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Surrondings

 ONDA

When you visit Onda you sense the bustle of an industrial city combined with the tranquillity of a village steeped in history; you visit one of the principal areas of production and commercialization of ceramics in the world which has centuries of tradition in this craft to show as a guarantee of origin. The cultural setting of Onda consists of three focal points of major interest: el Museo de Ciencias Naturales, el Castillo de Onda, one of the best fortresses of our lands, which houses a magnificent collection of Muslim plasterwork objects on display, as well as el Museo de Historia Local, and el Museo del Azulejo “Manolo Safont”, an institution that undoubtedly highlights the tile production of the area.

 MUSEUM CASTLE

This is a Local History Museum which features the magnificent and unique collection of Muslim plasterwork artefacts, one of its kind in the Region of Valencia, from a mansion house from the beginnings of the XIII Century.

 MUSEUM OF TILE

This museum, which is wholly dedicated to tiles, has over 80.000 items and shows the evolution of tiles since the Classical period to the modern day. It features collections of tiles from the XIX and XX Centuries, and industrial ethnological objects and documentary series from this latest period.

 MUSEUM OF NATURAL  SCIENCES  El Carmen

Found in El Carmen convent, this museum contains some outstanding collections from the animal, vegetable and mineral worlds. There are more than 2,000 species of mammals, fish, reptiles, crustaceans and batrachians, as well as nearly 1,000 species in the entomology section, more than 1,500 plants, 2,000 minerals and more than 500 fossils, and an equal number in the malacology or mollusc section. There are also nearly fifty anatomic and bone samples.

OLD TOWN

This is made up of numerous narrow streets and small squares that still maintain their medieval character. A number of ceramic plaques (XVIII-XX Centuries) are highlighted on the route, and are dedicated to the saints that the streets and squares also take their names from.

 

 SIERRA DE ESPADAN NATURE PARK

The Iberian range seems to want to reach out to the Mediterranean via the Espina and Espadán sierras, separating the Mijares and Palancia river basins. The Espina sierra is crowned by mount Santa Bárbara de Pina (1,405m) sheltering valuable vegetation on its skirts. In the Espadán sierra, a unique combination of Triassic sandstone soil and copious rainfall maintains magnificent pine tree and cork oak forests. The villages of Aín, Almedíjar, Eslida, and Villamalur - among others - provide access to the Sierra de Espadán Nature Park, with its network of signposted hiking routes: the GR-36 and a number of Short-Distance Hiking Routes. Around the festivity of San Juan (24 June) the extraction of cork from the cork oaks enlivens the local scenery, with the usually dark tree trunks turning bright red in a magic contrast of chromatics.

The Serra d'Espadà Nature Reserve is located in the south of Castellón province, in the last foothills of the Iberian System, being one of the best kept natural spaces in the whole Valencian Community.

The Sierra de Espadán is a large mountain range with countless springs, cool ravines and shady cork oak woods, spreading over the counties of Alto Mijares, Alto Palancia and la Plana Baixa, between the basins of the river Mijares and the Palancia.

 The surface area classified as nature reserve takes up roughly 31,000 Ha. This fact has made it the largest extension of Protected Natural Space in the Valencian Community. Of the 19 municipalities connected, 11 have their municipal boundaries within the limits of the nature reserve (Aín, Alcudia de Veo, Almedíjar, Azuébar, Chóvar, Eslida, Fuentes de Ayódar, Higueras, Pavías, Torralba del Pinar and Villamalur); while the other 8 (Alfondeguilla, Algimia de Almonacid, Artana, Ayódar, Matet, Sueras, Tales and Vall de Almonacid), are only partially included.

 The different uses made of the resources and activities respecting the environment are all reflected over the different landscapes making up the Espadán Range. The socio-economic activities of the zone have concentrated on the traditional exploitation of natural resources, such as for example the exploitation of cork oaks for extracting cork. Other products of the range are honey, oil, cherries, water, etc...

The crops farmed are the carob, almond, olive, cherry and other fruit trees. One of the most important of these is the olive, for the excellent quality of the oil, as well as the cherries grown at the bottom and on the sides of the valleys. The orographic characteristics mean that the mountain farming here stands out more for its quality than for the volume produced.

 Apiculture is another well-developed business in the zone, there being a large number of hives which provide, apart from excellent honey, other products such as the royal jelly, pollen or wax.

The waters pouring from the range are ideal for human consumption through their low lime content, which is why there are several bottling facilities in the reserve.

Another resources is the making of handles or "gaiatos" from the branches of the hackberry or "llidoner", also known as the "llatonero".

The resources of the range have been exploited since ancient times and some vestiges of these still remain today such as the "pous de neu" or ice houses for obtaining ice, which used to be distributed  among the towns of the Plana Baixa. One example of this trade is the Castro ice house, used until the 18th century.

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