Elche


Elche

Spanish city
image_skyline_caption = Altamira Castle in Elche.
official_name=Elche
native_name = Elx
native_language=Valencian
spanish_name = Elche
nickname =
city_motto =
city_motto_means =



image_flag_size = 150px
image_coat_of_arms = Escudo de Elche.pngimage_coat_of_arms_size = 70px
image_city_

image_city_map_size = 200px
lat_long = coord|38|16|N|0|41|W|region:ES_type:city
time_zone = CET (GMT +1)
time_zone_summer = CEST (GMT +2)


image_skyline_size = 250px
founded =
community = Valencian Community
community_link = Valencia (autonomous community)
province = Alicante
province_link = Alicante province
comarca = Baix Vinalopó
comarca_link = Baix Vinalopó
divisions =
neighborhoods =
mayor = Alejandro Soler Mur
political_party = PSOE
political_party_link = PSOE
area = 326,07
altitude = 86
population = 219,032
date-population = 20-10-2006
population-ranking = 22
density = 671,73
date-density = 20-10-2006
website = http://www.elx.es
postal_code = [03201 - 03206]
area_code =

Elche (in Spanish) or Elx (in Valencian) [Both names are official.] is a city located in the comarca of Baix Vinalopó, in the Alicante province which, in turn, is a part of the Valencian Community, Spain.

Part of the municipality is coastal but the main city is some 15 km (9.5 miles) from the Mediterranean Sea. According to the 2006 census, Elche has a population of approximately 220,000 inhabitants (called "il·licitans" in Valencian and "ilicitanos" in Spanish), ranking as the third most populated city in the Valencian Community and the second within the Alicante province. A small creek called Vinalopó flows through the city splitting it in two parts.

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 industries in Spain and the rest of Europe. There are other economic activities in Elche: agriculture (dates, olives, cereals and pomegranates), although it has lost importance in the last 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 Cardenal Herrera - CEU") .

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 Iberians and then occupied by Carthaginians and Romans. The latter called the city "Ilici" and granted it the status of colonia; after a brief Byzantine rule, the Goths took over, establishing an episcopal see.

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 archeological remains have been found in Elche, with the stone bust of the "Lady of Elx" ("Dama de Elche/Dama d'Elx") being the most important. This may date from the Iberian period (4th century BC). The original is in the National Archaeological Museum of Madrid.

Main sights

* "Elche Palm Grove" (better known as "Palmeral de Elche" in Spanish, or as "Palmerar d'Elx" in Valencian). It is an orchard of over 200,000 palm trees that was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000.
* "Altamira Palace", also known as "Alcázar de la Señoría", located next to the Municipal Park (which, in turn, is a part of the Elche Palm Grove) It was originally built in Almohad times (12th-13th centuries), and was later renovated with brick exterior in the 15th century. A former fortress, in 1913 it became a fabric plant, it has also been used as the town hall and as a prison during the Spanish Civil War, while today is home to the Archaeological Museum Alejandro Ramos.
* "Baños Arabes" (Arabic Baths), which re-uses old Roman baths.
*Basilica of "Santa Maria"
* "Calahorra" tower, of rectangular plan and Rabic origin, it represent the last relic of the old city walls.
* "Municipio"
* "Convento de la Merced".
* "Huerto del Cura"
* "Museu Paleontològic d'Elx" (Palaeontological Museum)

The Mystery Play of Elx (better known as "Misteri d'Elx", in Valencian) 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 city-wide night-long show of fireworks takes place.

Twin towns

*flagicon|FRA Toulouse, France, since 1981

Notes

See also

*Elche CF Local football team currently playing in the Segunda División.

External links

* [http://www.economiaelche.com/en/ Economical and social information about the city 2007] en icon
* [http://www.elx.es/ Ajuntament d'Elx] , Town Hall of Elche es icon ca icon
* [http://ive.infocentre.gva.es/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/IVE_PEGV/CONTENTS/mun/fichas/cas/Fichas/03065.pdf Instituto Valenciano de Estadística] City official statistics.
* [http://www.turismedelx.com/en/ Turisme d'Elx] , City council official Tourist guide en icon es icon ca icon
* [http://www.alicante-spain.com/elche.html Elche] , City overview from a local citizen en icon
* [http://www.culturadelx.com/web/ Cultura d'Elx] , City council Cultural events website es icon ca icon
* [http://www.futurelx.com/ FuturElx] , City council strategical development guidelines es icon
* [http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/esanchez/elche.htm The first ever Elche Home Page] en icon
* [http://www.umh.es Miguel Hernandez University of Elche] ca icon es icon
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/earlymusicshow/pip/8dd2j/ BBC Radio 3 programme on Mystery Play - available to listen online 14-21 October 2006] en icon
* [http://www.elxalcarrer.com Festival of street arts Elx al Carrer] es icon


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