General Information IconDolores

Aerial View of Dolores

Inside the province of Alicante, Diocese of Orihuela, the of Dolores was remaining confined by the North, on Crevillente's term(end); This one those of Elche and Guardamar; South, those of Rojales, the Dayas, Populates of Rocamora and Almoradí, and in the West, those of Orihuela, Rafal, Callosa de Segura, Saladar of Albatera and Catral. Its area will be 2 leagues from North to South, and 3 from East to West. All this area was barren in another time, damp and almost always swamp, growing only in it salicornias, sálsonas and others plant that love the dampness. The decomposition of the waters by the heats of the Sun and the corruption of the plants was a perennial focus of persistent diseases, which degenerating often into pestilential epidemics, was spreading over the whole Orihuela's garden, causing the major devastations and diminishing notably the population.

Plaza del Cardenal Belluga

Sympathized who was Bishop of Cartagena, the Cardinal D. Luis Belluga and Moncada, when he seen so many disasters, and that the death had taken over one of the best areas of Spain, he conceived the grand project to destroy the area of that evil, draining the area, excavating azarbes, and opening a multitude of channels where the waters run freely into the river or lagoon of Elche. For this purpose the Cardinal Belluga acquired in 1.715 of Orihuela's City 25.000 tahullas belonged to him by means of a short contribution forced to pay anually, which donation was confirmed by The King Philip V, on December 15 of the same year; Of Guardamar del Segura the 13.000 tahullas of that he was an owner for contract, which was granted in Orihuela in July 20 of 1.720, with approval of His Majesty, in that he was forced to satisfy annually to the above mentioned Villa, 150 pounds in remuneration of the fishing that obtained, and in addition 150 pounds destined to the poor of the same one; and finally His Majesty made the donation of 2000 to him that form what was known as Majada Vieja, all of which add the totality of 40.000 tahulla.

A few years were enough to see this philanthropic enterprise crowned the happiest success, and as a result of his plans he saw that low and swampy area raised to major level with the lands of the excavations; and the waters flooded before of this surface, went down to looking for its level, running for the new channels: the swampy places remained dry, and this desolate and unhealthy area, was transformed briefly in beautiful gardens planning with beautiful and different green the sad colour of the aquatic plants, which previously covered the floor. The above mentioned Cardinal at the time founded in that area the villas of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, San Felipe and San Fulgencio, and ceded all the lands in accordance with the deed approved by The King Philip V, Royal Decree of 13 September 1724, obtaining at the same time in favour of the settlers who were to settle in the country, pardon for the crimes that they had committed previously, exemption of villas for 40 years and all kinds of royal contributions, which privilege has been extending until 1.842 when it comes to taxes.

All these exemptions and privileges were necessary in order that the men were establishing in a place looked at with horror until that time; but the experience, showing the fertility and wealth of the soil, was multiplying the neighbours: the increase of the population produced the improvement of the lands; and of those muddy and flooded fields, reservoir of diseases and death, sprouted rich crops of wheat, barley, corn, wine, oil, silk, hemp, flax, banilla, fruits and vegetables. The salt lands lost with the labours, with the fertilizer and the irrigations, and very soon they shaded in that fertile garden the mulberry tree, the olive tree, the vineyard, the orange tree of China and fruit trees of any species.

Such was the wonderful transformation that has happened in the area that we describe, which constitutes a part of Orihuela's leafy garden, and as it, has its irrigations proceeding from the drainage and excess of which provided the aqueducts arising from Almoradí, Callosa and Alfeitamí’s dams and in azarbes of Moncada. Participation of Catral, Abanilla, Mayayo and Kingdom, which assembled go on to the Pías Foundations where they take advantage of the living waters, in fertilizing 30.000 tahullas of the 40.000 that belongs to the terms of Dolores, San Felipe de Neri and San Fulgencio, counting in every 18 days, at a rate of 16 tahullas per hour, checking it by means of the watering-can of La Horca, Mimbres, Panas, Berenguelas, Nuera, Conesas, Sauras, Palacios and other minors. In the distribution of these irrigations the mayor deal on each one of these three villages in their respective territory, of that they are exclusive judges of waters; and they arrange it in times of shortage as required by the needs of interested parties demands, in benefit of the hanging crops. The expressed azarbes, after crossing as a league, join with secondary others who lead the channel, par to the river near its mouth and part to the lagoon of Elche.