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    The town of Palm Groves - Elx

    Elche, Elx - city of palm trees

    Palms in ElcheElche (Elx) - the city of palm trees. Elx is now one of the few cities in the world with two cultural treasures included in the UNESCO World Heritage list, the Palmerar (Elx Palm Groves) and the Misteri d'Elx play. Both are closely related to the city's historical past and identity, and it is impossible to understand Elx

    Just 15km inland and a few km from Alicante Airport is the historic town of Elche (Elx in Spanish). Nowadays Elche is a busy industrial town renowned for manufacturing footwear. Other local produce includes rubber, olives, olive oil, dates and citrus fruit.

    From the Municipal Park it is possible to walk to the less managed areas of the plantation, which have not changed much over the last two thousand years. The plantations date back to Roman times, and possibly even prior to this, as the area was developed as early as the 5th century BC by Carthaginians. Some of the individual palm trees are up to 300 years old. Most of the palms are date palms (Phoenix dactylifera), which were harvested for the fruit (the date), which was a staple part of the Roman diet. The date fruit was also used to make wine.

    Park ElxThe Palmerar d'Elx

    The palmerar of Elx is made up ofcollection of date palms with an orthogonal structure. The presence of palms in the decoration of Iberian vases, from the 2nd century BC indicates that they were used in rituals. Nevertheless although there might have been palm trees in more ancient periods, the present day palm grove farming and irrigation systems are due to the Muslim oasis culture.

    The other great asset of Elche is the palm forest covering over 430 hectares, with more than 200,000 palm trees. No other place in Europe has such a huge area under palm cultivation. The river Vinalopo has helped the growth of vegetation and the palm forest. Tourists always make it a point to visit the Priest's garden, called Huerto del Cura in the Spanish language. The tourist will see some of the rarest species of palms in this garden.

    Park of Elche

    The palm tree in town

    The palm tree has lived therefore with the civilisations that have settled in this corner of the Mediterranean and the unique structure of the Arabic grove has reached the present day. Some monumental constructions such as the mediaeval defensive system were built amongst the groves. This union with the city has been kept throughout the urban expansion of the first third of the 20th century.

     



    Elx ParkThe palm groves of the city of Elx

    The Palm Groves are the city's main natural heritage. They are protected by a law that is an incentive to its maintenance. The palm tree apart from the landscape gives dates and white palms, the main element for Palm Sunday and the Misteri d'Elx in which an angel descends a white palm from heaven and hands it over to Our Lady the Virgin Mary. The most visited groves are the Huerto del Cura, the parc Municipal, the Parc Jaume I. the Parc del Filet de Fora and the Hort de Sand Placid, where the palm Groves museum is situated.

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