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Elche / Elx
Panoramica Elche.JPG
Altamira Castle and panoramic view of Elche
Flag of Elx.svg
Escut d'Elx.svg
Coat of arms
Red pog.svg
Location in the Province of Alicante
Spain Valencian Community location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location in the Valencian Community
Spain location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 38°16′1″N0°41′54″W / 38.26694°N 0.69833°W / 38.26694; -0.69833 Coordinates: 38°16′1″N0°41′54″W / 38.26694°N 0.69833°W / 38.26694; -0.69833
Country Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
Autonomous community Bandera de la Comunidad Valenciana (2x3).svg  Valencian Community
Province Alacant
Comarca Baix Vinalopó
Judicial district Elx
Founded Iberian settlement; 5th century BC
   Alcalde (Mayor)Carlos González Serna (2015) (PSPV-PSOE)
  Total326.10 km2 (125.91 sq mi)
86 m (282 ft)
 (2018) [1]
  Density710/km2 (1,800/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Ilicitano, ilicitana
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code 966 - 965
Official language(s) Spanish and Valencian
Website Official Website
Official tourism Website

Elche ( /ˈɛl/ , [2] Spanish:  [ˈeltʃe] ) or Elx ( UK: /ɛl/ , [3] US: /lʃ/ , [4] Valencian:  [ˈɛʎtʃ] ) [lower-alpha 1] is a town and municipality of Spain, belonging to the province of Alicante, in the Valencian Community. According to 2014 data, Elche has a population of 228,647 inhabitants, [5] making it the third most populated municipality in the region (after Valencia and Alicante) and the 20th largest Spanish municipality. It is part of the comarca of Baix Vinalopó.


Part of the municipality is coastal yet the city proper is roughly 11 km (6.8 mi) away from the Mediterranean Sea. A small creek called Vinalopó flows through the city.

Elche is so close to the city of Alicante that both cities form a de facto conurbation of some 800,000 inhabitants.

The city is noted by its urban Palm Grove, designated as World Heritage Site.


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 Greeks and then occupied by Carthaginians and Romans. Greeks Ionian colonists from the Achaean city Helike established their new colony, naming it Helíkē (Greek : Ἑλίκη) around 600 BC. It was a point of resistance against Carthaginian advance in Spain between the First and Second Punic Wars. [6] The Romans called the city Ilici or Illice and granted it the status of colonia; after a brief Byzantine rule, the Goths took over, establishing an episcopal see.

19th century photograph of Elche by Jean Laurent. Elx, Pais Valencia (s.XIX) Jean Laurent.jpg
19th century photograph of Elche by Jean Laurent.

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 archaeological remains have been found in Elche, with the stone bust of the Lady of Elche (Dama de Elche/Dama d'Elx in Spanish and Valencian (or Catalan), respectively) being the most important. This may date from the Iberian period (4th century BC). The original is in the National Archaeological Museum of Spain.


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 centres in Spain and the rest of Europe with brands like Pura Lopez or Panama Jack. There are other economic activities in Elche: agriculture (dates, olives, cereals and pomegranates), although it has lost importance in recent 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 CEU Cardenal Herrera.


Elche has a hot subtropical semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh ).

Climate data for Elche
Average high °C (°F)17
Average low °C (°F)5
Average rainfall mm (inches)20
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)43443101234332
Source: Meteoblue [7]

Main sights

Basilica of Santa Maria de Elche. Elche Basilica.jpg
Basilica of Santa María de Elche.
Palmeral of Elche (The Palm Grove of Elche) Elche el palmeral.JPG
Palmeral of Elche (The Palm Grove of Elche)
Old part of the city, Barrio del Raval. Joves i grans al Raval d'Elx.jpg
Old part of the city, Barrio del Raval.

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


The Alicante–Elche Airport, the fifth-busiest in Spain is located in the municipality of Elche, around 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) east from the city centre. The Autopista AP-7 serves the outskirts of the city, and the railway linking Alicante and Murcia del Carmen runs through a tunnel underneath the city, with two underground stations; Elche-Parque (Valencian : Elx-Parc) and Elche-Carrús (Valencian : Elx-Carrús). [8] These are served by line C–1 of the Cercanías Murcia/Alicante commuter rail service, along with Media Distancia trains between Valencia Nord station and Murcia.

The Madrid–Levante high-speed rail network is being extended to reach a new station named Elche-Matola, branching off from the line to Alicante near Monforte del Cid. The new AVE station will contain parking space for 500 cars and 50 motorcycles. [9]

Notable people

Twin towns

See also


  1. Both names are official as Elx/Elche.

Related Research Articles

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Province of Alicante Province of Spain

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Baix Vinalopó Comarca in Valencian Community, Spain

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Santa Pola Place in Spain

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Alicante–Elche Airport international airport in Alicante, Spain

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Palmeral of Elche cultural property in Elche, Spain

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Vinalopó river in Spain

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The Natural Park of El Fondo is located within the municipal boundaries of Elx/Elche and Crevillent both of which are within the comarca (district) of Baix Vinalopó in the south of the Valencian Community in the east of Spain. Both the rivers Vinalopó and Segura discharge into the lagoons that form this park.

Valencian Community Autonomous community of Spain

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Cercanías Murcia/Alicante

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Jonathan Ñíguez Esclápez, commonly known as Jony, is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for CD Alcoyano on loan from Elche CF.

Route of the Castles of Vinalopó

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  1. Municipal Register of Spain 2018. National Statistics Institute.
  2. "Elche" (US) and "Elche". Oxford Dictionaries UK Dictionary. Oxford University Press . Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  3. "Elx". Collins English Dictionary . HarperCollins . Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  4. "Elche". Merriam-Webster Dictionary . Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  5. Elche supera ya los 228.300 habitantes, INFORMACION.es, December 31, 2008, Editorial Prensa Ibérica
  6. "Roman Policy in Spain", Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, p.  209.
  7. "Climate Elche".
  8. "El túnel que cambió Elche". Diario Información (in Spanish). 14 October 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  9. "Dos horas y media de Elche a Madrid, en AVE". Diario Información (in Spanish). 4 February 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  10. "Jumelages". Mairie de Toulouse.
  11. "La tristeza de una fuente seca". Canarias7. 8 May 2017.
  12. "Jaca y Elche consolidan su compromiso de colaboración" (PDF). El Pirineo Aragonés (6472): 1. 11 September 2009.
Panoramic view of Elche from the Basilica de Santa Maria: the Altamira Castle is to the left, next to the Municipal Park. Panoramica Elche.JPG
Panoramic view of Elche from the Basílica de Santa María: the Altamira Castle is to the left, next to the Municipal Park.