Elche, in the summer, is heat... heat... heat, and palm trees. In winter it is far and... what?
I've been there in summer, and, with the kids dreaming with the beach, we only had time to a trip in Rio Safari.
A common zoo, with the originality of being visited by boat. Safe, calm, and... different.
With an extension of more than 13,000 square metres of tropical and Mediterranean plants, this exotic garden was declared National Artistic Garden in 1943. It also exhibits the only example of a date palm with seven children, known as the Imperial Palm tree.
Prices between 3 and 5 euros
(includes audio guide in English).
Open all year long:
Winter --> from 10.00 h to 17.00 h
Summer --> from 9.00 h to 20.30 h
The exact place where the Basílica de Santa María is located was formerly occupied by the main mosque of Elche. After the conquest of Jaume I in 1265, the muslim temple remained untouched until 1334. It was then when the mosque was demolished to build up what would become the main catholic construction in town. It would last up to 1492.
The first reconstruction consisted on a bigger building and was completed in 1556, although it had to be rebuilt in 1672 and in 1758. Francesc Verde, Pere Quintana and Ferrán Fouquet were the last architects in charge of reconstruction and finally in 1784 the current building was fullfilled.
The Basílica de Santa María reflects different architectural styles alltogether (maily unornamented, neoclassical and Italian barroque style) as the façade and the front door of San Agatángelo (work of the sculptor from Strasburg Nicholas de Bussi) show.
La Alcudia is 10 km from the city of Elche. As the city has been occupied by Iberians, Carthaginians and Romans, remains from all those periods can be seen.
A guided visit is recommended. In the museum there are some samples of pottery and the evolution along time is perceptible. Other objects of domestic use show the influences of different cultures along time.
In the following you will find information about visits, groups, opening hours, etc.
The stone bust of the Dama de Elche is the most important of the archeological remains found in La Alcudia. It is thought that it dates back to the Iberian period (4th century BC). It was found by a farmer in 1897, taken to France and exhibited in Le Louvre. Since 1941 it is in the National Archaeological Museum of Spain. It has been exhibited twice in Elche: in 1965 and 2006. The copy in the museum was made with a modern technology and is the most accurate. There is another copy in the place where it was found (see the picture).
The military fortress of the Palacio de Altamira formed part of the ancient wall and is an excellent fortification that also was accommodation for kings and noblemen. Nowadays, it is home to the MAHE, Archaeological Museum of the History of Elx, which was officially opened on the18th of May 2006 and currently houses la Dama de Elche, a bust statue considered a major work of Iberian art, from the 18th of May until the 1st of November of 2006, in its Torre del Homenaje.
The Museum is divided into two sections: The Archaeology Section where the importance of land divisions and the different ages that preceded Elche as a city are analyzed and The History Section where the numerous settlements following the foundation of Illici (old Elche) are studied.
Open everyday from 12.00 h to 21.00 h
Groups from 10.00 h to 12.00 h
The Arab Baths in Elche were created in the XII century. Although they are the only public baths that remain preserved, at the time they were built there were a big quantity of them. By then, a high quantity of public baths was considered a sign of social and economic prosperity. The original aim of the Arab Baths was to purify the body of the religious before the prayer (as the Koran obliges). According to Prophet Mohammed, “Cleanliness is an act of faith”.
After year 1270, the city of Elche suffered severe changes due to the rule of the King of Castilla. Infante Don Manuel told the monks of the Orden de la Merced to build a convent over the ruins of the baths and until few years ago, that was the function of this building.
The visit to the Baths is short but nice. It's over ten minutes long and a voice and a simple set of colour lights explain how they used to work and what was their functions. The show is usually in spanish, although there is the possibility to chose among catalan, french and english.
From Tuesday to Saturday: 10.00 to 13.00 h and 16.30 to 20.00 h. TICKETS for 1€, (individual) 0,5€ (groups). Sunday and non labour days: 10.30 to 13.30 h. FREE ENTRANCE.
Closed on Mondays.
The Elche Mystery Play is a religious lyrical performance dating from the Middle Ages. It has been always performed by amateur actors and actresses and tells about the Dormition, Burial and Assumption of Virgin Mary. When theatrical performances in churches were banned as a result of the Council of Trent, the Elche Mystery Play became the last vestige of such performances, thanks to Pope Urban VIII.
The objective of the Museu Municipal de la Festa (Municipal Museum of the Mystery Play) is to introduce part of the Mystery Play for the visitors coming to the city at any time of the year. The Museum is divided into two rooms: a space where some scale models, genuine objects and replicas are preserved and a room where a documentary shown every 60 minutes (dubbed Spanish) and full of nice effects tells about the Mystery Play itself. Worth to visit, specially on Sundays : P
From July to Sept, Tue to Sat: 10.00 to 13.00 and 17.00 to 21.00 h
Sunday and Bank Holidays: 10:00 to 13:00. Closed Mondays
From Oct to June: Tue to Sat: 10.00 to 13.00 and 16.30 to 20.30 h
Sunday and Bank Holidays: 10:00 to 13:00. Closed Mondays
Prices: € 3, Students and Senior: € 1, FREE ENTRANCE on Sundays
The Basilica de Santa María is the main church of Elche. It is the venue of the Mistery Play of Elche.
From the bell tower there are fantastic views of Elche and its Palm Grove.
After visiting the museum, in the archeological site you will see two Roman houses and thermae, a Byzantine basilica, an Iberian temple and the place where La Dama de Elche was found in 1897.