Oliva is a municipality in the comarca of La Safor, in the province of Valencia, Spain. Counting 28.400 inhabitants. (ENI 2011). It lies a few kilometres south of Gandia, where the marshlands lie alongside fields specially drained for the cultivation of oranges. In the centre of the town stands the house in which Gregorio Mayans and his family lived and it is one of the best-preserved 18th-century stately homes of its type in the town. Restored in 1988 to be redeployed as the Casa de Cultura, since 1999 it has been the Oliva headquarters of the Valencian Museum of Illustration and Modern Art.
On the street of Santísimo, is one of the clay kilns used by Roman potters in the 1st century A.D. where bottles, tiles and construction material typically used in rural towns in what is now La Safor, was produced 2,000 years ago. Unearthed in 1988 during the excavation of the plot to build the Savoy cinema, it is part of an extensive network of Roman pottery workshops discovered from 1975 onwards in what is now the centre of Oliva.
The San Roc Abbey home of the San Roc Abbotts, which is of Mudéjar origin, is highly-representative of popular architecture in the 17th and 18th centuries. The San Roc church has its roots in the Muslim community that occupied the Raval neighbourhood in the mid-15th century. The church was not built until the 19th century, with the exception of the chapel of Christ, which dates back to 1749. The chapel, a true gem of the Baroque era, was built in the 18th century thanks to parishioners’ donations. Its base is in the shape of a Greek cross and the frescoes inside its domed roof are one of its most striking features. To the right of the church is the Arco del Fossar, an ancient archway that provided access to the Christian cemetery.
Strolling through the Raval district of Oliva you will find streets like Calle La Hoz which, given the humble houses built in the 16th century on rocks, its L-shape and severe gradient, is one of the most unusual in Oliva.
You will also find Calle Pou d’Alcina, which still conserves traces of the Muslim era, a steeply-sloping street that widens out in parts to allow access to the houses. You can also see the well (pozo, or pou in valenciano) that gives the street its name.
In the town square You will find the statue of the Admiral Gabriel Císcar i Císcar, one of the most celebrated inhabitants of the town. He was born in 1760 in Oliva and was the nephew of local celebrity Gregorio Mayans. Císcar was a great mathematician and naval officer. He published works related to science and mathematics, all of which had some relation to the seafaring world, and carried out experimental sea voyages.