photo by Martin Parker

The Moors knew Albaida as ‘la blanca’, because of the white colour of the earth in the area. Their former presence in the town is obvious in the way that it is with most small Spanish towns, by the tiny, winding alleyways of the old town. The places of interest are all situated near the Plaza Mayor ( town square )
When you enter the Plaza you are confronted by the majestic façade of the Palacio de los Milà i Aragó. Building began somewhere between 1471 and 1477 around what was the original entrance to the town, the Porta de la Vila. There are various rooms to visit in the palace, including the private apartments of the marques who gave the building its nameAs you go through the palace archway, and housed in the palace itself is the Museo Internacional de Titelles d’Albaida, a puppet museum unique in Spain. Historic and modern examples of the puppeteers’ art have been brought from around the world, covering the decades from 1900-1970. On the other side of the arch is the Museo de Belenes, a museum devoted to the cribs (belenes) that are a major part of the Christmas celebrations throughout Spain. It also houses a model of how Albaida looked in the 15th century. In front of the museum is the Iglesia  de Santa María, built during the 16th and 17th centuries, behind whose double-arched doors and plain exterior are splendid altar paintings by Albaida’s most famous son, José Segrelles. To learn more about the life of this distinguished artist, cross the square to the pretty Casa Museu José Segrelles, a charming modernist building where the artist lived from its completion in 1940 to his death in 1969 at the age of 84. It is said he died with a brush in his hand, having had that very day completed a huge religious painting. The house was designed by Segrelles himself and has been kept very much the same as when he lived there, including the library with 11,000 volumes. On display throughout the house are his paintings, demonstrating the extraordinary range of his work.



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