Places of Interest in Elche, Orihuela Costa, Costa Blanca, Spain
Elx - Elche Costa Blanca
Elx - Elche, a historcal city located near Alicante on the Spanish Mediterranean with its wonderful climate and excellent transport links which make this an ideal destination for holidaymakers and business people alike, whatever the time of year, as the Costa Blanca is reputed to be the healthiest area in the world according to the World Health Organisation. Why live or visit any where else ?
There are a number of museums including the MAHE, Elche's Archaeological and History Museum and the recently restored Santa Maria Basilica which dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries and close by is La Calahorra, not forgetting the ancient Almohade defence tower.
To make your stay in the city of Elche enjoyable, whether it is for a day or more, there is so much to see and discover in Elche, not forgetting the Arab Baths, located beneath the La Merce Convent and the Town Hall, the oldest building of its kind in the Southern region of Valencia.
El Huerto del Cura, The Palm Groves, an oasis of over 200,000 palm trees and cactii, is the most outstanding feature of Elx's urban landscape, lined in orchards inherited from the Arabs since between 8th and 12th centuries. El Huerto del Cura, as the Palm Groves are known were awarded the name as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2000.
The walks of the Palm Groves cover 2 kilometers of the most important orchards to be found in this several hundred year old Palm Groves. Ideally, the best time to walk through the grove is at dusk, just as the last rays of sun glimmer through the branches of the palm trees, offering visitors an unforgettable experience. The Arabs developed palm tree farming and designed a complex articulated irrigation system using channels which transported water to the orchards.
Festivals : Elx celebrate Palm Sunday with a procession that should not be missed, it is amazing, well worth a visit this year, Sunday 5th April, which has been declared a Festival of International Tourist Interest. In addition, the Moors and Christians festivals are also very special with their colourful parades as well as Holy week.
Elx's most outstanding celebrations are the acts carried out in Honour of the Virgen de la Asuncion, Elx's patron Saint, which are held every August. The highlights of this festival are the annual performances of El Misteri adn the specatcular Nit de l'Alba, when thousands of multicoloured fireworks are set off by the people of Elx to light up the night sky all over the city.
The Mystery Play of Elche, is the last living vestige of European medieval religious theatre. It is the only play that is acted out in its entirety within a temple and it recounts the death and ascension to heaven of the Virgin Mary. This beautiful play has been enacted uninterruptedly each year since the 15th century in the Santa Maria Basilica, composing of two acts, la Vespra and la Festa. UNESCO recognised the value of this theatrical performance by declaring it as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2001, as an example of how culture is handed down from generation to generation.
Food, Elche's most famous dish is Arros amb Crostra (oven-backed rice with a variety of sausages), although Rice with rabbit and snails and Putxero amb Tarongetes (stew with meat dumplings) a very tasty dish, rounded off with locally grown fruits such as dates, figs or pomegranetes.
Beaches and natural areas. Elche has 9 kilometres of sandy beaches with clear water of the Mediterranean Sea and sand dunes that create the backdrop to the beaches of l'Altet, els Arenals del Sol, el Carabassi, el Pinet, la Marina and les Pesqueres-el Rebollo.
Elche is home to a number of areas of great ecological value including the Natural Park of El Hondo, the Clot de Galvany Nature Reserve and Las Salinas Natural Park, where visitors follow the trail on foot, there are bird watching towers and a Nature Workshop, where organisted leisure and educational activities are on offer.
Elche is a modern city whose economy is closely linked with the footwear industry. It is in fact, Spain's leading shoe manufacturer and exporter.