Elche

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Elche

Elx
Altamira Castle and panoramic view of Elche
Altamira Castle and panoramic view of Elche
Flag of Elche
Flag
Coat of arms of Elche
Coat of arms
Elche is located in Province of Alicante
Elche
Elche
Location in the Province of Alicante
Elche is located in Valencian Community
Elche
Elche
Location in the Valencian Community
Elche is located in Spain
Elche
Elche
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 38°16′1″N 0°41′54″W / 38.26694°N 0.69833°W / 38.26694; -0.69833
Latitude and Longitude:

38°16′1″N 0°41′54″W / 38.26694°N 0.69833°W / 38.26694; -0.69833
Country  Spain
Autonomous community  Valencian Community
Province Alacant
Comarca Baix Vinalopó
Judicial districtElx
Founded Iberian settlement; 5th century BC
Government
 •  Alcalde (Mayor)Carlos González Serna (2015) ( PSPV-PSOE)
Area
 • Total326.10 km2 (125.91 sq mi)
Elevation
86 m (282 ft)
Population
 (2018) [1]
 • Total230,625
 • Density710/km2 (1,800/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Ilicitano, ilicitana
Time zone UTC+1 ( CET)
 • Summer ( DST) UTC+2 ( CEST)
Postal code
03200-03299
Dialing code966 - 965
Official language(s) Spanish and Valencian
Website Official Website
Official tourism Website

Elche ( /ˈɛl/, [2] Spanish:  [ˈeltʃe]) or Elx ( UK: /ɛl/, [3] US: /lʃ/, [4] Valencian:  [ˈɛʎtʃ]) [a] is a town and municipality of Spain, belonging to the province of Alicante, in the Valencian Community. According to 2014 data, Elche has a population of 228,647 inhabitants, [5] making it the third most populated municipality in the region (after Valencia and Alicante) and the 20th largest Spanish municipality. It is part of the comarca of Baix Vinalopó.

Part of the municipality is coastal yet the city proper is roughly 11 km (6.8 mi) away from the Mediterranean Sea. A small creek called Vinalopó flows through the city.

Elche is so close to the city of Alicante that both cities form a de facto conurbation of some 800,000 inhabitants.

The city is noted by its urban Palm Grove, designated as World Heritage Site.

History

La Alcudia is 10 km from the current city's location and the immediate predecessor of current day Elche. This original location was settled by the Greeks and then occupied by Carthaginians and Romans. Greek Ionian colonists from the Achaean city Helike established their new colony, naming it Helíkē ( Greek: Ἑλίκη) around 600 BC. It was a point of resistance against Carthaginian advance in Spain between the First and Second Punic Wars. [6] The Romans called the city Ilici or Illice and granted it the status of colonia; after a brief Byzantine rule, the Goths took over, establishing an episcopal see.

19th century photograph of Elche by Jean Laurent.

Elche lost importance during the period of Moorish occupation, when it was moved slightly north to its present location. James II of Aragon took the city from the Moors in the 13th century, during the Reconquista. The city grew throughout the 18th century and became more important during the 19th century with the arrival of the railway and a booming industrial development of what used to be the traditional footwear industry.

Many archaeological remains have been found in Elche, with the stone bust of the Lady of Elche (Dama de Elche/Dama d'Elx in Spanish and Valencian (or Catalan), respectively) being the most important. This may date from the Iberian period (4th century BC). The original is in the National Archaeological Museum of Spain.

Economy

The economy of Elche is based, in large part, on the footwear industry, with over 1,000 shoe factories, being one of the most important footwear centres in Spain and the rest of Europe with brands like Pura Lopez or Panama Jack. There are other economic activities in Elche: agriculture ( dates, olives, cereals and pomegranates), although it has lost importance in recent years; rubber industry; trade, which employs 20% of the workforce; and tourism.

Elche has a conference centre (called Ciutat d'Elx), an international airport ( Aeropuerto de Alicante) a public University, Universidad Miguel Hernández, and a private University, Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera.

Climate

Elche has a semi-arid climate ( Köppen climate classification BSh).

Climate data for Elche
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 15.6
(60.1)
16.9
(62.4)
19.3
(66.7)
21.3
(70.3)
24.5
(76.1)
28.7
(83.7)
31.6
(88.9)
31.9
(89.4)
29.2
(84.6)
24.4
(75.9)
20.2
(68.4)
16.8
(62.2)
23.4
(74.1)
Average low °C (°F) 5.4
(41.7)
6.1
(43.0)
8.0
(46.4)
10.4
(50.7)
13.3
(55.9)
17.1
(62.8)
19.6
(67.3)
20.1
(68.2)
17.7
(63.9)
13.7
(56.7)
9.8
(49.6)
7.0
(44.6)
12.4
(54.2)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 20
(0.8)
22
(0.9)
22
(0.9)
33
(1.3)
28
(1.1)
17
(0.7)
4
(0.2)
9
(0.4)
35
(1.4)
60
(2.4)
38
(1.5)
30
(1.2)
318
(12.8)
Source: climatedata.org [7]

Main sights

Basilica of Santa María de Elche.
Palmeral of Elche (The Palm Grove of Elche)
Old part of the city, Barrio del Raval.

The Mystery Play of Elx (better known as Misteri d'Elx, in Valencian (or Catalan)) is a sacral-lyrical medieval drama, dated from the 15th century, which was declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2002. It is played every year in mid August, in the context of the local holidays dedicated to the Assumption of Virgin Mary. Also as a part of this celebration, on the 13th of August is the date of a celebration in Elche called Nit de l'Albà (Night of the Dawn) in which a citywide night-long show of fireworks takes place.

Transport

The Alicante–Elche Airport, the fifth-busiest in Spain is located in the municipality of Elche, around 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) east from the city centre. The Autopista AP-7 serves the outskirts of the city, and the railway linking Alicante and Murcia del Carmen runs through a tunnel underneath the city, with two underground stations; Elche-Parque ( Valencian: Elx-Parc) and Elche-Carrús ( Valencian: Elx-Carrús). [8] These are served by line C–1 of the Cercanías Murcia/Alicante commuter rail service, along with Media Distancia trains between Valencia Nord station and Murcia.

The Madrid–Levante high-speed rail network is being extended to reach a new station named Elche-Matola, branching off from the line to Alicante near Monforte del Cid. The new AVE station will contain parking space for 500 cars and 50 motorcycles. [9]

Notable people

Twin towns

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Both names are official as Elx/Elche.

References

  1. ^ Municipal Register of Spain 2018. National Statistics Institute.
  2. ^ "Elche" (US) and "Elche". Oxford Dictionaries UK Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Elx". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Elche". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  5. ^ Elche supera ya los 228.300 habitantes, INFORMACION.es, December 31, 2008, Editorial Prensa Ibérica
  6. ^ "Roman Policy in Spain", Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, p.  209.
  7. ^ "Climate Elche".
  8. ^ "El túnel que cambió Elche". Diario Información (in Spanish). 14 October 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  9. ^ "Dos horas y media de Elche a Madrid, en AVE". Diario Información (in Spanish). 4 February 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  10. ^ "Jumelages". Mairie de Toulouse.
  11. ^ "La tristeza de una fuente seca". Canarias7. 8 May 2017.
  12. ^ "Jaca y Elche consolidan su compromiso de colaboración" (PDF). El Pirineo Aragonés (6472): 1. 11 September 2009.

External links

Panoramic view of Elche from the Basílica de Santa María: the Altamira Castle is to the left, next to the Municipal Park.