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WHAT to See in ELCHE in 1 Day – ALICANTE

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You ask yourself what to see in Elche? It is perhaps because you have heard of the marvels that this beautiful Levantine city has to offer. We must point out that they are all true. You will even find more than one surprise here in the form of palm groves in the middle of the city, ancient Arab fortresses and majestic churches.

But you will also find in Elche unique museums in the world, festivals that have their roots in the Middle Ages or archaeological sites from the Iberian period. Although it is fifteen kilometers from the coast, there are beautiful Beaches like those of Arenales de Sol, Altet or La Marina. But even more spectacular for its dunes is that of the Carabassi. In any case, without further ado, we are going to show you what to see in Elche.

The Palm Grove

The palm grove of Elche

View of the palm grove of Elche

As we said, it is one of the great symbols of the Levantine city and it has been declared Patrimonium of mankind. Unsurprisingly, it is the largest in Europe, with some five hundred hectares and between two hundred and three hundred thousand specimens.

Its most abundant variety is date palm, which the Muslims brought to Spain. But already in the Iberian remains found in the area there are representations of this tree, which shows that the palm grove is older.

In turn, the most exuberant area of ​​the complex is the so-called priest’s garden, with about a thousand specimens, some over three hundred years old (about the maximum age a palm can live). It owes its name to the chaplain José Castaño, who owned it until 1918. In turn, it highlights the imperial palm so named in honor of the famous Empress Elisabeth of Bavaria (sissy), who visited the Garden in 1894.

If you want to get to know the palm grove of Elche well, you have a road which crosses it and which you can do by bike or on foot. It is circular, since it begins and ends at Orchard of San Placido, where there is a museum about this natural wonder. In addition, it is a very easy route, since it is only about two and a half kilometers long.

Basilica of Santa Maria of Elche

Basilica of Santa Maria

Basilica of Santa Maria of Elche

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This architectural marvel combines the dominant style Italian Baroque with neoclassical elements and even medieval reminiscences. It was built between the 17th and 18th centuries on the remains of an old Gothic church which, in turn, had replaced a Muslim mosque.

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It highlights its three impressive covers, due to the sculptor Nicolas de Bussy. And, inside, we advise you to see the Chapel of the Communion and the spectacular marble tabernacle brought from Naples and the work of Jaime Bort.

Other wonders of the historic center

Calahorra Tower

Torre de la Calahorra, one of the monuments to see in Elche

The Basilica of Santa María is located in the heart of the old part of the city. But in this part you have a lot of other things to see. Its nerve center is roundabout square where you will see a replica of the famous Lady of Elche. The original sculpture, Iberian and dated between the 5th and 4th centuries BC, is in the Archaeological Museum of Madrid.

Very close is the Merced Square Where is he Convent of Santa Lucia, a beautiful three-storey building with a Renaissance façade. Also, in its basements you can see the Arab baths which consisted of three vaulted rooms and another for changing rooms.

In front of the convent, you have the JCalahorra Tower, an Arab fortification from the late 12th or early 13th century that was part of the old medieval enclosure. It was restored in the 19th century, so the ramparts will seem much more modern to you. And behind her is the Saint Isabel Square where you can see The Three Marysa precious sculptural ensemble dedicated to the Mystery of Elche, which we will discuss later. Finally, you can leave the old town via the beautiful Santa Teresa Bridge which is the oldest in the city.

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Altamira Palace, another must-see monument in Elche

Altamira Palace

Altamira Palace

Also called Lordship Palace was built in the 15th century by order of Cardenas Gutter, who was the first lord of the city after being taken by the Christians. However, to do this, he took advantage of an old Arab building that was part of the Almohad walls. Remains of them still remain today.

Its floor plan is polygonal, with cylindrical towers at the ends and another larger quadrangular or Tribute. Currently it is the seat of the Museum of Archeology and History of Elche, another visit not to be missed among the things to see in Elche. Out of curiosity, we will tell you that the palace was a prison and even housed a weaving factory.

Other towers and buildings in the city

The Gall Tower

Gall Tower

We have already told you about the Calahorra Tower, but it is not the only one you should see in Elche. The JCouncil Tower It was built in the 15th century and is currently the seat of the Town Hall. With an almost square floor plan and two bodies, it was also part of the wall. In fact, his Gate of Guardamar It served as an exit from the city. Also, attached to it is the fish market, with its pointed arches. Already in the 16th century, the entire complex was used to build a palace in the Renaissance style.

Similarly, attached to the construct is the JVetla Tower, which became an icon of the city by adding two automatons to its clock. These, named Calendura and Calendureta they are still responsible today for giving the hours and the quarters by striking two bells.

For his part, the JVaillo Tower, built in masonry and ashlar in the 15th century, served to watch over and protect the city against the arrival of enemies. The JGall Tower It is a beautiful Valencian modernist style mansion built at the beginning of the 20th century. and the construction of Cinema Alcazar a little later responds to Levantine rationalism.

Finally, the royal mill It is an imposing 18th century construction with a set of buttresses and semicircular arches City park. It was dedicated to the manufacture of flour and today houses the Fine Arts Association of Elche.

Museums, an added value to what to see in Elche

The Palmeraie Museum

Palm grove museum

The Levantine city has a number of museums, each more interesting. We have already told you about Archeology and History, which houses important pieces found in the La Alcudia website, where the Lady of Elche was also found. However, you also have a little exposure on the site itself.

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Likewise, we told you about the Palmeral Museum. But, in addition, we advise you to visit contemporary art the paleontological the one dedicated to Virgin of the Assumption patron saint of the city, and the party one dedicated to the Mystery of Elche, which we will tell you about next.

The mystery of Elche

Festival Museum

Interior of the Festa Museum dedicated to the Mystery, one of the traditions to see in Elche

It is the representation of a sacred-lyrical drama whose origins date back to the Middle Ages (it has been staged since the 15th century). To see it, you will have to visit the town on August 14 and 15, since it is represented in two days. But we cannot tell you what to see in Elche and not mention this tradition, since it has been declared Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

It is staged in Basilica of Santa Maria and it is the inhabitants of the city who represent the play. Apart from a few small fragments in Latin, its text is in old Valencian. Likewise, it is accompanied by music that combines different styles, from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and the Baroque. The work, consisting of barely two hundred and seventy lines, recreates passages from the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Its first part is Vespra (August 14), while the second is the festival (fifteenth day).

Likewise, the celebration is accompanied by other traditional events. At the beginning of August the calls take place voice test where the children who will sing in the play are chosen, and of the angel, which is used to perform the final checks. For its part, August 13 is the feast of the Nit de l’Alba, the inhabitants of Elche launching fireworks from the roofs of their houses. And the night of the 14th to the 15th takes place the roada procession with thousands of people carrying lighted candles.

The Mystery of Elche is one of the great events of the Spanish summer. We therefore advise you, if you can, to visit the Levantine city on these dates. Although, if you can’t, any time is good to travel to this beautiful city.

In conclusion, we have shown you the main what to see in Elche. But we also want to tell you briefly about the surrounding towns. very close, completely Saline Natural Park is the beautiful coastal city of Santa Pola, with its imposing fortress castle and its Roman villa of Palmeral. Likewise, half an hour away by car, you have the history Orihuela land of the great poet Miguel Hernandez, whose house-museum you can visit. But, in addition, the city of Orihuela is full of monuments. To name but a few, we will cite its castle and its ramparts, its Gothic cathedral, its convent of Santo Domingo, its baroque palaces and its impressive modernist complex. Don’t you think these are enough reasons to travel to Elche?

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