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Day Out Elche City
Elche is also known as the City of Palms as it is located within the largest Palm forest in Europe. This city has two international UNESCO awards; one for its palm groves and the other for its religious play, the Misteri d’Elx which the people of the city have performed annually in August since Medieval times. The week’s play is rounded off with one of Spain’s loudest firework displays know as the Nit d’Alba.
Once you have visited the Tourist Office, just above the car park, you can explore Elche by following our Elche city walking route. Why not climb the narrow steps up to the roof of the Basilica, from where you get a wonderful view over Elche and its palms. You can visit the various museums including the award winning Archaeological and History Museum or get to know more about the palms at the Huerto del Cura. Stroll through the Municipal Park and go into the Visitors Centre for an audio visual introduction to the city or take the small Tourist Train.
Elche has some great shopping. The Salvador Artesano shoe factory outlet is the largest of all the Salvador Artesano shops and is a must for all shoe lovers as it is about the size of a football pitch! Nearby is the El Corte Ingles department store. It sells everything that you would expect, is open during siesta and has free parking! The L’Aljub is a large indoor mall with Eroski, Bershka, C&A, Zara, H&M, Primark and many more shops, plus a Comic Park to keep the Children entertained and free parking!
The Tourist Office for information about the museums and other places of interest:
- Archaeological Museum MAHE: located in the Palacio de Altamir it has permanent displays of Iberian and Roman pieces.
- Huerto del Cura Museum: is an artistic garden, covering 13,000m2 with displays of Mediterranean and tropical plants including the famous Imperial Palm.
- Fiesta Misteri d’Elx Museum: a two roomed museum all about the Mystery Play.
- Arab Bath Museum: displays the remains of an Arabic bathing house.
- Casa de Belen Nativity Museum
- Museum of Contemporary Art: has a large collection of vanguard art, especially by Spanish artists.
- Pucol Agricultural Museum: an insight into rural life including agricultural artifacts, rural housing, clothing, hunting, education, commerce and industry.
- La Alcudia Museum: archaeological site where the bust of the ‘Dama de Elche’ was discovered.
- Palaeontological Museum: displays in chronological order the history of the earth including fossils and archaeological finds.
- Palm Grove Museum: reveals the origins, history, development and culture of the Elx Palm Groves.
- Visitors Centre: houses a detailed audiovisual presentation on the city: its history, traditions, culture, fiestas and economy.
- Basilica de Santa Maria: the cathedral of the city, you can walk up the stairs to the bell tower for great views over the city.
- Municipal Park: covering an area of approximately 20,000m2 these plantations were bequeathed to the city in 1661, a beautiful green space for all to enjoy.
- Palm Grove: declared a World Heritage Site in 2000 by UNESCO it is the largest in Europe, boasting more than 200,000 palm trees, best explored via the walking route.
- Espai d’Art a’Elche: a permanent open air sculpture exhibition next to the municipal park.
- Torre de la Calahorra Building: The square Moorish Tower from the late 12th century defended the city’s most important gate to the road to Alicante.
- Palacio de Altamira Building: the residence of the lords of the city between the 15th and 19th centuries, now contains the Archaeological Museum.
- Town Hall Building: The Torre del Consell tower is the oldest municipal building in the southern part of the Comunidad Valenciana region
- Torre de Calendura Building: It houses a fascinating clock with two figures. Since 1759 the figure that tells the hours has been known as Miquel Calendura while the smaller figure that tells the quarter hours has been known as Vicentet Calendureta.
- Gran Teatro Building: the elegant theatre constructed in Italian style in the 1920s.
- Walking Routes: There are two self guided walks; the Historic Palm Grove Route and the Monumental Route (leaflets in various languages from Tourist Office). Both routes are great introductions to this wonderful city.
Remember that most museums are closed on a Monday and for siesta which is generally 14.00-16.00 in the winter and 14.00-17.00 in the summer.
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