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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
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
CountryFlag of Spain.svg  Spain
Autonomous community Bandera de la Comunidad Valenciana (2x3).svg  Valencian Community
Province Alicante
Comarca Bajo Vinalopó
Judicial district Elche
Founded Iberos; 5th century BC
   Alcalde Carlos Gonzalez (2015) (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 located in the comarca of Baix Vinalopó, Spain. According to the 2014 census, Elche has a population of 228,647 inhabitants [5] (called il·licitans in Valencian and ilicitanos in Spanish), ranking as the third most populated city in the Valencian Community (after Valencia and Alicante) and the 20th largest Spanish city.

British English is the standard dialect of English language as spoken and written in the United Kingdom. Variations exist in formal, written English in the United Kingdom. For example, the adjective wee is almost exclusively used in parts of Scotland and Ireland, and occasionally Yorkshire, whereas little is predominant elsewhere. Nevertheless, there is a meaningful degree of uniformity in written English within the United Kingdom, and this could be described by the term British English. The forms of spoken English, however, vary considerably more than in most other areas of the world where English is spoken, so a uniform concept of British English is more difficult to apply to the spoken language. According to Tom McArthur in the Oxford Guide to World English, British English shares "all the ambiguities and tensions in the word 'British' and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity".

American English Set of dialects of the English language spoken in the United States

American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. American English is considered one of the most influential dialects of English globally, including on other varieties of English.

A comarca is a traditional region or local administrative division found in Portugal, Spain and some of their former colonies: Panama, Nicaragua, and Brazil. The term is derived from the term marca, meaning a "march, mark", plus the prefix co-, meaning "together, jointly".


Part of the municipality is coastal but the main city is some 11 km (6.8 mi) from the Mediterranean Sea. A small creek called Vinalopó flows through the city splitting it in two parts.

Mediterranean Sea Sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean between Europe, Africa and Asia

The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa and on the east by the Levant. Although the sea is sometimes considered a part of the Atlantic Ocean, it is usually identified as a separate body of water. Geological evidence indicates that around 5.9 million years ago, the Mediterranean was cut off from the Atlantic and was partly or completely desiccated over a period of some 600,000 years, the Messinian salinity crisis, before being refilled by the Zanclean flood about 5.3 million years ago.

Vinalopó river in Spain

The Vinalopó is a small river flowing through the Alacant province, of Spain. It flows from north to south and, with a length of 81 km., it is the longest of the rivers which flows for its entire length within the limits of this province. It discharges into the Mediterranean at Salinas de Santa Pola.

Elche is so close to the city of Alicante, that both cities form a de facto conurbation of some 800,000 inhabitants that can very well double during the summer peak-season.

Alicante City in Spain

Alicante is a city and port in Spain on the Costa Blanca, the capital of the province of Alicante and of the comarca of Alacantí, in the south of the Valencian Community. It is also a historic Mediterranean port. The population of the city of Alicante proper was 330,525, estimated as of 2016, ranking as the second-largest Valencian city. Including nearby municipalities, the Alicante conurbation had 452,462 residents. The population of the metropolitan area was 757,085 as of 2014 estimates, ranking as the eighth-largest metropolitan area of Spain.

Conurbation group of towns linked by continuous urban area (for single town center use Q159313)

A conurbation is a region comprising a number of cities, large towns, and other urban areas that, through population growth and physical expansion, have merged to form one continuous urban or industrially developed area. In most cases, a conurbation is a polycentric urbanised area, in which transportation has developed to link areas to create a single urban labour market or travel to work area.


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.

The Greeks or Hellenes are an ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus, southern Albania, Italy, Turkey, Egypt and, to a lesser extent, other countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world.

Ancient Rome History of Rome from the 8th-century BC to the 5th-century

In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed. The Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants ) and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117.

Helike Human settlement

Helike was an ancient Greek polis (city-state) that was submerged by a tsunami in the winter of 373 BC. It was located in the regional unit of Achaea, northern Peloponnesos, two kilometres from the Corinthian Gulf and near the city of Boura, which, like Helike, was a member of the Achaean League. Modern research attributes the catastrophe to an earthquake and accompanying tsunami which destroyed and submerged the city. In an effort to protect the site from destruction, the World Monuments Fund included Helike in its 2004 and 2006 List of 100 Most Endangered Sites.

Frontal view of the Lady of Elche. Dama de Elche 1.jpg
Frontal view of the Lady of Elche .

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.

Moors medieval Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta

The term "Moors" refers primarily to the Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta during the Middle Ages. The Moors initially were the indigenous Maghrebine Berbers. The name was later also applied to Arabs.

James II of Aragon King of Aragon

James II, called the Just, was the King of Aragon and Valencia and Count of Barcelona from 1291 to 1327. He was also the King of Sicily from 1285 to 1295 and the King of Majorca from 1291 to 1298. From 1297 he was nominally the King of Sardinia and Corsica, but he only acquired the island of Sardinia by conquest in 1324. His full title for the last three decades of his reign was "James, by the grace of God, king of Aragon, Valencia, Sardinia and Corsica, and count of Barcelona".

<i>Reconquista</i> Medieval Christian extended conquest of Muslim areas in the Iberian Peninsula

The Reconquista was the period in the history of the Iberian Peninsula of about 780 years between the Umayyad conquest of Hispania in 711 and the fall of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada to the expanding Christian kingdoms in 1492. The completed conquest of Granada was the context of the Spanish voyages of discovery and conquest, and the Americas—the "New World"—ushered in the era of the Spanish and Portuguese colonial empires.

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)7
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.

Notable people

Twin towns

See also


  1. Both names are official as Elx/Elche.

Related Research Articles

Province of Alicante Province of Spain

Alicante is a province of eastern Spain, in the southern part of the Valencian Community. The second and third biggest cities in the Valencian Community are located in this province.

<i>Lady of Elche</i> Iberian sculpture

The Lady of Elche or Lady of Elx is a limestone bust that was discovered in 1897, at La Alcudia, an archaeological site on a private estate two kilometers south of Elche, Spain. It is currently exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum of Spain in Madrid.

Elda Place in Valencian Community, Spain

Elda, is a city located in the province of Alicante, Spain. As of 2009, it has a total population of 55,618 inhabitants, ranking as the 7th most populous city in the province. Elda joins together with the town of Petrer to form a conurbation with over 85,000 inhabitants. The river Vinalopó flows through the urban area of Elda.

Novelda City and Municipality in Valencian Community, Spain

Novelda is a town located in the province of Alicante, Spain. As of 2009, it has a total population of 27,135 inhabitants.

Villena City in Valencian Community, Spain

Villena is a city in Spain, in the Valencian Community. It is located at the northwest part of Alicante, and borders to the west with Castilla-La Mancha and Murcia, to the north with the province of Valencia and to the east and south with the province of Alicante. It is the capital of the comarca of the Alto Vinalopó. The municipality has an area of 345.6 km² and a population of 34,928 inhabitants as of INE 2008.

Baix Vinalopó Comarca in Valencian Community, Spain

The Baix Vinalopó is a comarca in the province of Alicante. It is bordered by the comarques of Vinalopó Mitjà and Alacantí on the north and Vega Baja del Segura on the south. Its capital is the city of Elx/Elche, with a population of some 230,000 people live. The other major towns in the comarca are Crevillent and Santa Pola.

Santa Pola Place in Valencian Community, Spain

Santa Pola is a coastal town located in the comarca of Baix Vinalopó in the Valencian Community, Spain, by the Mediterranean Sea. It has an area of 58.6 km2 (23 sq mi) and has a population of 30,000 inhabitants of whom 10,000 are residents of the nearby town of Gran Alacant.

Petrer Place in Valencian Community, Spain

Petrer is a town located in the comarca of Vinalopó Mitjà, in the province of Alicante of the autonomous community of Valencia, Spain.

Aspe Town in Valencian community, Spain

Aspe is a town and municipality located in the comarca of Vinalopó Mitjà, in the province of Alicante, Spain.

Costa Blanca coastal area in Alicante, Spain

The Costa Blanca is over 200 kilometres (120 mi) of Mediterranean coastline in the Alicante province, on the southeastern coast of Spain. It extends from the town of Dénia in the north, beyond which lies the Costa del Azahar, to Pilar de la Horadada in the south, beyond which lies the Costa Cálida. Costa Blanca has a well-developed tourism industry and is a popular destination for British and German tourists.

<i>Mystery Play of Elche</i> cultural property in Elche, Spain

The Misterio de Elche, in English the Mystery Play of Elche or Elche Mystery Play and in Catalan Misteri d'Elx, is a liturgical drama from the Middle Ages that reenacts the Dormition and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Palmeral of Elche cultural property in Elche, Spain

The Palmeral or Palm Grove of Elche is the generic name used to designate a system of date palm orchards in the city of Elche (Spain).

Sax, Alicante Municipality in Valencian Community, Spain

Sax is a municipality in the comarca of Alt Vinalopó, province of Alicante, Valencian Community.

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

The Valencian Community is an autonomous community of Spain. It is the fourth most populous autonomous community after Andalusia, Catalonia and Madrid with more than 4.9 million inhabitants. Its homonymous capital Valencia is the third largest city and metropolitan area in Spain. It is located along the Mediterranean coast on the east side of the Iberian peninsula. It borders with Catalonia to the north, Aragon and Castilla–La Mancha to the west, and Murcia to the south. The Valencian Community consists of three provinces which are Castellón, Valencia and Alicante.

Valencians are an indigenous Romance ethnic group whose homeland is the Valencian Country, which is recognised as an historical nation in eastern Spain. The official languages of Valencia are Valencian and Spanish.

Route of the Castles of Vinalopó

The Route of the castles of Vinalopó is a historic and cultural route in Spain, connecting some of the castles of the province of Alicante, Valencian Community, most of them based in the Valley of Vinalopó.

Joan Ramón García Castejón, Elche,, known as Joan Castejón is a Spanish draftsman, painter and sculptor, considered one of the leading representatives of social realism in the Spanish postwar plastic renewal. Member of the Grup d'Elx.

Elche Club de Fútbol, S.A.D., is a Spanish football team based in Elche, Province of Alicante, in the Valencian Community.During the 2016-17 campaign they will be competing in the following competitions: Segunda League, Copa del Rey.


  1. "Municipal Register of Spain 2018". National Statistics Institute . Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  2. "Elche" (US) and "Elche". Oxford Dictionaries . 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".
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.