Sant Nicolau de Bari

We are at number 143 of calle Ayoza (Ayoza street), in the hermitage of Sant Nicolàs de Bari, the only hermitage of this route that is located within the urban area of the city of Castellón. But this place has not always been a hermitage, in fact in the fifteenth century a Mosque was built here because at that time there was a large number of Muslim families to whom the municipal authorities provided some of the houses in this street, known as Nou street, later d’Amunt street and finally Ayoza street.

During this time there was a quiet coexistence between Christian and Muslim families, probably because at that time Muslims were also engaged in agriculture as much as the rest population of Castellón. But with the passing of time, things changed. In the 16th century there was a persecution of this cult and the mosque was destroyed. It is a period when a hermitage was built, around the second half of the sixteenth century and it has been constructed under the dedication of San Nicolas, in whose honor the hermitage and neighborhood are named, the district of San Nicolas.

The church was built in the second half of the sixteenth century but it is true that its current appearance is mostly the result of the reforms of the seventeenth century. There is an altarpiece of the high altar that is lost and what we can see today is a set of sculptures signed by the sculptor Folia. Towards the 40’s of the 20th century after the civil war, the main figure of the saint was represented in the center and the figures – on the sides that refer to the miracles of this saint. In this century XX, in the year 37, precisely in the years of the war, an important episode takes place for this site and was that the authorities prohibited the cult, so that this place was given to Masonry and became a Masonic lodge, between the years 37 and 39.

After the Civil War, the church returned to have worship and today it is one of the most popular temples for the residents of Castelló, especially on Mondays all year round. There is an important holiday marked in red on the calendar, December 6. This temple is a temple with baroque style elements, simple, with four sections, covered with a barrel vault, three chapels between buttresses, an altar covered with a dome and a high choir. But probably the most interesting feature is the elegant façade with pilasters. The mixtilinear façade alternates straight and curved cornice and in the center there is a glazed and latticed oculus with an image of the patron saint and above, a belfry with a bell. Also, on the left side there is a ceramic panel devoted to Sant Nicolau’s dedication. This temple is considered as a local cultural heritage and a stone from the tomb of Sant Nicolau, which the faithful can see and touch now on the main altar, was brought from the city of Bari, Italy,  a few years ago.