With more than 230,000 inhabitants, Elche is the second most important city of the province of Alicante and the third of the Valencian Community. This fact has been decisive in the development of the city in all aspects, especially at the industrial level, highlighting the footwear industry and its components, metallurgical, chemical and construction; As well as agriculture and nurseries. This factor, together with its proximity to the city of Alicante, has led Elche to be a city of importance at the provincial, autonomous and national level; Being this the municipality where the International Airport of Alicante-Elche and the Institución Ferial Alicantina (IFA) are located. Among the latest municipal actions, which continue to make Elche a city in continuous growth and development, are Elche Business Park and the Congress Center City of Elche.
If for something Elche is known, it is for its historical palm grove, being the northernmost in the world and the longest in Europe. The Palmeral of Elche, with more than 200,000 copies, occupies a large part of the urban area, a fact that has conditioned the city in its urban growth. For more than 2,000 years the city has been growing conserving the palm grove and its irrigation system, growing palm trees continuously, producing dates, using them as ornamental plants in gardens and elaborating the famous Palma Blanca for Holy Week, sufficient reasons for UNESCO to Declared Patrimony of the Humanity in the year 2000.
The origin of this sacred lyric work is between legend and reality. On the one hand it is associated to the conquest of the city by the troops of Jaume I of Aragon in 1265, returning the town to the Christian civilization. Also its origin is linked to the discovery of a wooden ark in 1370, floating in the sea, which concealed an image of the Virgin of the Assumption and possibly the manuscripts of this work. However, recent studies date to the Misteri d'Elx in the middle of the fifteenth century, when there was a rise in the thematic theater of Assumption. But leaving a hypothesis about its origin apart, the Misteri d'Elx is a jewel of incalculable historical and cultural value recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in the year 2001. This work is represented, from the Middle Ages to this day, every 14 and 15 August in the Basilica of Santa Maria.
This educational project was born in 1969 with the purpose of integrating the learning of the trades, traditions and customs of the Campo de Elche in the formal educational curriculum. This was intended to save a culture that was rapidly disappearing due to technological advances. The schoolchildren have been educated with a program that values the importance of our culture and traditions, making them aware of an era they have not lived. UNESCO certified this great project and in 2009 included it in the Register of Good Practices to Safeguard Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Resumir brevemente la historia de una ciudad que ha estado habitada desde la Era del Neolítico, hace más de 7.000 años, es imposible, por lo que destacaremos lo más relevante de esta ciudad que fue habitada por fenicios, íberos, romanos, griegos, cartagineses, musulmanes, cristianos… Todo empezó el 4 de agosto de 1897, fecha en que fue hallado el busto símbolo del arte Ibérico: la Dama de Elche, icono mundial de un arte, cultura y civilización, de la cual sigue siendo un misterio su origen y su lenguaje aún no ha sido traducido. A raíz de este importante hallazgo, se sucedieron las excavaciones y encontraron toda una ciudad, el origen de lo que hoy es Elche. Ya por aquel entonces era una importante ciudad Íbera hasta que fue tomada por los Romanos, llegando a ser la capital de la región de Contestania y nombrada Colonia Iulia Ilici Augusta, teniendo la ciudad el privilegio de acuñar su propia moneda. Posteriormente Elche pasa a una dominación visigoda, llegando a tener su propio obispado y una basílica de gran relevancia. Es en el siglo IX cuando desde Egipto llegan los musulmanes y se establecen a 2 kilómetros al norte de Ilici, fundando la ciudad de Ils y amurallándola para protegerla. Cuatro siglos después, Jaume I devuelve la ciudad a la civilización Cristiana y la ciudad empieza a desarrollarse fuera de los muros, creciendo continuamente hasta hoy.
Tras varios siglos y milenios de historia, varios son los vestigios culturales, artísticos e históricos que han perdurado en nuestra ciudad.
Place in which they have been found rest that go from the Neolithic until the Visigothic era, being its years of maximum splendor those between the centuries V a.C. And II AD, when it was under Iberian and Roman rule. It was here where the famous bust of the Lady of Elche was found.
It is one of the most characteristic and important monuments of the city. In its first phase was built in the eleventh century in Muslim times and its second phase in Christian times between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It was mainly the residence of the lords of Elche from the XV to the XIX century, but it was also a textile factory and even a prison. It is one of the best preserved fortresses in the province of Alicante and is currently part of the MAHE (Archaeological and History Museum of Elche), where an exact replica of the Lady of Elche is found.
It is located where previously there was a mosque of Muslim time until the XIV century, on which rose a temple of Gothic style that was maintained until Century XV. The second temple, still larger, was standing until 1672 which was sunk by a storm of heavy rains that struck the city. It was then that the present temple was erected in which three styles stand out: desornamentado, neoclásico and baroque. His Holiness Urban Pope VIII granted the exceptional permission to this basilica so that in its interior the Misteri d'Elx was represented every year.
Tower that rose in the thirteenth century and formed part of the wall that surrounded the city. It was the main entrance to the Villa and was 25 meters high, but an earthquake partially destroyed it in 1829 and is now 15 meters tall. In the 15th century, it was built and converted into a manor house.
The Tower of the Consell is the oldest municipal construction of the Valencian Community, dating from the middle of the XV century. It was part of the wall. Attached to the west wing was the Medieval Market and, with the construction of the Levante wing, the tower was at the central point of the whole building, under which opens a large gothic arch of three vaults.
In the Plaça de Baix, next to the City of Elche, stands a peculiar 16th century tower built into the walls of the Villa. It was then known as the Vetla Tower. In the eighteenth century two dolls were placed: Calendura, who beat the main bell to mark the hours and Calendureta, who beat the smaller bell to mark the rooms. It was then that it became an emblem of the city and to this day both automatons continue to operate, announcing the hours to all the passersby of the square.
It was built in the XIII century, being then the Convent of the Merced. Its walls have a long history.