years old. The view opens up over a valley of Mediterranean vegetation and fertile agricultural land. The path that runs under the vantage point offers easy access to the wash house with its fountain and watering trough, from where the vegetable plots are irrigated. The same path descends to the “La Cabrentà” Nature Park.

A walk through the town’s peaceful streets, helps us to understand what the homes were like of farm workers and the craftspeople who made palm brooms, with a loft for storing crops, as well as wood and ironwork balconies, and other typical elements from traditional Mediterranean architecture. Among the town’s unique buildings, the Church of Saint Onuphrius is one of a kind (rebuilt after the earthquake of 1748) with its curious free-standing bell tower. Alongside the church is a complex of old public school buildings (now a bar and social premises) which dates to the mid-20th century. The church interior offers pleasant surprises to those who love art and heritage. On the main altar there is a small baroque effigy of the anchorite Saint Onuphrius which dates back to 1643. A beautiful neoclassical chapel houses a statuette of Our Lady of Sorrows, from 1795, a work by the prestigious Valencian sculptor José Esteve Bonet, which was given to Estubeny by the Count of Campo Alange. The room behind the tabernacle contains a statuette of San Vicente Ferrer that is also baroque and dates from the 18th century, while, safely guarded in the sacristy we find a chalice of gilded silver from 1791, a gift from the grand almoner to King Charles IV of Spain.

Estubeny celebrates the bonfire festival of St. Anthony the Abbot (17 January), the festival of St. Onuphrius in the second weekend in June (with a bonfire and barbecue), and its patron saint festivals at the end of August in honour of the Christ of La Buena Dicha, the Immaculate Conception and the “Mare de Déu dels Dolors” (Our Lady of Sorrows). The most typical dish is baked rice, to which the festival of “cassoleta is devoted during Lent.

Estubeny has charming landscapes, with springs such as those of Tío Blanco and Tío Marcelino. In La Taberneta, there is a wooded area, with a spring. However, there is nothing like descending to the slope by the river (a few minutes from the town) to discover “La Cabrentà”, a space declared a Municipal Nature Park; an authentic Mediterranean rainforest with broken limestone rock formations, adorned by springs and streams, and covered by lush vegetation that includes laurels, Mediterranean hackberries, pomegranate, ferns and ivies, among many other species. The path through the park, labyrinthine, yet safe and signposted, invites us to discover a magical environment.

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