Ceramic Route by Alcalatén Castellón
Ceramic Route by Alcalatén Castellón
In the region of L'Alcalatén, at the foot of the second highest peak in the Region of Valencia, is Alcora, known internationally for its ceramics since the eighteenth century. Pieces produced at the kilns of the Real Fábrica de Loza y Porcelana del Conde Aranda, competed with those of greater fame in the continent, reaching the primary markets of Spain, Europe, and America.
L'Alcora is located in the centre of the province of Castellón, just 20 kilometres from the coast and at the foot of the Penyagolosa massif, "Gegant de Pedra," flagship peak in the Region of Valencia. It is the most populated town and the capital of the region of L'Alcalatén, a region that the enlightened botanist Cabanilles described as a continuous rise. A territory that rises from 27 meters in altitude, to 1,813 meters from the roof of the province. R ravines and valleys fit between mountains that mark the landscape, with the Lucena River as the geographic axis of the region.
The neurological centre of the Castellón ceramics
L'Alcora, with more than 500 years of pottery tradition, is ceramics. In its streets, its buildings and its surroundings you can see, feel, and live the craftsmanship.
The Alfara pottery tradition dates back to at least the sixteenth century, a time when there are already records that there were many workshops for the manufacture of pots and pitchers. A tradition that passed from generation to generation creating true sagas of master potters.
Since in 1727, Count Aranda opened the doors of the Royal Porcelain and Stone Factory. Hiring the best master craftsmen from all over the world and not skimping on resources, they produced tableware and other ceramic objects capable of competing with those of greater fame the European continent. The noble founded a school of apprentices who guaranteed its continuity, the technical and artistic quality of the product, dictated to business norms and established a commercial network capable of supplying the principal markets at the time. The result was the manufacture of a highly valued and appreciated ceramic throughout the world, which came to be called "the best European pottery of the eighteenth century," becoming one of the greatest exponents on Spanish ceramics. These works are part of the collections of the most outstanding decorative arts museums in the world.
To get to know the past and present of Alcora ceramics, visitors have different options that they can adapt to their taste: museum, artisan workshops, industrial factories, old town corners and modern murals in the streets of the urban centre.
It is highly recommended to visit the Museum of Ceramics of l'Alcora, with 800 square meters of fully accessible exhibition. Besides being able to admire a collection of more than 400 pieces from the Royal Factory, collections of contemporary ceramics, traditional pieces of local pottery, and the most avant-garde works of potters from all over the world are shown. An excellent space to discover ceramics through its collections and interactive activities.
In the craft workshops you can see live the different phases of the ceramic production according to the techniques of yesteryear: lathe, modelling, stencilling, glazing, decoration, etc.. You can even participate in the development of a piece creating a memory of your visit to l'Alcora.
With a tour of the old town, you can admire chapel portals of the fourteenth century, balconies, benches, fountains, the Old Town Hall, Casa de la Música, or the cute Capilla de Marco, with a frieze inside Baroque tilework.
The tile industry offers the opportunity to know the most modern process and manufacturing techniques through a production plant tour.
The visit finishes with a tour of the city through large-format ceramic murals installed in different locations, the work of prestigious contemporary potters that has become an outdoor extension of the Museo de Cerámica de l'Alcora.
The ceramic artisans of l'Alcora, and in general throughout l'Alcalatén, have known how to preserve its ceramic essence for centuries, expanding techniques and forms, offering a great variety of high quality products; artistic and avant-garde ceramics, turning the region into the ideal place to acquire the best ceramic crafts of the Region of Valencia.