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Elche, in the Costa Blanca region of Spain
The city of over 300,000 palm trees!
About a 23km drive inland from Alicante is Elche, the third largest city in the region and one of the most visited. Founded by the Moors (who moved the town from its original position at L'Alcudia) here you will find the largest plantation of palms in Europe - an excellent example of the agricultural practices brought here during the Arab occupation of Spain in the 10th century.
Palms, dotted all around the city, give the place an exotic feel and still produce income from their dates. The plantation itself, containing over 300,000 protected palms nurtured by the original Arabic irrigation system of dykes and channels, is unique and has been listed as a World Heritage site by Unesco. A stroll through these thousands of Palms is a breathtaking experience and should not be missed!
Mystery of Elche - 13th - 15th August
An interesting two-part theatre production of a mystery play is held on the 14th and 15th August (public dress rehearsal on the 13th).
The story is centred on the death of the virgin and her assumption to heaven and it has been performed since the 15th century in the picturesque Basilica of Saint Mary of Elche. Over 300 singers perform to almost the entire town, with a final procession through the streets bringing the occasion to an end. If you wanted to take part in an enchanting and traditional occasion, it doesn't get much better than this.
Elche Tourist Office: Tel. (+34) 965 452 747.
- Consellería de Valencia
The photos on this page were taken from the Valencian Ministry of Culture website, which has further information and photos about the Palmeral of Elche
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