Guest author: Darlene Foster – Peaceful Sanctuary at Novelda

Spain is well known for its fascinating cathedrals such as La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, The Mesquite in Cordoba and the Cathedral of Seville to name a few. Besides the well-known religious structures, there are many smaller places of worship tucked away in villages, mountains and locations not often frequented by tourists. I love discovering these as they have their own distinctive personalities and are certainly worth a visit.

Sue has graciously agreed for me to be a guest on her blog so I can tell you about a few of these lesser known churches in Spain we have discovered, not far from where we live. One of the most unique being the Sanctuary of Santa Maria Magdalena near Novelda, in Alicante province, only an hour drive from our place.

Although I love scouring old sites, this delightful example of Spanish Art Nouveau, was built between 1918 and 1946, so is relatively new in Spanish standards. It was designed by Jose Sala Sala, a student of the Catalonian genius, Antoni Gaudi, whose influence is evident the minute you set eyes on it.

The main façade displays an impressive pair of twenty-five meter high bell towers each topped with a stone cross, similar to the towers of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. The master’s influence is also apparent in the decorative motifs, the Baroque style and the influence of nature.  The architect cleverly combined stones and pebbles from the nearby Vinalopo River with multi-coloured tiles, bricks and masonry to create a unique exterior. We have visited this site a number of times, often bringing overseas guests, and notice different details every time.

With curved windows, the occasional stained glass, statues, azulejos and an interesting roof, it is worth walking around the outside more than once.

Above the front door, in three receded stone alcoves, are paintings depicting the biblical story of Mary Magdalene washing the feet of Jesus with precious oil. Saint Mary Magdalene is the patron saint of Novelda.

Inside the small chapel is an exquisite organ made entirely out of marble, the only one of its kind in the world. I have not heard it being played but I understand it is very effective.

Other than the unique organ, the interior is fairly plain, with not much adornment except paintings of the saints lining the walls and one by Gaston Castello displayed behind the altar.  I found it to be very peaceful without the hordes of tourists to spoil the ambiance.

Beside the sanctuary are the remains of the medieval castle of Mola, El Castillo do la Mola, built in the 12th century over a previous Roman Fortress. So there is something for history buffs as well. It is open to the public but closes for siesta time. On one occasion, as hubby and I enjoyed a cool drink, our guests went to have a look around the ruins and found themselves locked in the high walls. The caretaker eventually heard their cries for help and let them out. Something to tell the folks back home. Not every day one gets locked in an eight hundred year old castle!

The sanctuary sits on top of a hill overlooking a tranquil valley below. There is a lovely little tapas bar facing the sanctuary and the vista. A perfect place to relax, replenish and contemplate.

All the photographs in this post are courtesy of Darlene Foster.

Find and follow Darlene

Website: Darlene Foster    Facebook   Amazon author page

WordPress Blog     Goodreads      Twitter@supermegawoman

_mg_0158-edit-smAbout the author

Brought up on a ranch in southern Alberta, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world and meeting interesting people. She also believes everyone is capable of making their dreams come true. It’s no surprise that she’s now an award-winning author of children’s adventure books who divides her time between the west coast of Canada and Orihuela Costa, in Spain.

Click the titles or images to go to Amazon

Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind

Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit an ancient and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past. Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere? Perhaps the Day of the Dead will reveal the mysteries of Taos in this latest adventure of Amanda’s travels.

51s5-ybaql-_uy250_Amanda in Spain

Amanda Jane Ross is certainly becoming a world traveller; she’s now in sunny Spain on vacation with her friend Leah. While there, she encounters a mysterious young girl who looks eerily like the girl in a famous painting she saw in a Madrid museum. Even weirder, the girl keeps showing up wherever Amanda finds herself – Madrid, the remote mountains of rural Spain, the beaches on the Mediterranean Sea, a lively fiesta and the busy streets of Barcelona. Amanda wants to help this sweet, young girl and her beloved pony escape the clutches of a mean horse-dealer. Come with Amanda on her next adventure as she attempts to unravel the mystery behind the Girl in the Painting while she treks across Spain – always one step ahead of danger!

Amanda in Alberta

51qqrgchsxl-_uy250_Amanda is delighted to show Leah around Alberta during her visit from England. They take in the Calgary Stampede, go on a cattle drive, visit Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, spend time with the dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum and explore the crazy Hoodoos. When Amanda finds a stone with a unique mark on it, she doesn’t think it’s important until everyone seems to want it – including a very ornery cowboy. Is this stone worth ruining Leah’s holiday and placing them both in danger? Spend time with Amanda as she explores her own country while attempting to decipher the mysterious writing on the stone and keep it from those determined to take it from her.

51v70ddl03l-_uy250_Amanda on the Danube

Twelve year old Amanda Ross finds herself on an elegant riverboat with her bestie, Leah, cruising down the beautiful Danube, passing medieval castles, luscious green valleys and charming villages. When she is entrusted with a valuable violin by a young, homeless musician during a stop in Germany, a mean boy immediately attempts to take it from her. Back on their cruise, Amanda struggles to keep the precious violin safe for the poor prodigy. Along the way, she encounters a mysterious monk, a Santa Claus look-alike, and the same nasty boy.  Follow Amanda down the Danube, through Germany, Austria and Hungary, as she enjoys the enchanting sounds of music everywhere she goes. She remains on the lookout though, wondering just who she can trust.

Amanda in Arabia5150g0flfrl-_uy250_

Amanda Ross is an average twelve year old Canadian girl. So what is she doing thousands of kilometres from home in the United Arab Emirates? It’s her own fault really, she wished for adventure and travel when she blew out those candles on her last birthday cake. Little did she know that a whole different world awaited her on the other side of the globe, one full of intrigue, mystery and folklore. A world with a beautiful princess, a dangerous desert and wonderful friends. Join Amanda on her first adventure as she discovers the secrets behind The Perfume Flask.

Amanda in England51wdzbucljl-_uy250_

Amanda Ross is visiting England and taking in all the sights. She gets lost in the maze at Hampton Court, does some shopping at Harrods, meets the ravens in the Tower of London, explores Windsor Castle, and rides the London Eye. When she discovers a vintage book is missing from a collection, she is determined to find out who stole it. Amanda befriends a pair of tough teenagers from the streets of London, an elderly bookshop owner, and a big, friendly, clever, Maine Coon cat named Rupert. Follow Amanda through cobblestone streets, medieval castles, and underground tunnels in her quest to find the missing novel!


About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
This entry was posted in Art, Books, Churches, Guest post, historic sites, Photography, Sacred sites, travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Guest author: Darlene Foster – Peaceful Sanctuary at Novelda

  1. Wow…just wow.. gorgeous

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Colline says:

    The details make this a place vastly different to what I see in my neighbourhood.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Guest author: Darlene Foster – The Militant Negro™

  4. Bonnie Robbins says:

    Lovely church, informative and interesting article,it left me feeling that I would love to visit a church like this one.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The artwork in these Churches is incredible. I would love to visit them.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Jennie says:

    Stunning photos!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Darlene says:

    Reblogged this on Darlene Foster's Blog and commented:
    I am a guest on Sue Vincent´s blog where I share information and pictures of a unique sanctuary I´ve visited here in Spain. Sue´s blog is very interesting with many great posts. Check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Gilda Baxter says:

    Beautiful church in such a gorgeous location. I also like the idea of the lovely little tapas bar to appreciate the view even more😄

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Sue Slaght says:

    I think I would love for you to be my tour guide Darlene! Astounding architecture.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The detail is so impressive. What a lovely place to worship. 1916 – 1946 is new in comparison to the older cathedrals. Gorgeous photos!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Gorgeous photos Darlene. Wish I was over there to view these for myself. One day!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Dr B says:

    We are fans of churches too though not in a religious sense. Both locally and when travelling we always use churches as a means to learn something about the local history, for example in tonight’s post I will mention Chester’s second cathedral and its link with King Æthelred. Then there was Rochester Cathedral where we discovered Textus Roffensis the forerunner of Magna Carta. Locally we have abandoned churches or miles away from their original villages because of The Black Death, or wall paintings over 1000 years old that were the forerunner of PowerPoint presentations! Visiting Malaga next week and ….. the cathedral will be our first stop.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. dgkaye says:

    Just gorgeous photos. I love the architecture of the castle and I’ve never heard of an organ made out of marble! Thanks Sue. ❤ and Darlene 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pictures are incredible Darlene…I am blown away by the incredible detail of this structure…such a magnificent and grandiose exterior and yet the sanctuary is intimate and warm! Beautiful and thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Wow.. amazing post.. what an amazing architecture

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Megha says:

    Beautiful church and incredible pictures. Your pictures and article make me want to visit it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Awesome! Photos are just amazing how much more in seeing them in real life. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Something about these solid rock churches/chapels. I would love to have one for a peaceful sanctuary in my neighborhood.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Such a beautiful church. I had never heard of a marble organ till now.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Pingback: March 2018 BCATW Buzz

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.