The picturesque town of Sax tumbles down a hillside in the Vinalopó Valley, in south-eastern Spain and is one of a series of towns and villages in this region of the Cost Blanca which are dominated by castles. Sax has a population of around 9,000 and is located between the towns of Villena and Elda. The history of Sax goes back to the times of the Moorish occupation beginning during the Eighth Century and little is known of the town prior to that time.
The Castillo de Sax (Castle of Sax) which illuminates the town at night was originally built on a limestone ridge during the Tenth Century and the Levante tower from the Twelfth Century still survives today, the keep and courtyards were built at a later date. Despite its strong defensive position, both Sax and its castle were taken by troops under Jaime I of Aragon in 1239 and later in 1476 Sax became part of the Marquisate de Villena, within the province of Murcia. During the War of Spanish Succession (1701 - 1714) Sax sided with Felipe V who conferred the title "Muy Noble y Muy Leal" on the town for its staunch support. In 1836 Sax finally became part of the province of Alicante.
Over the centuries Sax has remained primarily an agricultural town, the main crops being grapes (for wine production), olives, cereals, fruit and vegetables. Towards the latter part of the 20th Century, Sax developed some light industry including the production of shoes and leather goods, furniture and blinds, although agriculture and especially wine production are still important for the town.
Other interesting places to visit in Sax include the beautiful Parish Church of our Lady of the Assumption, originally built between 1530 and 1550, it was extended in 1789, the Ermita de San Blas (Hermitage of Saint Blas), the Ermita de la Soledad (Hermitage of Loneliness), El Pocico de la Nieve (snow cave), a pit in which snow was stored to supply water during the summer, and the small but interesting Museo Archaeológico which outlines the history of the area.
The people of Sax are warm and friendly and the town has a good selection of shops, tapas bars and restaurants, a market is held twice weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays. As always Sax has its share of fiestas and festivals, the main one being the Moors and Christians festival held during the first 2 weeks of February.
The towering rock which looms over Sax is a popular place for rock climbing the most notable ascent being the Peñas del Rey.
To visit the castle you need to go to the local police station in Calle Maestro Vives 14 in Sax, admission if free and opening times are Monday - Friday 9am - 2pm, Saturdays and Sundays 9am - 6pm, guided tours can be arranged by booking in advance, phone the Town Hall on 0034 965 474 006 (mornings).
The tiny hamlet of Salinas lies close to Sax and from here you can visit the Sierra de Salinas Nature Reserve containing its own salt lake with a number of protected species of flora and fauna.
Sax is located just off the A-31 (Alicante to Albacete) between Villena and Elda.