Life in Spain Friday, October 26, 2012

Famous for its palm trees and shoes, Elche in the Valencian community has much more to recommend it. In fact, so much so that it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. One of the reasons for this award is the Misteri d’Elx or the religious plays that are performed during August.

The plays are a sacred musical drama about the death, the passage into heaven and the crowning of the Virgin Mary. It has been performed in the Basilica of Santa Maria and on the streets of Elche since the mid-fifteenth century. It is pure religious theatre with its routes in the middle ages and the story is told through song.   

Other noteworthy sites include:

  • The Basilica –worth a visit for its view of Elche and the palm trees
  • The Archaeological and History Museum – an award winning interactive museum
  • The Huerto del Cura – a botanical garden where you can find out more about Elche’s palm trees
  • The Municipal Palm Park or La Glorieta Plaza for a stroll
  • The Salvador Artesano shoe factor outlet – approximately the size of a football pitch!
  • The Fiesta Museum – which contains information about Elche’s Mystery plays

If you’re more of a sporty than a cultural person then Elche’s football team might be of interest to you. Elche’s Martínez Valero Stadium was built for the 1982 world cup. The team were in the first division for 19 years and although they are now in the second, they regularly come close to the top. There’s a lot of intense rivalry between Elche CF and Alicante’s Hércules CF. and local derbies attract a lot of interest.

There’s something for everyone in Elche.

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