During the nineteenth century, the passage of French troops through the province left numerous scars, both in our physical geography and in our emotional substrate. There is a plaque located inside the Calvari hermitage whose text in the Valencian language reminds us of the names of the 29 neighbours of Sant Joan d’Alacant killed by the Napoleonic troops on 21 April 1812, during the War of Independence. That episode also ended with the looting of the hermitage and the loss of valuable images.
But the hermitage also suffered its agony during the Spanish Civil War. It was assaulted in 1936, its gates were burned and the coffers of the vía crucis disappeared. Fortunately, the hermitage owners rescued the images from the interior before the attack, taking them to a safe place in the cemetery. Once the war ended, the hermitage was repaired and the coffers were rebuilt.
In the 60s the hermitage went through a period of abandonment that culminated with a strong deterioration of the building and the disappearance of the coffers of the vía crucis. But in 2007 the town hall finally proceeded to its restoration. During those works, a lead projectile that dates from the War of Independence was found. Finally, the hermitage was open in 2009. In 2012, a plaque was placed in memory of the santjoaners killed by the Napoleonic troops in 1812.
The monumental complex on Mount Calvari, with its hermitages, wells, irrigation pools, its views of Alacant’s landmarks, the cemetery and the defence tower, is one of the most important attractions in Sant Joan d’Alacant.