Crumbling Valldigna monastery rescued after years of neglect
FEARS about the fate of the spectacular Santa María de la Valldigna monastery have been assuaged – the regional government has embarked on a cleaning and restoration spree.
The monastery, based in Simat de la Valldigna – and whose ornate ceiling has been compared favourably with that of Rome's Sistine Chapel – is drowning in weeds, its fountain has dried up and parts of it are crumbling due to long years with no investment.
A local heritage site, the monastery was maintained by the Jaume II el Just Foundation, run by the former PPled regional government, who started to wind it up in 2015 after leaving it €11 million in the red.
Simat's mayor Víctor Mansanet says the right-wing party's 20-year reign in the region, tainted by corruption, public fund misuse and general financial waste, left the current government in Valencia with no money to keep up the monastery.
But an exposé of the state of the complex in the Spanish daily press sparked action from the regional heritage authority, which has now started weeding and repairing.
A new maintenance firm will be taken on next year, it says.
The monastery was founded in 1298 by King Jaume II, who also named the Valldigna, or 'Fair Valley'.
It is a major visitor attraction on the Valldigna circuit and attracts thousands of daytrippers into the valley's four towns, Simat, Benifairó, Tavernes and Barx.