In 1238, the Arabs settled in Nules Castle surrendered to James I of Aragón, who subsequently authorised the founding of the towns of Nules and Moncofar. In 1273, he granted royal privilege for water to be brought from the Mijares River; a right enabling large parts of the town to be turned into orchards, which would lead to the establishment of a sizeable group of settlers.
Owing to the huge influence of Gilabert de Centelles y Montcada on the court of Peter IV of Aragón (also known as Peter the Ceremonious), the Lord of Nules obtained the right to water and to hold markets from this monarch. He also secured royal privilege to build a quay in the Nules beach and to hold an annual two-week fair.
In 1375, owing to the war against Peter the Cruel of Castile and the great danger that the region of La Plana, invaded by the Castilians, was placed, Nules was largely abandoned by its inhabitants. Peter the Ceremonious later authorised the fortification of the town of Nules.
In the mid-16th century, the Council of the town of Nules, together with those of Moncofar, Villavieja and Mascarell (the towns forming the Barony of Nules) took legal action against the counts of Oliva and lords of Nules, with the aim of having this recognised in royal jurisdiction. This was achieved in 1582 when Nules received royal town status. It appointed a royal bailiff and a royal justice, who administered and held civil and criminal power throughout the Barony.
The Barony of Nules lost almost a third of its population when the Moors were expelled, so the losses that Centelles suffered were an excuse for the barony to return to the jurisdiction of their former lords with the title of Marquisate of Nules.
During the War of Succession, Nules was one of the few towns in the ancient Kingdom of Valencia that supported the French Pretender, backing the occupation of the Bourbon army. For this reason, Philip V granted it the titles of ‘Very Loyal’ and ‘Most Faithful’ and gave it its own coat of arms.
Mascarell is a small fortified enclosure that is one-of-a-kind in the Valencian Community. It became an annex of Nules in the late 19th century. This Site of Cultural Interest (BIC, in Spanish) has a recently-created garden that helps to create a welcoming atmosphere. Around 200 people currently live in Mascarell.
The town’s origins are closely linked to the expulsion of the Muslim population from the neighbouring town of Burriana. The first document that refers to the settlement of expelled people in Mascarell dates back to 1310. James I of Aragón expelled the Moors from Burriana, who then settled on the border of Nules and Burriana (Mascarell). Mascarell was almost depopulated following the expulsion of the Moors, and it was not until well into the 18th century that it managed to overcome this crisis.
Its main landmarks include the late 18th-century town hall, built with small but balanced and tasteful proportions; and its parish church built at the end of the 17th century, which has interesting sgraffito work similar to that of the La Sangre church. Its walls are made of mortar, earth and brick, and there is a tower in the middle of each side wall. The almost-quadrangular Mascarell has two access points: one on the East side and one on the West side.
L’Estany Natural Area, declared a Municipal Natural Spot in 2004, is one of the best preserved and most visited natural spaces in our area. This 2.7 hectare lagoon once formed part of a larger coastal lagoon that was directly connected to the beach.
Benicató was an important rural Roman villa, which served as both a farm and a residence. It is located on the outskirts of the city, nestled amongst orange groves around 2.5 km from the coastline. It would have been inhabited between the 1st century BC and the 4th century AD, enjoying its glory years in the 2nd century AD.
Enrique Giner Medal Making Museum
This museum, which is based on the legacy of the sculptor Enrique Giner and is housed within the 18th century San Miguel hermitage (also known as The Fort), is the only museum in Spain dedicated to the art of medal making. The museum was opened in 1995 and is considered a landmark in the Valencian Community.
Carmelitas Descalzos Convent
The church has a Latin cross floor plan with a dome and side chapels that are connected by an ambulatory. In front of the church there is a stone-walled square which is decorated by Mannerist balls and pyramids. It is considered to be one of the finest exponents of Discalced Carmelites architecture in Spain.
Nuestra Señora de la Soledad Chapel
This chapel was built between 1757 and 1769 and has a centralised floor plan. It is one of the finest exponents of Rococo architecture in the region.
San Bartolomé y San Jaime Archpriest Church
This church is built in an eclectic-historicist style and was designed by Julián Fournier.
This theatre was built in 1954 in an eclectic style featuring historicist and art deco elements.
Located within the old La Sangre church, this museum showcases pieces of archaeological, artistic and ethnological interest, all of which come from the area belonging to the former Marquisate of Nules.
San Miguel Hermitage (The Fort)
This hermitage was built by Antonio Gilabert, who was a precursor to Valencian neoclassicism. In 1811 it was occupied by the troops of General Suchet during the War of Independence, who converted it into barracks for the French troops. For this reason, it is also known as ‘The Fort’. It currently houses the Enrique Giner Medal Making Museum.
La Sangre Church
This church has a ‘Reconquista’ floor plan, but was built in a late Gothic style.
La Inmaculada Church
This church was built in the first half of the 18th century. Its decoration is similar to that of the La Soledad Chapel.
San Joaquín Hermitage
This was built in the early 20th century in a neogothic style.
San Blas Chapel
The origins of this former hospital chapel date back to the city’s very foundation.
The Estany (lagoon) and Marjal (marshes) of Nules are wetlands of great value and biodiversity. They are shelters for resident and nesting waterfowl, which spend their breeding period here in the spring and summer months. Its proximity to the coast is also a key point for migratory birds, which rest here before or after crossing the Mediterranean on their long journeys between Africa and Europe. The peat bogs, lagoons and horticultural crops of Nules are therefore ideal for observing a large number of species.