An icon of 16th century Valencian architecture
Founded as a royal hospital by Jaume I in 1244 and rebuilt centuries later, this is one of the most striking and fascinating monuments in Xàtiva. In addition to its mesmerising beauty, it presents an intriguing blend of late Gothic architecture and the first steps in Renaissance style, and is the building that best exemplifies mid-16th century Valencian architecture. The hospital has tended the health of Xàtiva residents for more than five centuries.
The right-hand door leading into the Gothic chapel has an ogee arch bordered by flamboyant pinnacles. A series of magnificent angel musicians curve above the last archivolt and around the image of the Virgin and Child.
The façade houses some unusual windows with Gothic traces. The whole is crowned with a gallery of small, semi-circular arches very similar to those found in Florentine palaces of the time.
The central door, conceived as a triumphal arch with Doric pilasters, a frieze, a pediment and shell-headed niches, is completely Renaissance in style. Three large windows centred above the doorway open in harmonious symmetry, while a fourth, located on the left-hand side, is slightly more detached from the others, endowing the façade with pleasing visual balance.
The hospital was hard hit by the fire of 1707, especially inside, and was rebuilt in the early 18th century, when its rooms were decorated with tiled panelling from the Royal Factory of Valencia. In 2006, on the occasion of the La Luz de las Imágenes exhibition, the chapel was restored to house the visitor reception centre. This restoration brought to light polychrome details in the figures on its façade.