The first PREHISTORIC findings of settlements in Tavernes, and in the Valencian Community, date from the Paleolithic, more than 350.000 years ago. These remains were found in the Bolomor’s cave, in the Ombria mountain. The excavations revealed that hominid communities were there, possibly the Homo Heidelbergensis.
Later, the Neandenthals settled in this area, according to the remains of different bones found in the cave (molars, canines and one parietal), and the oldest remains of household items in Europe, which means that they used the fire in a controlled manner.
The Neolithic people were sedentary, so the continuity of this population went on here. Remains have been found in the Carta’s Cave, in the Bolomor’s ravine.
During the Eneolithic period, the caves were used as necropolis, where the household items were taken. Caçador’s Cave (or Foietes) is a good example.
Due to its morphology, Tavernes was an ideal location for the IBERIAN: it was close to the sea and promontories from where they had a wide field of vision. The ruins of a fort in the South-East side of the Creus mountain, known as Castellets, Ràfol and the Teularet’s zone, confirms the existence of the Iberian.
Regarding to the ROMANIZATION, due to a lack of findings confirm only one settlement in this area during this period. There is an hypothesis which suggests that there was a Roman settlement in the South-East of the valley, because some Roman coins were found in the Ombria’s mountain.
During the MUSLIM period, the valley was called Alfàndec Valley (it means valley or ravine in Arabic) and the community was organised in small villages around the castle of Alfàndec which, together with Castellets that they occupied and restored, were the perfect surveillance system.
Some of these villages were: Gebalcobra (it means major mountain in Arabic), the ancient centre of the current Tavernes and Gebalsogra (it means menor mountain in Arabic). The colonisers in the 13th century called them Taverna and Ombria.
There were two more villages outside the valley that later would be included in the domains of the Monastery of the Valldigna: Massalari and Alcudiola (they are currenty located one around the Massalari’s corner and the other where the ancient Sant Llorenç’s hermitage is situated, a suspected ground of a former Muslim mosque). This territorial division lasted until the 19th century.
In around 1240, Jaume I conquered the valley of Alfàndec: the CHRISTIAN conquest began. To ensure the exploitation of the territory, the Muslim population was not expelled. Those who decided to stay were respected and maintained their way of living and traditions, even though they could work their fields.
The king Jaume I promoted the repopulation of the territory in 1249 and gave important territories to Christians of other places.
Jaume I also promoted the immigration of Jews to the conquered territories, they had a privileged position in the valley of Alfàndec as owners of houses and fields, they were royal generous donations. This situation lasted until the 14th century.
During the Christian conquest Mudejar people (Muslims who decided to live here after the Christian conquest) were allowed to maintain their traditions, religion and language by royal grace in the Valldigna. It was stablished by Jaume II in 1298. But this cultural and religious tolerance was decaying and the situation worsened more and more and they lost their freedom, rights and status.
In 1298, Jaume II went through this fertile land and surprised by what he saw, he called this valley Valldigna, and it is in that way from then until now. That year, he gave land to the Cister’s community to built the monastery to protect the Christians of the Ràfol.
The demarcation of the Valldigna took place en 1298, after the tranfer of land.
With the EXPULSION OF THE MOORISH, the monastery confiscated the houses and fields that had been belonged to the Muslims.
The Muslim settlers had to accept their new social situation, for example, their forced incorporation to a unfair system of lordship.
The religious conversion and the migration of the Muslims and the construction of seven church building around the villages caused the inhabitants of Ràfol moved to Gebalcobra (Tavernes) and created the most crowed town in the valley.
To stop the escape of the unbelievers, the Cistercian monks went around all villages to catechize and teach their religion to the Moorish.
The consequences of the expulsion of the Muslisms were different and complex: among other things, the economic ruin of the feudal lords, abandoned lands, long periods of economic and demographic crisis, repopulation problems, labour shortages, reduction of the harvest,…
Around the year 1575, the king Felipe II contracted a study on the defence in the coastline, for fear of being attacked by the Muslims from the coast of Africa, because the South and East coasts were often attacked by pirates and corsairs who destroyed crops and sacked the villages.
Then, a new type of construction to defend themselves from the attacks appeared: observation towers. They were built all over the coastline and were an important part of surveillance system against the enemy attacks. Guaita’s Tower of the valley, near Tavernes beach, is one of the best well-preserved towers in the Valencian Community. It was listed as a building of Cultural Interest, as a historical monument, in 2002 in the Spanish register of cultural heritage.
The 18th century was the MODERNIZATION perid. It was very possitive due to economic and demographic growth. The contionuous growth of the agriculture is also remarkable. The most rentable watered crops were the corn and the rice. Cattle was linked to the agriculture.
The Valldigna was a wonderful region and the monastery of Santa Maria was the owner of most of the properties.
Regarding to the evolution of technical improvements, the water mills were adjusted to produce flour and blanch the rice that thanks to hydraulic energy powered an efficient production system.
There are still two mills that remains standing in Tavernes: Molí Vell o del Pla is the clearest example of this type of buildings.
The completion of the modernization process was the Industrial Revolution with the most important trade revolution, the construction of the railway line from Carcaixent to Dénia in 1884. This mean of transport was used by both passengers and traders. It opened the door to trade, made the movement of people easier and enabled to communicate continuously.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that the king Alfonso XIII awarded Tavernes the title of city in 1916.