Culture & Fiestas
The Southern Costa Blanca has lots to offer those interested in culture.
The premier attraction in 2006 is the Dama de Elche. This remarkable piece of sculpture which is normally only on show in Madrid, is on loan to its’ home town of Elche until November of this year. The bust dates from a pre-phonecian civilisation which flourished in the area over 3000 years ago. It was discovered at the site of the Roman settlement of Colonia Illice from which the city of Elch takes its’ name.
The Dama de Elche is part of an exhibition showing all the stages in the developement of the city. The exhibition can be found at the Altamira opposite the Basilica in the centre of the city. Both the Altamira and the Basilica are worth a visit in their own right.
The basilica is the home of the Misteri de Elx; a religious festical dating back to the middle ages. Thge Misteri is said to be the most ancient festival of its’ kind still performed in Europe. It takes place on the 14th and 15th of August. The festival opens with a massive firework display timed to conclude at midnight on the 13th August.
Elche is a cultivated city with an active arts and performance programme. Information on arts and cultural events can be found at the Casa de Cultura.
As in many other places in Spain the towns of Alicante, Gaurdamar del Segura and Santa Pola all celebrate the reconquest of Spain by the christians with their own Moors and Christians festivals. These vary in date from place to place and year to year, but usually take place in July and August.
In addition to these festivals, Alicante also celebrates the summer solstice with the Noche de Hogueras. This is the local version of the Fallas celebrated in Valencia earlier in the year. Giant sculptures are prepared by the special associations in the city and are burnt at midnight to celbrate the solstice. This conincides with parties and bonfires on all the beaches from Alicante to Torrevieja.